Yvonne Cowser Yancy, Chief Human Resources Officer at Understood

By Yvonne Cowser Yancy

In January, we predicted that workplace accommodations would take off in 2021.

We’re about to see how that shakes out.

After more than a year working remotely, employees are starting to look for a different experience than the one they left behind. As expectations have shifted, and previous perks have now become a given, employers may have to shift their perspective. Because we’ve learned that not everyone loved the way work was conducted pre-pandemic. Employers who don’t offer the more flexible, inclusive environment that employees now expect will see an increase in turnover.

Consider remote work…


Kelli Johnson

By Kelli Johnson, MA

As a speech-language pathologist, I work with people who have a variety of communication issues. Some have diagnosed disorders; others don’t. Some have labels for their challenges; others don’t.

What matters most is that they get the right help for their specific difficulties with communication, not what those difficulties are called. But a label can carry a lot of weight for people who are neurodivergent.

I’m thinking now of the label of auditory processing disorder (APD). The term describes a group of difficulties related to speech and sound. People may have trouble locating the source of…


Trynia Kaufman

By Trynia Kaufman

His file told me that he had a language disorder, ADHD, and autism. And while I knew the virtual environment might make communication more challenging, I pride myself on my ability to build rapport with students. But the first day of online tutoring with Carlos* was even harder than I’d expected.

He wasn’t responding to me. At all. I knew that many kids need extra time to process, especially when learning remotely. But what if he didn’t hear me, or didn’t understand? The noises of family life came through in the background of the call. …


For people with learning and thinking differences like dyslexia and ADHD, being understood by others is a journey.

And for women and girls, there are often additional layers that can make the journey more challenging. For example, ADHD tends to present differently across genders, which can lead to missed diagnoses among women and girls. Women with ADHD are one-third less likely to be diagnosed than men.

For this year’s International Women’s Day, we spoke to four women whose work entails supporting people with learning disabilities and ADHD. They’ve all had unique journeys and paths to where they are as leaders…


Kevin Agyakwa

By Kevin Agyakwa, Understood

Learning and thinking differences don’t discriminate. They don’t care how rich or how poor you are. They don’t care about your race or ethnicity.

While they may impact us all the same, how we go about navigating them and their implications looks very different if you’re Black.

I’ve seen it in my own family. It makes the day-to-day tasks of going to work and school more complicated for us because we worry about one of our family members. On top of this family member’s learning and thinking differences, he’s a Black individual in America. …


Understood logo

By Fred Poses, CEO of Understood

My wife Nancy and I are envious of Netflix. It recently hit a milestone of 200 million global subscribers — individuals who continuously and frequently visit Netflix for their entertainment needs.

Netflix saw an opportunity. They took advantage of an emerging distribution network and developed an algorithmic approach to help them perfectly understand their customer preferences and provide them with content in the way that they want to view it.

Co-founder Marc Randolph recently tweeted, “I never imagined this crazy idea would get this far.” When it started in 1997 as a mail order…


How can we help kids “bounce back” after the pandemic? What can we do to make up for losses in learning, socialization, and growth? How might the one in five children in the U.S. who learn and think differently be affected?

We asked four of our Understood experts to weigh in on the topic of resilience in kids. Here, they share their views — and offer some new ways of thinking about these questions.

Ellen Braaten, PhD, director of the Learning & Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital

Resilience is often described as “bouncing back” with energy. In…


A grade-school child joins a virtual lesson with a teacher, pictured on the laptop screen.
A grade-school child joins a virtual lesson with a teacher, pictured on the laptop screen.

As we begin 2021, Understood is predicting changes ahead for people with learning and thinking differences and disabilities. This is part four of a four-part expert series on our 2021 predictions.

The pandemic has exposed a lot of gaps in our education system. It’s creating a crisis for students — academically, and also in terms of mental health.

Teachers have been asking for better mental health support for students for a long time. That includes training for themselves in social and emotional learning (SEL). …


A woman works from home on her laptop while her partner provides childcare in the living room in the background.
A woman works from home on her laptop while her partner provides childcare in the living room in the background.

As we begin 2021, Understood is predicting changes ahead for people with learning and thinking differences and disabilities. This is part three of a four-part expert series on our 2021 predictions.

In 2020, most workplaces became more flexible. They had to. When COVID hit, everyone needed to find new ways to stay safe. Remote work, staggered shifts, flexibility with sick time — pandemic accommodations were suddenly the norm.

Today, more companies understand the value of meeting their employees’ needs. They’ve seen the benefits of accommodations. That’s why we think 2021 will be the year when disability inclusion finally takes hold.


A middle school student in a yellow dress with blue polka-dots uses headphones while working at a laptop.
A middle school student in a yellow dress with blue polka-dots uses headphones while working at a laptop.

As we begin 2021, Understood is predicting changes ahead for people with learning and thinking differences and disabilities. This is part two of a four-part expert series on our 2021 predictions. (Read part one here.)

By Kim Greene

We all knew that distance learning would take a toll on students. Now, it’s becoming painfully clear how far behind some kids have fallen in 2020, especially students of color and those with disabilities.

It’s also clear that some students won’t bounce back right away. That’s why most educators will spend most of 2021 focused on helping students catch up. It’s going…

Understood

Shaping the World for Difference

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store