If more of us actually knew the signs of learning and attention disorders, I do not think that so many children would go undiagnosed every single year. It is so sad that we as a community are so uneducated about what those signs are. One in five children struggles with issues related to reading, math, writing, focus, organization and behavioral issues, yet many children with learning and attention issues do not have a diagnosis.
Raising a child with learning and attention issues is a journey. And it’s one that’s full of ups and downs, successes and challenges, questions and decisions. It can be very hard on parents and equally as hard on children – especially because they are the ones who are struggling to be understood.
The #BeUnderstood campaign was created support of Learning Disabilities (LD) Awareness Month in October, and to raise awareness about kids with learning and attention issues. These issues are a lot more common than most people think, and while learning and attention issues may not be as visible as other health issues, they’re just as real.
The goal of #BeUnderstood is to generate awareness about learning and attention issues and encourage people who are seeing or experiencing signs of learning and attention issues to visit Understood.org, learn about these issues, and take that crucial first step in getting their kids the help they need to thrive in school, at home and in life.
I have had lots of personal experience with attention and learning disorders. Both of my kids, my husband and even my niece have had issues with education and behavior due to undiagnosed disorders. My husband suffered from dyslexia as a child and even now as an adult. He is 39 years old, so back when he was in school there really was no help for that. Kids would get left behind, called lazy, and punished for something that just really wasn’t understood.
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. Here are some of the tools that you can utilize to discover what Understood has to offer:
- Interactive Quizzes: to determine what might be happening with your child
- 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.
- 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.
With the right diagnosis, parents and teachers are better able to understand what their children are going through. This leads to a better understanding of the help that they need in order to be successful. When a child is able to fully understand and overcome whatever struggles they are facing, they will finally feel normal.
Maybe you are a parent of a struggling child, or even a friend or family member who is watching the struggle from afar. Understood has resources for everyone to learn how to help these kiddos face these challenges. The You & Your Family section helps families with practical solutions and advice for social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Having the gift of extra time with your child over the holidays means the opportunity to help them overcome whatever struggles they are facing.