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New Understood and UnidosUS Study Confirms Lost School Year With 90% of U.S. Teachers and 61% of Parents Predicting Increased Challenges as Children Head Back to School

Teachers and parents unite to “reimagine the classroom” amid learning challenges 

65% of parents observed learning challenges with their child over the last year yet nearly half of Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino parents say they can’t afford a diagnosis

Understood hosts Town Hall and launches interactive Take N.O.T.E. digital experience to help parents start conversations around potential learning differences 

NEW YORK (AUGUST 24, 2021) — Understood, a social impact, nonprofit organization and the only lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently, today unveiled its 2021 Back to School Study, conducted in partnership with UnidosUS, the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. The study focused on understanding the perspectives, anticipated challenges, and preparedness of teachers, parents, and students as we head back to school. Measuring the attitudes of 495 educators and 1,005 parents of children with and without learning and thinking differences like ADHD and dyslexia, the study found that as a result of the pandemic, more challenges lie ahead. 

Over two-thirds (68%) of teachers and more than 60% of parents prefer and expect their children to return to school in person full-time. Despite feeling ready for a return to the classroom, 90% of educators are concerned about longer-term challenges that all students might face from missing traditional education last year. Top concerns include academic development (73%), anxiety (65%), and social (63%) and emotional (62%) advancement. 

“As we head back to school, teachers and parents alike are concerned about the lasting impact of the pandemic on students including the learning challenges that they are observing,” said Fred Poses, CEO and co-founder of Understood. “Our findings examine how we can reimagine learning across the entire ecosystem.” 

Reimagining the Classroom 

The research found that open communications between teachers and parents will be pivotal in bridging at-home and in-classroom learning as we get ready for the new school year. Over 50% of educators have relied on technology over the past year, and have had to reimagine the classroom through innovation and creativity. 

  • Steps for Improving Classroom Learning: Educators see a need for even more hands-on activities (61%), smaller classrooms (57%), flexible learning environments (55%), and more one-on-one interaction with students (over 50%).

  • What Schools Can Do to Enhance Learning at Home: Schools can support continued learning at home: 69% of respondents say that schools should offer advice to parents on how to support their children; additional learning devices, such as laptops and/or tablets should be supplied to households with more than one school-age child (66%); along with guidance to access social services (54%) and social-emotional learning support (51%). 

  • How Parents Can Improve Learning: The study also highlighted opportunities for parents to play a role in learning this year: 72% of educators suggest that parents have a designated and quiet workspace for their children; parents should partner better with teachers (61%); create a calendar for work and play (60%); spend more time assisting children with assignments (58%); and allow children to learn in nontraditional academic environments (outside classrooms) (51%).

“Encouragingly, more than half of both parents and teachers believe increased interaction between teachers, students, and parents will help improve performance,” added Amanda Morin, Understood’s director of thought leadership and expertise. “Students who learn differently will face more challenges than usual this school year. So providing resources, such as Take N.O.T.E., and opportunities to connect parents and teachers to address these challenges is more important than ever.”

Parents Grapple With How to Get Academic Support for Kids

The majority of parents (60%) are eager to send their children back to in-person learning but are unsure how to address concerns about learning challenges and developmental needs from the last school year and pandemic learning environments. 

  • 50% of all parents are worried about their child facing challenges because of not having the same education last year due to COVID-19.

  • 44% of parents say they don’t know how to start the conversations with educators around learning challenges they’ve noticed.  

  • More than eight out of 10 parents wish they had a tool to track their child’s behavior prior to their diagnosis, including 81% of Black/African American parents, and 83% of Hispanic/Latino parents.

Impact of Back-to-School on Diverse Students and Parents 

More than 70% of Hispanic/Latino parents and 65% of Black/African American parents noticed their children experienced a learning challenge, and similarly to all parents surveyed, approximately a third said their children are continuing to struggle to adapt to COVID-19 rules and regulations in the classroom.

  • Black/African American (46%) and Hispanic/Latino (44%) parents say they can’t afford a diagnosis for learning challenges they’ve observed. 

  • More than half (63%) of Black/African American parents and nearly half of Hispanic/Latino parents (44%) say they cannot find Spanish-language resources; about half say they don’t have the community support (50% of Black/African American and 48% of Hispanic/Latino parents).

  • 39% of Black/African American parents are more likely to hire a learning specialist for their child; 42% plan to request a new evaluation for their child.

  • More than half of Hispanic/Latino parents (54%) have anxiety related to talking about the learning challenges of their children and feel that their communities don’t support them; many (51%) have decided to not pursue noticeable challenges because their teachers don’t believe their children.

“At UnidosUS, we prioritize family engagement because we know education is critical to our community, and we see the barriers to participation in the school system,” said Margaret McLeod, Ed.D., vice president of education, workforce development, and evaluation at UnidosUS. “This research confirms that Latinx families are deeply invested in their children’s education and concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their learning. Students with learning differences and their families need access to timely, culturally, and linguistically appropriate resources to navigate this challenging environment.” 

Conducted in July 2021, Understood and UnidosUS’ 2021 Back to School Study leveraged quantitative data from 495 educators and 1,005 parents of children with and without learning and thinking differences across the United States. Study respondents included educators as well as parents of children ages 5-18, with 30% identifying as Hispanic/Latino, 68% as White/Caucasian, 19% as Black/African American, 3% as Asian, and 2% as Native American. Full study results are available upon request.

Taking Action With Take N.O.T.E. and Discussion Forum 

On September 9, 2021, Understood will host a Town Hall forum designed to bring together parents, teachers, and experts as part of a free, virtual forum to answer questions and discuss the social, emotional, and academic challenges that their children may be facing this school year, and how to respond to them.

During the “Real Talk: Taking N.O.T.E. of Learning Challenges in the New School Year” event, Understood, with the American Academy of Pediatrics, UnidosUS, CCSSO, Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey, and more will also highlight the benefits of Take N.O.T.E., a free, web-based interactive digital tool, developed in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics to help families notice and address learning challenges that they have seen during the pandemic that could be signs of learning and thinking differences.

The event will be livestreamed via Understood’s YouTube channel and syndicated across its Facebook channel (in English and Spanish). Interested attendees can RSVP here.

About Understood

1 in 5 Americans have learning and thinking differences, such as ADHD and dyslexia. They are often misunderstood, undiagnosed, and dismissed, and these differences are viewed as a weakness. This leaves many on a journey that is stacked against them and costs society more than $500 billion. Understood is the only lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently. Today, we help more than 20 million people each year discover their potential, how to take control, find community, and stay on a positive path along each stage of life’s journey. When others join this journey, and people are broadly embraced, everyone thrives. Understood is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation based in New York. For more information, or to become a partner, visit and follow us on Twitter @UnderstoodOrg.

About UnidosUS

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Media Contacts:

Kendall Brodie, Understood


Glo Lindenmuth, The Sway Effect on behalf of Understood


Gabriela Gomez, UnidosUS 



Un nuevo estudio de Understood y UnidosUS confirma la pérdida del año escolar, con el 90% de los maestros de EE. UU. y el 61% de los padres que prevén más desafíos a medida que los niños regresan a la escuela

Los maestros y padres se unen para "reimaginar el aula" en medio de los retos de aprendizaje 

El 65% de los padres observó retos de aprendizaje en sus hijos durante el último año, pero casi la mitad de los padres negros e hispanos/latinos dicen que no pueden costear un diagnóstico

Understood organiza un foro público y lanza la experiencia digital interactiva Take N.O.T.E. para ayudar a los padres a iniciar conversaciones sobre posibles diferencias en la manera de aprender

NUEVA YORK (24 DE AGOSTO DE 2021) - Understood, una organización de impacto social, sin fines de lucro y la única guía de por vida para las personas piensan y aprenden de manera diferente, reveló hoy su “2021 Back to School Study (Estudio sobre el regreso a la escuela en 2021)”, realizado en colaboración con UnidosUS, la organización de defensa y derechos civiles latinos más grande de los Estados Unidos. El estudio se centró en comprender las perspectivas, los desafíos anticipados y la preparación de los maestros, padres y estudiantes mientras nos preparamos para el regreso a clases. Midiendo las actitudes de 495 educadores y 1.005 padres de niños con y sin diferencias en la manera de pensar y aprender como el TDAH y la dislexia, el estudio encontró que como resultado de la pandemia, hay más desafíos por venir.

Más de dos tercios (68%) de los maestros y más del 60% de los padres prefieren y esperan que sus hijos regresen a la escuela en persona a tiempo completo. A pesar de sentirse listos para regresar al aula, el 90% de los educadores están preocupados por los desafíos a largo plazo que todos los estudiantes podrían enfrentar por no recibir educación tradicional el año pasado. Las principales preocupaciones incluyen el desarrollo académico (73%), la ansiedad (65%) y el avance social (63%) y emocional (62%).

“Al regresar a la escuela, tanto los maestros como los padres están preocupados por el impacto duradero de la pandemia en los estudiantes, incluidos los desafíos de aprendizaje que están observando”, dijo Fred Poses, CEO y cofundador de Understood. “Nuestros hallazgos examinan cómo podemos reinventar el aprendizaje en todo el ecosistema”.

Reimaginando el aula

El estudio encontró que las comunicaciones abiertas entre maestros y padres serán fundamentales para integrar el aprendizaje en el hogar y en el aula mientras nos preparamos para el nuevo año escolar. Más del 50% de los educadores han confiado en la tecnología durante el último año y han tenido que reinventar el aula a través de la innovación y la creatividad.

  • Pasos para mejorar el aprendizaje en el aula: los educadores ven la necesidad de más actividades prácticas (61%), aulas más pequeñas (57%), entornos de aprendizaje flexibles (55%) y más interacción individual con los estudiantes (más de 50%).

  • Qué pueden hacer las escuelas para mejorar el aprendizaje en el hogar: las escuelas pueden apoyar el aprendizaje continuo en el hogar: el 69% de los encuestados dice que las escuelas deberían ofrecer consejos a los padres sobre cómo apoyar a sus hijos; los hogares con más de un niño en edad escolar deben recibir dispositivos de aprendizaje adicionales, como computadoras portátiles y/o tabletas (66%); junto con orientación para acceder a servicios sociales (54%) y apoyo al aprendizaje socioemocional (51%).

  • Cómo los padres pueden mejorar el aprendizaje: el estudio también destacó las oportunidades para que los padres desempeñen un papel en el aprendizaje este año: el 72% de los educadores sugieren que los padres tengan un espacio de trabajo reservado y designado para sus hijos; los padres deberían asociarse mejor con los maestros (61%); crear un calendario para trabajar y divertirse (60%); dedicar más tiempo a ayudar a los niños con las tareas (58%); y permitir que los niños aprendan en entornos académicos no tradicionales (fuera de las aulas) (51%).

"Es alentador que más de la mitad de los padres y maestros creen que una mayor interacción entre maestros, estudiantes y padres ayudará a mejorar el desempeño", agregó Amanda Morin, directora de liderazgo de pensamiento y experiencia de Understood. “Los estudiantes que aprenden de manera diferente enfrentarán más desafíos de lo habitual este año escolar. Por lo tanto, brindar recursos, como la herramienta Take N.O.T.E., y oportunidades para conectar a padres y maestros para abordar estos desafíos es más importante que nunca".

Los padres se enfrentan a cómo obtener apoyo académico para sus hijos

La mayoría de los padres (60%) están ansiosos por enviar a sus hijos de regreso a las clases presenciales, pero no están seguros de cómo abordar las preocupaciones sobre los desafíos de aprendizaje y las necesidades de desarrollo del último año escolar y los entornos de aprendizaje en tiempos de pandemia.

  • El 50% de todos los padres están preocupados porque sus hijos enfrentan desafíos por no tener la misma educación el año pasado debido al COVID-19.

  • El 44% de los padres dicen que no saben cómo iniciar las conversaciones con los educadores sobre los desafíos de aprendizaje que han notado.

  • Más de ocho de cada 10 padres desearían tener una herramienta para registrar el comportamiento de sus hijos antes del diagnóstico, incluido el 81% de los padres negros/afroamericanos y el 83% de los padres hispanos/latinos.

El impacto del regreso a clases en estudiantes y padres diversos

Más del 70% de los padres hispanos/latinos y el 65% de los padres negros/afroamericanos notaron que sus hijos experimentaron un desafío de aprendizaje y, de manera similar a todos los padres encuestados, aproximadamente un tercio dijo que sus hijos continúan luchando para adaptarse a las reglas a causa del COVID-19 y a las regulaciones en el aula.

  • Los padres negros afroamericanos (46%) e hispanos/latinos (44%) dicen que no pueden costear un diagnóstico de los desafíos de aprendizaje que han observado.

  • Más de la mitad (63%) de los padres negros/afroamericanos y casi la mitad de los padres hispanos/latinos (44%) dicen que no pueden encontrar recursos en español; aproximadamente la mitad dice que no cuenta con el apoyo de la comunidad (50% de padres negros/afroamericanos y 48% de padres hispanos/latinos).

  • 39% de los padres negros/afroamericanos tienen más probabilidades de contratar a un especialista en aprendizaje para sus hijos; el 42% planea solicitar una nueva evaluación para su hijo.

  • Más de la mitad de los padres hispanos/latinos (54%) tienen ansiedad relacionada con hablar sobre los desafíos de aprendizaje de sus hijos y sienten que sus comunidades no los apoyan; muchos (51%) han decidido no averigüar acerca de los desafíos notables porque sus maestros no les creen a sus hijos.

"En UnidosUS, damos prioridad a la participación de las familias porque sabemos que la educación es fundamental para nuestra comunidad, y vemos las barreras a la participación en el sistema escolar", dijo Margaret McLeod, Ed.D., vicepresidenta de educación, desarrollo de la fuerza de trabajo y evaluación en UnidosUS. "Esta investigación confirma que las familias latinas están profundamente involucradas en la educación de sus hijos y preocupadas por el impacto de la pandemia en su aprendizaje. Los estudiantes con diferencias en la manera de aprender y sus familias necesitan tener acceso a recursos oportunos y cultural y lingüísticamente apropiados para prosperar en este entorno desafiante." 

Realizado en julio de 2021, el “2021 Back to School Study (Estudio sobre el regreso a la escuela en 2021)” de Understood y UnidosUS aprovechó los datos cuantitativos de 495 educadores y 1.005 padres de niños con y sin diferencias en la manera de pensar y aprender en todo Estados Unidos. Los encuestados del estudio incluyeron a educadores así como a padres de niños de 5 a 18 años, con un 30% que se identificó como hispano/latino, un 68% como blanco/caucásico, un 19% como negro/afroamericano, un 3% como asiático y un 2% como nativo americano. Los resultados completos del estudio están disponibles a petición.

Tomando acción con la herramienta Take N.O.T.E. y el foro público

El 9 de septiembre de 2021, Understood organizará un foro público diseñado para reunir a padres, maestros y expertos como parte de un foro virtual gratuito para responder a preguntas y discutir los desafíos sociales, emocionales y académicos que sus hijos pueden estar enfrentando este año escolar, y cómo responder a ellos.

Durante el foro "Conversemos: La herramienta Take N.O.T.E. y los retos del aprendizaje este año escolar", Understood, junto con la Academia Americana de Pediatría, UnidosUS, CCSSO, la Profesora del Año Juliana Urtubey, y otros, también destacarán los beneficios de Take N.O.T.E., una herramienta digital interactiva y gratuita, desarrollada en asociación con la Academia Americana de Pediatría para ayudar a las familias a notar y abordar los desafíos de aprendizaje que han visto durante la pandemia y que podrían ser signos de diferencias en la manera de pensar y aprender.

El evento será transmitido en vivo a través del canal de YouTube de Understood y sindicado a través de su canal de Facebook (en inglés y español). Los asistentes interesados pueden confirmar su asistencia aquí.

Acerca de Understood

1 de cada 5 personas en los Estados Unidos piensa y aprende de manera diferente, como sucede con el TDAH y la dislexia. A ellos a menudo se les malinterpreta, no se les diagnostica y se les descarta, y sus diferencias son percibidas como una debilidad. Esto los lleva por un camino que no los favorece y que le cuesta a la sociedad más de 500.000 millones de dólares. Understood es la única guía de por vida para aquellos que piensan y aprenden de manera diferente. Hoy en día, ayudamos a más de 20 millones de personas cada año a descubrir su potencial, cómo tomar el control, encontrar comunidad y mantenerse en un camino positivo a lo largo de cada etapa de la vida. Cuando los demás se unen a este camino y las personas son acogidas completamente, todos prosperamos. Understood es una fundación operativa privada 501(c)(3) ubicada en Nueva York. Para obtener más información o convertirse en socio, visite y síganos en Twitter @UnderstoodOrg.

Acerca de UnidosUS

UnidosUS, antes conocida como NCLR (Consejo Nacional de la Raza), es la mayor organización de defensa de los derechos civiles de los hispanos del país. A través de su combinación única de investigación experta, defensa, programas y una Red de Afiliados de casi 300 organizaciones comunitarias en todo Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico, UnidosUS desafía simultáneamente las barreras sociales, económicas y políticas que afectan a los latinos a nivel nacional y local. Durante más de 50 años, UnidosUS ha unido a comunidades y grupos diferentes que buscan un terreno común a través de la colaboración, y que comparten el deseo de hacer más fuerte a nuestro país. Para más información sobre UnidosUS, visite o síganos en Facebook, Instagram y Twitter.

Contactos de los medios de comunicación:

Kendall Brodie, Understood


Glo Lindenmuth, The Sway Effect en nombre de Understood


Gabriela Gómez, UnidosUS



Understood Partners with Games for Change in an Effort to Shift Games to Include the Neurodiverse

Relationship will include a focus on building accessibility and usability into games for those who learn and think differently

NEW YORK (July 14, 2021) — Understood, a social impact, non-profit organization and lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently, today announced a new partnership with Games for Change, a non-profit which drives real-world impact through games and immersive media. The collaboration will focus on bringing awareness to the gaming industry about the 1 in 5 people with learning and thinking differences, such as ADHD and dyslexia, and representing their needs within game development. 

“While there is increased awareness of accessibility issues in the gaming industry, efforts have largely focused on physical disabilities such as movement, vision, hearing,” said Jenny Wu, Chief Product Officer at Understood and Advisory Board member of Raising Good Gamers. “We know that games have both positive and negative implications for those with neurodiversities. Through this partnership, we will increase attention within the gaming community around learning and thinking differences in an effort to encourage building more inclusive games which, in the long run benefit everyone.”

To kick off the partnership, Wu will speak at the 2021 Games for Change Festival today about the importance of creating movement in the gaming industry around more accessible and usable games for the 1:5. She has also taken a seat on the Raising Good Gamers advisory board, which is focused on helping to develop and support gaming communities that cultivate empathetic, compassionate, and civically engaged kids. Raising Good Gamers is a partnership between Games for Change and the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine.

“Our mission is to empower game developers and the industry to create games that impact social change,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “Understood brings valuable knowledge about a very large population of gamers that often are underrepresented or unaddressed in development and design of games, so we’re thrilled to be working with them and bring awareness to the needs of those with learning disabilities.”

As part of this partnership, Understood will also participate in the Games for Change Student Challenge this fall. More details around the Student Challenge and Understood’s role will be announced soon. 

About Understood

1 in 5 Americans have learning and thinking differences, such as ADHD and dyslexia. They are often misunderstood, undiagnosed, and dismissed, and these differences are viewed as a weakness. This leaves many on a journey that is stacked against them and costs society more than $500 billion. Understood is a lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently. Today, we help more than 20 million people each year discover their potential, how to take control, find community, and stay on a positive path along each stage of life’s journey. When others join this journey, and people are broadly embraced, everyone thrives. 

Understood is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation based in New York. For more information, or to become a partner, visit and follow us on Twitter  @UnderstoodOrg

About Games for Change

About Games For Change Since 2004, Games For Change (G4C) has been empowering game creators and innovators to drive real-world change, using games and immersive media that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. G4C partners with technology and gaming companies as well as nonprofits, foundations and government agencies, to run world class events, public arcades, design challenges and youth programs. G4C supports a global community of game developers working to use games to tackle realworld challenges, from humanitarian conflicts to climate change and education. 


For more information: 

Gonzalo Monge-Castillo at Understood

Glo Lindenmuth at The Sway Effect on behalf of Understood 

Mabel Chung at Zebra Partners on behalf of Games for Change



Understood study reveals academic, emotional, and financial realities and implications of remote learning

Understood unveiled a "Pandemic Learning Impact Study" on May 17, 2021 with insights on how the shift to remote learning and the pandemic has affected children and families academically, emotionally and financially. The study surveyed 1,500 parents in April 2021 and found that those with children who have learning and thinking differences, like ADHD, or specific learning disabilities like dyslexia, are experiencing considerably more challenges than children without learning and thinking differences.




Understood Launches Take N.O.T.E., A Free Digital Tool That Helps Families Identify Early Signs of Learning Disabilities and ADHD

Developed and launched in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the memory device empowers families to seek support for the 1 in 5 children in the U.S. who learn and think differently 

Understood/YouGov survey finds 69% of parents have become more aware of their child’s challenges during COVID-19

Understood Lanza “Take N.O.T.E.”, Una Herramienta Digital Gratuita Que Ayuda a Las Familias a Identificar Los Principales Signos De Discapacidades De Aprendizaje Y TDAH

Desarrollado y lanzado en colaboración con la Academia Americana de Pediatría, este dispositivo de memoria empodera a las familias para buscar ayuda para los niños que piensan y aprenden de manera diferente (1 de cada 5 niños en los Estados Unidos) La encuesta de Understood/YouGov encuentra que el 69% de los padres se ha vuelto más consciente de las dificultades de sus hijos durante la pandemia del COVID-19



Yvonne Cowser Yancy Joins Understood as Chief Human Resources Officer

Understood, a social impact organization, announced today that Yvonne Cowser Yancy joined as chief human resources officer. In this new role, Yvonne will lead human resources and centralized services, including finance, legal, and administrative functions. She will also co-lead Understood’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, all in support of the organization’s mission to help people with differences and disabilities thrive.



New, Free HR Training Program Closes Disability Inclusion Gap in the Workplace

SHRM Foundation and the Workplace Initiative by Understood announce Employing Abilities @Work, a new, free training program that helps HR professionals and their companies embrace and implement disability inclusion.


Understood Aims to Shape the World for Difference

Understood expands its mission to support individuals throughout their lives and at scale; empowering people to thrive regardless of difference or disability. Refreshed brand, new logo, and enhanced website increase accessibility for all users.



Common Sense Launches Wide Open School to Help Families and Educators With Learning from Home

With schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Understood is working alongside Common Sense Media and other leaders in education, media, and tech, to offer educators and families a free and open collection of quality online learning resources at


ISTE Convenes Sectorwide Response to Support Educators in Responding to COVID-19

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), with Understood as a partner, launches It's a free, online portal with resources, tools, weekly webinars and a national expert help desk to provide real-time support for educators.

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