Shaping the world for difference.™
1 in 5 Americans struggle with learning and thinking differences, such as ADHD and dyslexia. They are misunderstood, undiagnosed, and dismissed, and their difference is viewed as a weakness. A lack of awareness, stigma, and a culture of status quo leave them on a journey that is stacked against them, preventing many from reaching their potential, and costing society more than $500 billion a year.
Understood is the only lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently. Today, we help more than 24 million people each year discover their potential and learn how to take control, find community, and stay on a positive path along each stage of life’s journey.
Once learning and thinking differences are embraced, then confidence is built. Community is created, and jobs become careers. Life is more fulfilling.
When others support this journey, and people are broadly embraced, everyone thrives. By shaping our world for difference, our economy, our culture, our communities, and all of our lives are strengthened and everyone can — and will — be Understood.
What are learning and thinking differences?
Learning and thinking differences are variations in how the brain processes information and can affect reading, writing, math, focus, and following directions. We define these differences, like dyslexia and ADHD, as lifelong; unrelated to intelligence; causing delays in developing communication or learning skills; and diagnosable or identifiable by a professional.
The word accessibility has long been a part of daily life. But efforts to create equal access have mostly focused on the needs of people with physical disabilities, like visual or motor challenges. Only recently has there been some movement to serve the 1 in 5 who learn and think differently. But there is still so much more work to do.
It’s not enough to simply comply with today’s accessibility standards. The goal shouldn’t just be equal access. It should be making products accessible to all and making them easy to understand and use.
That’s why we’re building new standards that combine accessibility and usability. We believe:
Everyone has the right to equal access to information. They also have the right to understand and use that information. Digital experiences should be engaging and easy to use for everyone.
The 1 in 5 who learn and think differently have specific needs. But many organizations do little to address them. These needs should be top of mind.
Accessibility and usability are too often seen as separate. They may even seem to be at odds with each other. But bringing them together will benefit everyone — especially the 1 in 5.
Compliance with accessibility standards is just the starting point. Every organization should strive to be more inclusive. It should be part of their core values. We all need to keep improving.
Learn more about Understood’s commitment to accessibility and usability.