In the U.S., 1 in 5 children struggle with the challenge of learning and attention issues. This not only affects them in school, but can also lead to frustration and misunderstanding in their personal lives. Therefore, it is important that we all try to understand the perspectives of these children and their respective families. Here is an example of the frustration a child with learning and attention issues may be feeling on a daily basis.
Whether you have a child with a learning and/or an attention disorder, are a teacher, or may know of families struggling with these issues every day, an excellent resource that can act as a primary point for information and community is Understood.org. Developed through the collaboration of 15 non-profit organizations and input from parents, Understood aims to empower parents, whose children ages 3-20 have learning and attention issues, with resources and understanding to best advocate for their children. You don’t have to be alone in meeting these challenges for your children. With greater understanding, we can all make more well-informed choices with sensitivity and appreciation of the child’s strengths.
Through Your Child’s Eyes
Ever wonder what a child with a learning or attention issue experiences? One of the most unique features of the site is a simulation area called “Through Your Child’s Eyes”. In these activities, you can fully customize your experience to a specific child in your life by grade level and specific learning/attention concern. This helps provide a personalized experience to help you get the greatest understanding of the child.
You can choose the grade of your child from preschool to after high school.
Next, select an issue your child is struggling with. This can be academic such as reading or math as well as work habits issues like organization.
I selected Grade 4 and attention issues. After an introductory video, I was given a simulation where I felt like I was in a classroom setting listening to a teacher and fellow classmates. The audio component of the simulation is critical as I got to experience what it was like for a child with a learning/attention issue to be trying to understand a teacher’s instructions while other children were talking in the classroom. As I went through the simulation, I definitely walked through a variety of different emotions.
I started out DETERMINED and trying to focus as hard as I could on what was being told to me.
Then I moved through FRUSTRATED that I couldn’t complete the task, although I knew I was definitely capable, primarily because I couldn’t focus.
Finally, I ended feeling completely HOPELESS. I felt like giving up. It was pointless for me to keep trying when it was impossible for me to decipher anything beyond the noise in the classroom.
This is how a child with an attention issue experiences his/her classroom each day. It is eye-opening to see how such a simple-task could become something completely difficult and impossible.
Understood also has a vast amount of resources covering topics including school rights, advocacy, tips for students to manage their feelings, family strategies for handling challenges, a parent toolkit of additional resources, and community and supportive events. Specific resources that can help families significantly include:
- Tech Finder provides expert-approved apps and games
- Just for You allows you to opt-in and create personalized content recommendations based off of child profiles you create.
- Parenting Coach offers age-specific strategies for daily activities that can be a challenge including homework time and getting ready in the morning.
- Decision Guide points out key questions and considerations parents should take note of concerning milestone topics like evaluations, kindergarten, and high school planning.
Please share this site with family members, other families, teachers, administrators, and neighbors!