NEW YORK (SEPTEMBER 8, 2021) — As children transition back to school after a challenging last school year, Understood launches year two of Take N.O.T.E.: an initiative developed in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help families and teachers identify the signs of learning and thinking differences in children and use that understanding to take the necessary next steps to better support them. The web-based guide includes new interactive elements and learning modules intended to drive engagement and inspire action.
For many parents, the pandemic learning environment of last year brought to light the learning challenges and developmental needs of their children. Recent research from Understood and UnidosUS’ Back to School Study found that 65% of parents observed learning challenges with their child over the last year, and 44% of parents don’t know how to start the conversations about the learning challenges they’ve noticed. The study also indicated that 84% of parents with children who have learning and thinking differences, such as dyslexia and ADHD, wish that they’d had a tool or resource to help them track changes in their child’s behavior before their diagnosis.
“As students adjust to this school year, parents and teachers alike are concerned about the lasting impact of the pandemic on children, including the learning challenges that they are observing,” said Fred Poses, CEO and co-founder of Understood. “It’s important that parents and caregivers have expert-backed resources to help ensure that every child receives the support that they need to succeed. Take N.O.T.E. is designed to do that.”
Learning and thinking differences are variations in how the brain processes information and can affect reading, writing, math, focus, and following directions. Signs of learning and thinking differences are often overlooked or misinterpreted by families. Misinformation, stigma, lack of awareness, and other barriers such as cost can stand in the way of children getting the support they need.
“Pediatricians are here to help,” said AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP. “A simple tool like Take N.O.T.E. that helps families spot signs and look for patterns can be invaluable in helping lead constructive conversations with trusted professionals, such as teachers and the child’s pediatrician, to determine what to do next.”
Take N.O.T.E. is based on a four-step process that parents and children can follow together to understand if the child has a learning and thinking difference. Designed as a mnemonic device, Take N.O.T.E. asks users to:
- Notice if there’s something going on with their child that’s out of the ordinary
- Observe and keep track of patterns
- Talk with other people who can offer insight and support, like pediatricians, teachers, and other caregivers
- Engage their child to get information and explore options for what to do next
Each step in Take N.O.T.E. includes simple, free, and accessible practice activities and multimedia features to help families understand the signs of learning and thinking differences — and then use that knowledge. Available in English and Spanish, features include:
- Multiple entry points for parents and children to use the tool based on their particular stage of the journey with learning challenges
- Participatory checklists, printables, emoji check-ins, and activities to begin the process of observing and practicing taking N.O.T.E.
- Opportunities to involve their child in the process with prompts for open and honest conversations
- Written, audio, and video tips to bring the process to life and give parents engagement options, as well as written articles that dive deeper into observations and other subjects
- Audio clips featuring others going through the journey
In addition to Take N.O.T.E., to help parents start the conversations around potential learning and thinking differences, Understood, with AAP, UnidosUS, and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), is offering a free, virtual Town Hall forum on Thursday, September 9, at 10 a.m. ET. The event, available in both English and Spanish, will feature discussions with parents, pediatricians, teachers, and experts about how to address academic and emotional challenges that may arise this school year, and ways to make it a positive experience for all. Interested families can RSVP to attend here.
1 in 5 Americans have learning and thinking differences, such as ADHD and dyslexia. They are often misunderstood, undiagnosed, and dismissed, and these differences are viewed as a weakness. This leaves many on a journey that is stacked against them and costs society more than $500 billion. Understood is the only lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently. Today, we help more than 20 million people each year discover their potential, how to take control, find community, and stay on a positive path along each stage of life’s journey. When others join this journey, and people are broadly embraced, everyone thrives. Understood is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation based in New York. For more information, or to become a partner, visit u.org/media and follow us on Twitter @UnderstoodOrg.
About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.
Kendall Brodie, Understood
Thomas C. McPheron, AAP