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Aiming for Access

June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

Parent Power Surges! Understood.org's First Year Successes, Toy Guides for Learning, Attention

December 2, 2015

Something unique happened to inform parents about special needs and what a result: a surge in parent awareness about children and youth with learning and attention problems, says a founding partner in Understood.org.

Understood, a free online resource for parents, takes the lead spot in a list of accomplishments in the "Impact Update for November/ December 2015," a report just published by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), a nonprofit organization that helped to create it with 14 other groups. While the website is billed as an aid for parents and family members, the fact is that teachers, related services professionals, and volunteers who work with children who struggle in school will find the information and features equally valuable. 

Here are highlights quoted from the report: 

  • Understood celebrated one year of serving parents – reaching over 8,000,000 users to date, with over 1,000,000 users in October alone.
  • 24-Hr Access to Experts!We kicked off a month of events for Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Dyslexia Awareness Month with 24 hours of free and unlimited access to advice from Understood’s team of experts. View selected chats from the event.
  • Also in October, we live streamed "ADHD Understood: Science, Skillbuilding and Success"—an event featuring Understood experts and moderated by award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkey. Watch the entire conversation.

Choice & Toy Guides

Check out the website. One of the most popular features is a simulation, "Through Your Child’s Eyes". Parents and others who log on can "experience firsthand how frustrating it is when your hand won’t write what your brain is telling it to. Or how hard it is to complete a simple task when you have trouble focusing." The simulations and videos are attempts to create the world that children live with every day. 

  • Also, on the site, find "Saying Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia," an interview by Lindsay Jones, Esq., director of public policy and advocacy for NCLD with Michael Yudin, an assistant secretary in the federal special education department. She explores recent guidance by the his agency, the U.S. Department of Education, to encourage states and school systems to use specific terms rather than more generic phrasing when supporting students.
  • Don't miss Lexi Walters Wright's 2015 Holiday Toy Guide for Middle-Schoolers With Learning and Attention Issues, and her 2015 guides to holiday toys: for kids in Grades 1–5 or for preschoolers and Kindergarten kids. All children can love these choices!

The site offers a "More to Explore" feature that runs along the bottom of website pages that directs readers to other learning opportunities.

Looking Ahead

The NCLD 2015 report also cites future plans. "We’re eager to launch new content focused on individual strengths of every child with learning and attention issues. Understood, meanwhile, touts a partnership with NCLD to launch "grassroots programs with parent advocates in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina." For more information from the report, check out, "The Impact Update".

Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with our Reading Rockets audience.

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"If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book." —

J.K. Rowling