Ditch the Stigma… Understood?

PALNYC is a big supporter of tools and tech that help parents support their kids social and emotional development, and we’ve being finding a lot of gems lately, like Understood.org.

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Understood.org, is a comprehensive, free nonprofit resource to help parents of children with learning and attention issues. The site assists parents with: Organization, planning & time management issues; Reading issues; Math issues; Writing issues; Attention issues; Hyperactivity/impulsivity issues; Spoken language issues; Listening comprehension issues; Social skills issues; Motor skills issues. Understood’s mission is to help parents understand these issues and support them with strategies that can enable their children to go from simply coping to truly thriving in school and in life.

Starting today, a three-year public-service advertising (PSA) campaign developed in partnership with the Ad Council will begin to raise awareness nationwide about learning and attention issues and connect parents to Understood’s one-stop, easy-to-use online resource and community. In addition to the PSA campaign, Understood is working with leaders in a variety of fields including entertainment, sports, media and politics to help inspire parents on their journey and remind them that they’re not alone. Understood’s Board of Advocates includes Robert De Niro, Grace Hightower De Niro, Harry Belafonte, Ari Emanuel, Brad Falchuk, Whoopi Goldberg, Daymond John, Kenny Johnson, Lisa Ling, Greg Louganis, Howie Mandel, Steve McQueen, Alyssa Milano, Holly Robinson Peete and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

Available in English, Spanish and read-aloud mode, Understood provides parents with clear explanations about learning and attention issues. It also offers practical advice for parents on everything from how to partner with their child’s teachers and help with homework to how to explain their child’s issues to friends and relatives and plan family gatherings that are less stressful and more fun for everyone.

Through personalized content that is tailored according to a child’s grade and issues, Understood is designed to cut through the confusion and give parents a clear path to confidence. Because many children with learning and attention issues do not have— and may never get—a diagnosis, information is presented in plain language as often as possible. Using design that works equally well on a smartphone, tablet or computer, Understood offers customized support to parents who don’t know yet why their child is struggling as well as to parents who have been on this journey for years.

Created by 15 nonprofits, Understood developed many of its key features based on its survey of more than 2,000 parents of children with learning and attention issues. These parents provided important insights about the best ways to meet their needs. Understood offers free daily access to experts through chats and webinars, a safe online community that encourages parents to reach out to and learn from each other, and a suite of specially designed, first-of-their-kind tools including:

  • Through Your Child’s Eyes: A series of interactive simulations and videos that enable parents to experience firsthand how smart people can struggle with a seemingly simple task when they have reading, writing, math, organization or attention issues.
  • Tech Finder: Expert-approved apps and games searchable by a child’s grade and issues.
  • Just For You: An opt-in system that provides additional levels of personalized content recommendations. (Parents don’t need to sign in to start getting customized recommendations on Understood; all they need to do to hit the ground running is check the boxes about their child’s grade and issues.) Parents who choose to complete a secure, confidential profile will receive recommendations for each child in their profile as well as for topics they’ve expressed interest in, such as siblings, travel and communicating with family and friends.
  • Parenting Coach: Practical, age-specific strategies to help with everyday challenges, such as getting ready on time in the mornings and setting the stage for homework success.
  • Decision Guide: Key questions to help parents think through big topics, such as whether it’s time to request a formal evaluation, let a child start dating or decide which path to pursue after high school.

For parents whose children have a diagnosis or want to learn more about specific conditions or special services available in schools, Understood offers in-depth information about Individualized Education Programs, 504 Plans, ADHD, auditory processing disorder, communication disorders, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, executive functioning issues, nonverbal learning disabilities, sensory processing issues and visual processing issues.

The three-year PSA campaign will include television, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs in English and Spanish. The PSAs will be distributed to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide and will run in time and space donated by the media. The campaign was developed in partnership with the Ad Council and created pro bono by Publicis Kaplan Thaler.

Understood’s founding partners are Benetech, CAST, the Child Mind Institute, Common Sense Media, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Eye to Eye, GreatSchools, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, New Profit, the Oak Foundation, Parents Education Network, the Poses Family Foundation, Reading Rockets and the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.

Even if there is no significant deficit, the site has helpful parenting tips (e.g., helping children with organization, time management, and planning). We strongly recommend this wonderful resource and hope that, if they may benefit, you will let other parents know about this life-changing tool.

~ The PALNYC Team

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