News Roundup: 11 Stories to Inspire You in June

Kick off June with some inspiration. The Understood team is always on the lookout for great stories about people who learn and think differently. Here are 11 articles, blog posts, and videos we loved that were posted in May.

1. Explaining ADHD through comics. The BBC profiled Dani Donovan, who started making comics to help her co-workers understand what it feels like to have ADHD. Said the Nebraska artist: “I’d like my graphics to help people to understand their children a bit better too.”

ADHD: ‘The web comics that show what my life is like’ — BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 15, 2019

2. Parent power. PBS News Hour and Education Week teamed up to report on the Arkansas families who changed the way reading is taught in their state. See how they helped pass laws to improve reading instruction, dyslexia screening, and teacher training.

3. A classroom remix of “Old Town Road.” What happens when you tweak a No. 1 song so the lyrics address math anxiety and help boost kids’ confidence before a test? A video of third-graders singing “School is my task/I can do this math” has been viewed more than 4.6 million times on Twitter.

The Best Old Town Road Remix Yet! — Cocoa Butter (@cocoabutterbf) May 2, 2019

4. Music to our ears. Here are some cool facts about Melissa Salguero:

  • She won a Grammy for her work as a music educator in New York City.
  • She started a morning music program that has helped reduce absenteeism at her public school in the Bronx.
  • She struggled with dyslexia as a kid: “I learned then that to succeed is not to reach the goal, but to give the best of oneself.”
  • She’s the only teacher in the U.S. to make the top 10 finalists for this year’s $1 million Global Teacher Award.

5. Third time’s a charm. Michaela LeCompte is a single mom with ADHD. The 29-year-old Native American dropped out of college twice and then enrolled again at Montana State University. “This time I did it different,” she told the Billings Gazette. For one thing, she used the college’s disability services.

This time around she was also inspired by her three kids. “Without my children, I wouldn’t be here,” LeCompte said. “I wouldn’t have the guts to let go of my pride and say, ‘I need help, what can you do to help me?’” She graduated in May with honors.

6. Sesame Street’s new character. Karli is in foster care. Sesame Street also unveiled new resources to help foster families support foster kids and help them feel safe. With Karli, the show is getting even more inclusive. In 2017, it introduced Julia, a character who has autism.

We are excited to announce a new @SesameCommunity initiative to support foster children, foster parents, & providers who serve foster families. With the help of Karli, a Muppet in foster care, these resources aim to reassure children & help them feel safe. — Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) May 20, 2019

7. Did Leonardo da Vinci have ADHD? Two renowned professors think so. In the journal Brain, they point to historical records that describe Leonardo showing many symptoms of ADHD, including trouble finishing projects. They also explain why they think his epic creativity was fueled by ADHD.

“ADHD is not linked to low IQ or lack of creativity but rather the difficulty of capitalizing on natural talents,” said one of the co-authors. “I hope that Leonardo’s legacy can help us to change some of the stigma around ADHD.”

8. What do parents need? A mom blogger chews on this hard-to-answer question. (Her endearingly funny post involves Wookiees and walk-in liquor closets.) Jen Torbeck Merrill is an educator and homeschooler. She’s also the author of If This Is a Gift, Can I Give It Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional.

9. No longer a reluctant reader. What helped a kid with dyslexia learn to love reading in high school? The answer involves a supportive teacher and a Facebook post by Humans of New York that has been liked more than 350,000 times. Scroll through some of the 9,000 comments—they’re pretty inspiring too.

10. Tough problem, simple solution. Having a cell phone nearby is distracting—even if it’s silenced or turned off. This Edutopia video shows that kids do better on math problems when their phones are in a separate room rather than in their pocket or backpack. Yet another way to help kids manage screen time!

Turn off your cell phone while studying. Put it face down. Stash it in a bag and ignore it. New research suggests that’s all futile. — edutopia (@edutopia) May 23, 2019

11. Mom-and-son quiz. The final entry on the May roundup comes from Understood’s YouTube channel. A middle-schooler with ADHD and his mom have a loving relationship, but how well do they really know each other’s likes, dislikes, and learning styles? Watch this quiz to find out.

Ready for more inspiring stories? Explore Understood’s personal stories about kids, adults, and famous people.

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About the author

About the author

Julie Rawe is the special projects editor at Understood.