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Rebuilding with purpose: Understood’s predictions for 2021


If nothing else, this year has confirmed that many of the “old” ways of doing things won’t work moving forward. We’ve witnessed the countless ways people who are considered different, whether because of how they look, learn, or think, are being left behind—and will fall further behind if we don’t make lasting changes now. 

Throughout the pandemic, our focus has never wavered from the 1 in 5 people in the U.S. who learn and think differently. As our country rebuilds, Understood believes that we must reimagine our schools, workplaces, communities, and homes to be more diverse, inclusive, and equitable so that everyone can thrive. 

Understood experts Bob Cunningham, executive director of learning development; Amanda Morin, associate director, thought leadership and expertise; Trynia Kaufman, expert and senior manager, editorial research; and Claire Odom, senior program manager, have four key predictions as to what major changes in 2021 will impact people who learn and think differently.

Below is a glimpse into their predictions for the year ahead. Check out Understood’s Medium page for a more in-depth analysis of each prediction in the near future: 

1. If families don’t start preparing now, some students who learn and think differently may find it hard to reacclimate to post-pandemic life, especially those who struggle with social interactions and transitions. 

2. Schools and learning spaces will be reimagined to be more inclusive and equitable in order to give all students an equal opportunity to bounce back from the effects of 2020.

3. Employees will take the lead in creating the future workplace and push employers to embrace the inclusion of all types of differences, including disabilities.

4. The ‘one size fits all’ model of teaching is dead. To prevent irreversible losses, teachers will need flexibility to prioritize individualized and trauma-informed instruction.

Rebuilding our communities with difference in mind won’t always be easy, but it is the only way we can shape a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

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