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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. …


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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…


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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…


Two men stand in a kitchen, one of whom holds a small child and gesticulates toward a laptop open on the kitchen island.
Two men stand in a kitchen, one of whom holds a small child and gesticulates toward a laptop open on the kitchen island.

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

As we approach the new year, lots of parents are understandably focused on the present. For many, it’s not a good place to be. In addition to the day-to-day stress of balancing school, childcare, and work in a pandemic, they’re watching their children fall farther and farther behind in school.

Research confirms what some families have seen at home: Remote learning has been detrimental for many children. That’s particularly…


The author, Amanda Morin, smiles in her home and wears a t-shirt that reads “I meant to say it… just not out loud.
The author, Amanda Morin, smiles in her home and wears a t-shirt that reads “I meant to say it… just not out loud.

By Amanda Morin

With the coronavirus pandemic, all of us are experiencing loss of some kind. Many people have lost loved ones. Others have lost jobs. Some losses have been larger than others, but the common thread is that we’re all feeling a collective sense of loss and lack of control over our lives.

For me, the biggest loss has been my ability to handle “cognitive load” — to move information around quickly and multitask with precision. My thoughts are still moving quickly, but not very productively.

Usually, my brain works like a satellite overview of a map: I see…


Two young men review a design on a large iMac computer monitor in a bright, sunny room.
Two young men review a design on a large iMac computer monitor in a bright, sunny room.

By Matt Weinberg
Product Designer, Understood

One in five people in the US has a learning and thinking difference, like ADHD or dyslexia. But many designers don’t realize the ways they might be letting this substantial user base fall through the cracks — sometimes to the point where they can’t use a product at all.

Our product team puts the needs of these users front and center in everything we design. For our team, this approach has opened up new ways of thinking about digital accessibility. …


A female product designer reviews code. She is facing two computer monitors and has her back facing the camera.
A female product designer reviews code. She is facing two computer monitors and has her back facing the camera.

By Matt Weinberg
Product Designer, Understood

The product team at Understood is responsible for building digital experiences like websites and mobile apps. But we have an even greater responsibility. It’s our job — our mission — to make our products fully accessible for people with disabilities.

Developers and designers have a shared, global set of accessibility standards. They’re called the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG. These standards act as a toolkit for developers to ensure that users with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive disabilities have equitable access to websites and applications.

At Understood, our product team considers compliance…

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