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  • Bullying is a widespread problem. Many kids bully because they want to feel powerful. So they pick on kids they see as weaker or less likely to defend themselves.Kids who learn and think differently are more likely to be bullied than their peers. One reason is their differences can make them stand out from the crowd. They may have challenges in school, like trouble reading or sitting still. Or they may get special services, like tutoring.Another reason is that struggles in school can affect kids’ confidence and self-esteem. Kids who bully may target kids who seem less likely to speak up for themselves.But not all kids who are bullied are timid. Some may be hyperactive or misbehave (whether they mean to or not). They may get targeted because they are aggressive or easily upset. It’s also common for kids who are bullied to react by bullying others.Read on to learn more about bullying and how to stop it.

  • In It

    Kids who learn and think differently are more likely to be bullied than their peers. What can families do about bullying? Bullying tough topic anyone talk about. kids learn think differently, even tougher. They’re likely bullied peers. it’s common kids bullied react bullying others. families bullying? In episode, hosts Gretchen Vierstra Rachel Bozek get advice Ellen Braaten, child psychologist Understood expert. Listen learn tell difference teasing bullying. Find child bullied. Get Ellen’s tips helping kids talk bullying — stand themselves — even they’d rather stand out.Related resources Bullying learning differences 5 reasons kids ADHD get bullied The difference teasing bullying StopBullying.govPlus, check Wunder connect parents get expert support.Episode transcriptGretchen: Understood Podcast Network, "In It," podcast ins outs…Rachel: …the ups downs.Gretchen: …of supporting kids learn think differently. I'm Gretchen Vierstra, former classroom teacher editor Understood.Rachel: I'm Rachel Bozek, writer editor raising two kids ADHD. Today, we're talking bullying, easy topic.Gretchen: No, isn't. It's quite painful kids people care them.Rachel: Yeah. Gretchen, know, put call various networks looking family, willing share story dealt situation involving bullying. people responded us privately, none wanted speak public way. totally get that.Gretchen: Yeah, totally get that, too. mean, there's lot shame stigma associated bullied, it's hard want share world, right? families kids bullied bully, sometimes feel terrible missed there, known start, didn't. feel really terrible families.Rachel: Fortunately, someone today who's helped lot families navigate tricky terrain.Gretchen: Yup. Ellen Braaten executive director Learning Emotional Assessment Program Mass General Hospital, she's psychology professor Harvard Medical School.Rachel: She's written lots books new one way called "Bright Kids Couldn't Care Less: Rekindle Child's Motivation." She's also Understood expert.Gretchen: We've podcast happy again. Ellen, welcome back "In It."Ellen: I'm happy here.Gretchen: We're happy you. know, today talking bullying. so, start, I'd love could define us bullying makes different from, say, teasing, course, great handled somewhat differently.Ellen: Great question start with. think two things think we're thinking bullying power amount it's something that's one-time thing. It's chronic. So, mean I'm thinking I'm saying power? means there's something within relationship there's either real power, like, example, child might captain basketball team powerful position could, know, something somebody else team, means teammates. say, too, that, know, there's power differential relationship, something that's even perceived. be, "Oh, think kid cool" it's older child even physically bigger child. things perceived another child powerful. also something happens, like said, once. Now, teasing little bit different teasing actually way communicating. sometimes it's bad. Sometimes it's really way us social. It's social exchange. So, example, child might little bit crush schoolmate, somebody might tease them. "Oh, like Brandon?" That's teasing. That's, it's communicating something. might perceived funny person, done way they're trying make social connection. So, teasing bad, bullying pretty much bad.Gretchen: OK, so, becomes little persistent.Ellen: Exactly. Exactly. confusing parents, too, because, know, hear bad incident bus, might think, "Oh, gosh, child bullied," happened once, it's bad incident needs taken care of. bullying much insidious. It's again. So, really, something really wears child's self-esteem they're victim bullying.Rachel: talk us topic may particular concern families kids learn think differently? kids likely bullied engage bullying behavior?Ellen: Yes. So, short answer question is, yes, are. Now, don't ton research this, don't want go know. seem relationship bullying learning thinking differences. One reason might occur lot kids learning thinking differences differences develop social skills. Like, example, you're child processing speed, slower processing speed, you're risk social difficulties, necessarily problems understanding, problems understanding time frame. So, that's one example.Or kids ADHD might impulsive might get trouble might sort target kids. also, you're feeling competent academically, let's say you're second grader you're reading, know, grade level teacher calls read something can't read competently. know, it's sort like mark kids might — especially kids aren't competent — might perceive something could pick child for.Gretchen: Yeah. So, risk asking may seem like obvious question, bullying big deal? long-term consequences?Ellen: Yeah, well, big deal, it's long-term consequences. So, happens we're bullied child starts try figure "Why happening me? " kids don't usually figure out, "Well, child problems own" "Those children acting inappropriately." child typically almost always thinks "There's something wrong me." sorts feelings lead heightened anxiety, leads difficulties concentrating school they're always afraid something happening. long-term consequences, too. anyone who's bullied school chronically bullied still feels move adulthood; really plague someone quite long time don't understand.And part really isn't easy way understand this. one things clearly, know, lots reasons people become bullies. it's never person deserves bullied. that's almost never somebody perceives it, kids especially think "What wrong? There's something wrong feel unprotected." go world feeling like you're good enough unprotected scary thing.Gretchen: Mm hmm.Rachel: So, get kids learning thinking differences may disproportionately targeted things we're talking also things I've seen kids school. talk little bit kids learning differences may also easily drawn engaging bullying behavior, mentioned, tell us little part?Ellen: Yeah, couple reasons that. Sometimes when, know, development social skills terms age-appropriate social skills, tend go everybody else does. want fit desperately. You're situation people bullying join it's hard know difference. Sometimes kids ADHD impulsively join bullying don't ability sort stop think wind something really regret later. moment everybody else it.Another reason like talking before, you're feeling great see someone else who's struggling, give little bit feeling like, "Oh, know, don't feel great myself, feel better person." so, that's another reason they're vulnerable experiencing that. also, there's simple fact experience something, learn it's done, learn it. time, kids, know, find situation they've bully, really knowing got situation. takes figure out, know, solve problem make sure doesn't happen again.Gretchen: Ellen, know kids bullied, might even tell us. cou

  • When kids face bullying, it may seem like they’re the only ones. But it’s a widespread problem. And kids who learn and think differently may be especially at risk. Get essential facts on bullying. Click on the download link above to print this one-page fact sheet.

  • The Opportunity Gap

    Hosts Julian Saavedra and Marissa Wallace respond to three audio stories of bullying, shame, and parenting guilt. child ever called names struggle read? worry child’s learning differences fault? episode features three audio stories Understood family bullying, shame, parenting guilt around learning differences ADHD.Hosts Julian Saavedra Marissa Wallace react story, offer thoughts advice parents caretakers. Listen practical strategies teacher hosts respond. Find “lunch bunch” help kids gain friends confidence, even virtual settings. feel less alone hearing might share common others.Related resourcesVideo: Jade, eighth grader, talks feels reading challengesManju Banerjee stigma impacts Asian American communityVideo: Collin Diedrich imposter syndrome learning differencesEpisode transcriptJulian: Understood Podcast Network, "The Opportunity Gap," podcast families kids color learn think differently. explore issues privilege, race, identity. goal help advocate child. I'm Julian Saavedra.Marissa: I'm Marissa Wallace. Julian worked together years teachers public charter school Philadelphia, saw opportunity gaps firsthand.Julian: we're parents kids color. personal us. Welcome back. you, Marissa?Marissa: I'm place, I'm good. know, it's end school year. know life is.Julian: Today we're talking exciting slash interesting things really important everybody part of, — like always. today it's really somebody that's parent color. you're position you're exploring school options potentially special education services. really tough. know that's really hard position in.Marissa: makes scarier complex, right, hear many different opinions many different scenarios. happened school, happened child. it's really challenging know like direction go in. honest, think there's also like lack conversation around learning thinking differences productive way. always highlighted right way school settings, social media, news, even within communities.Julian: general, conversation sometimes happens behind closed doors text message line pickup, needs happening loud. need elevate that. especially children color learning thinking differences, know, always deal double discrimination.So parents, caregivers, sisters, brothers, teachers, educators, aunties, uncles, whoever — need make sure, need make sure, we're supporting children change stigmas one day time.Marissa: goal today really start breaking stigmas. Break worries concerns listeners have. figured one best ways kind jump stories Understood family. we're going start really special individual named Jade. Jade eighth grader she's sharing story experiences reading challenges.Jade: name Jade. I'm eighth grade. reading huge struggle me. Teacher would ask read front class aloud. I'd open mouth, words would come out. couldn't speak. couldn't read words page. jumping around, backwards, blurry, sideways, D B, W M. kept myself. Like one relate me. problem deal it. find way deal this. Oh gosh. still remember names. Um, idiot, dummy, know, slow, special ed. It's like every day, going takes piece you. you're like, get numb feeling like doesn't bother anymore. That's get really worried. That's get really worried. get numbing feeling someone calls you, you're like, don't care. They're right. That's worst feeling world.Marissa: think story sentiments similar lot students feel. think it's important don't want children feel alone journey. know, don't want feel they're smart they're incapable things. vice principal, ways help building community students learning thinking differences?Julian: That's heavy hear young lady talk she's experienced horrendous name-calling situations class. know, almost imagine kids calling saying she's attempting read, work even get point read loud. That's heavy. That's lot. know kids mean. Adults mean. kids mean sometimes. might know exactly they're doing, doesn't change impact person receiving words.And think Jade think children experienced things similar her, educators adults lives children experienced that, first thing making sure listen. listen empathy. give place share they're feeling emotions without judging.So somebody involved kids every day school, position power I'm able interact kids adults shape experiences kids having, want really make sure we're impressing upon everybody involved: Let's make sure we're listening kids crying help.Because heard Jade said cry help. heard emotion described something really spoke me. work high school. high school students midst trying figure socialize other. large population students learning thinking differences.And cases, interaction kids differences kids might not, it's tenuous. Sometimes there's issues them. sometimes kids don't necessarily understand other. adults? make sure create environment circumstances possible positive interactions happen.For example, number ninth-grade boys we're issues one particular student. autism, part way autism impacts social awareness reading cues little bit difficult him. doesn't pick social cues kids giving him.And couple boys interacting him, situation I'm laughing laughing you. making say things girls thought funny thought, oh, making friends. didn't realize actually making fun him, right?So caught wind this, spoke teacher spoke mom. she's well aware happening. It's first time it's happened life, really desperately wants friends. devised situation said, let's take boys, ones popular, we're going go classroom we're going hang space comfortable space teacher friends he's with. we're going hang something terms. And took couple popular boys made big deal headed over. headed classroom played game Uno. beat pants us, cool experience ninth-grade boys, got go classroom, turf, area, comfort zone, couple said, know, Mr. Saavedra, never got really hang crew. want come back again. lot fun. Mr. Saavedra, made feel little bad saying things him. wish would've known better. And think about, would proactive creating interactive situations like that, could avoided potential harm, like Jade experienced.And think people like positions power create experiences, create environment interaction, important thing think sides. thinking students learning thinking differences, also side equation too, making sure everybody feeling comfortable.Marissa: think goal hear opportunities like that, identify make action plan address end better result. teach eighth grade. like Jade's story like super touching personal teaching middle school, it's already transitional year.There's lot going middle school. eighth grade year important. 'Cause you're getting ready high school, building independence, things happening makes super sad, lot students virtual school I'm at, made choic

  • It’s a sad fact that kids with learning and thinking differences are more likely to be bullied at school than other kids. And bullying can have a serious impact. It can damage everything from kids’ self-confidence to their academics. Fortunately, kids have legal protections that require schools to act when kids are bullied.Here’s a breakdown of how the law protects your child against bullying.State anti-bullying lawsIf your child is being bullied at school, the first line of defense is your state’s anti-bullying law. All 50 states have anti-bullying laws. These laws often have the strongest protections for students. And they can help put an immediate stop to the bullying.A typical state anti-bullying law requires a school to report, document and investigate bullying within a specific number of days. It also requires the school to take action to stop it. Many state laws list consequences for bullies. Some have a process for offering services like counseling to the victim and the bully.Laws can differ a lot from state to state. You can look up your state’s anti-bullying law on the government’s Stop Bullying website or through your state’s department of education.It’s also important to look at your school’s code of conduct and to read your school’s bullying policy. School anti-bullying policies round out the protections offered by state law.As you look at your state law (and school policy), here are important questions to ask:How does the law define bullying?Are there examples of bullying listed in the law?Does the law cover cyberbullying or bullying outside of school hours?How do you report bullying?Does the law require the school to report bullying?Is there a timeline for the school to investigate bullying?Is there a timeline for the school to take action to stop bullying?What penalties does the law have for bullies?What happens under the law if the school can’t or won’t stop the bullying?Does the law require the school to train its staff to stop and prevent bullying?What services are available if your child is bullied?Federal anti-bullying protectionsWhen it comes to bullying, state law typically has stricter timelines and protections than federal law. But federal laws offer specific protections that can benefit kids with learning and thinking differences:The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees kids with IEPs the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). IDEA requires a school to act if bullying interferes with a child’s FAPE.Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 also guarantees kids the right to FAPE. Kids with 504 plans are covered by Section 504. If bullying interferes with FAPE for a child with a 504 plan, the school must act.Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) both prohibit discrimination at school against kids with disabilities, which can include kids with learning and thinking differences. When kids are bullied because they have a disability, the school must act.The differences in how federal laws may protect your child can be confusing. It boils down to two key situations:Bullying that leads to a child being denied FAPE: If a child is bullied for any reason, and the bullying interferes with a child’s FAPE, the school must act. Kids with IEPs and 504 plans are covered.Bullying that’s based on a child’s disability: If the bullying causes a “hostile environment” — meaning the bullying is serious enough to cause the child not to participate in some aspect at school — the school must act. Any child with a disability is covered.Here are some example scenarios.Example of bullying that denies a child’s FAPE: A child with dyslexia has an IEP and receives specialized reading instruction. Other kids start making fun of him because his family is low-income. The bullying makes the child feel ashamed. As a result, he stops coming to school and doesn’t see the reading specialist. The child isn’t being bullied because of his dyslexia. But the bullying is interfering with his FAPE.How the school must respond: Once the school knows that bullying is impacting FAPE, they must take steps to stop the bullying. They must also take steps to prevent the bullying from happening again. The school must call an IEP meeting to talk about how the bullying has impacted his education. The team must discuss whether he needs additional services to remedy the bullying, like counseling. As a parent, you have the right to be at this meeting.The process is similar with a 504 plan. The school must determine how bullying has impacted the child’s education and consider whether more supports are needed.It’s important, however, to not just rely on the school. If you believe bullying is affecting your child’s education, ask for an IEP or 504 plan meeting.Example of bullying based on a child’s disability: A child with dyslexia doesn’t have any IEP or 504 plan. But when she reads aloud in class, she does so slowly and with difficulty. Other kids make fun of her for this and call her names. As a result, she becomes withdrawn and tries to avoid situations where she’s called on to read. This creates a “hostile environment” for the child at school.How the school must respond: Once school staff knows about the bullying, they must stop it and prevent it from happening again.In some cases, bullying based on a disability may also lead to a denial of FAPE. When that happens, the school must not only stop the bullying. It also has to call an IEP or 504 plan meeting to discuss how services have been impacted.(To see more examples and to learn more about federal law, see this PDF of bullying guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.)When bullying laws are trickyOn paper, laws against bullying are clear. In practice, though, they can be tricky.When schools have to investigate bullying is a tricky area. The law says that if the school knows about bullying, it must act. But what if there’s no formal complaint?According to federal and most state laws, if a school even suspects bullying, it must investigate. For instance, if a teacher sees kids making fun of another child because she can’t read, the teacher must report it. The school must look into the situation, even if the child hasn’t said anything.Another tricky area? What officially counts as bullying. Not all conflict is bullying. And there can be a difference between bullying and teasing. So how does a school decide if something is severe enough to count as bullying?In this case, a school should look at the definition and examples of bullying in its state anti-bullying law. In general, state laws have broad definitions that cover many kinds of unwanted, aggressive behavior. So you may disagree with the school about whether something is bullying. If that happens, let the school know in writing why you disagree.Federal law is narrower. There’s no black-and-white rule in federal law to decide whether bullying is serious enough to affect a child’s education.So schools are required to look at several factors, including:A decline in gradesEmotional outburstsBehavioral issuesSkipping services provided in an IEP or a 504 planSchool avoidanceAvoiding extracurricular activities that the child likesHow schools can stop and prevent bullyingWhat exactly is a school supposed to do to prevent or stop bullying? There’s no “one size fits all” or simple solution to stop and prevent bullying. But there are some best practices. These include:Disciplining kids who bully othersCounseling or providing other services for kids who bully othersHaving adult supervision, especially in common areas like hallways, cafeterias, and playgroundsProviding teacher and staff training on what bullying behavior looks like and how to respondProviding formalized and explicit instruction for students on what behaviors are expected at schoolOne approach that’s gaining popularity is called positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS). PBIS uses many of the best practices above. It focuses on explicit teaching of what good behavior is. This not only can reduce bullying, but also school suspensions.Keep in mind that stopping bullying can’t be at the expense of the victim. That means that if changes are made at school, the changes can’t burden the child who’s being bullied. For example, the school can’t move a bullied child into a more restrictive environment to limit contact with the bully.Sometimes bullies have disabilities, too. How does the school deal with this situation?If a child who bullies has a disability, the child may have legal protections against school discipline. This doesn’t excuse the school from stopping the bullying. But these protections are aimed at understanding why the behavior is happening and preventing it in the future.What to do if your child is bulliedIt can be hard to know what action to take if your child is bullied. How can you make sure that the school acts to protect your child?First, it’s crucial to document the bullying. Find out what happened, so you can see what laws might apply. It’s also important to make a complaint to the school in an email or letter. Stating in writing what you believe happened can help you protect your child’s rights.Documenting the impact on your child is also key. For instance, is your child reluctant to go to school because of the bullying? Does your child feel more emotional and less able to pay attention? Help the school understand how the bullying is affecting your child’s education, so it’s compelled to take action.Explore steps to take if you suspect bullying at school. And get tips on how to help kids defend themselves against bullies at school.

  • ADHD Aha!

    People with ADHD are more likely to be bullied than others. Laura and Dr. Andy Kahn discuss why, and they hear a few stories from former guests. Kids adults ADHD likely bullied peers. honor National Bullying Prevention Month October, we’re special episode shed light problem. Psychologist Understood expert Dr. Andy Kahn — ADHD himself — answers Laura’s questions ADHD bullying. behaviors make kids ADHD targets bullying? people ADHD likely bully others? it?You’ll also hear bullying stories number “ADHD Aha!” guests — you’ve heard previous episodes, haven’t.Related resourcesBullying learning differencesThe difference teasing bullyingWhat child bullyGet information transcriptPeach: bullied elementary school. always felt like something different me, felt like always much. like talking wrong time energetic. like lot. Laura: Understood Podcast Network, "ADHD Aha," podcast people share moment finally clicked someone know ADHD. name Laura Key. I'm editorial director Understood. someone who's ADHD "aha" moment, I'll host. Hi everyone. special episode today honor National Bullying Prevention Month, every October. think important topic one doesn't get enough attention comes connection ADHD. wanted dedicate entire episode ADHD bullying. lot guests, like Peach, heard top show, talked bullying podcast. You'll hear clips throughout episode "ADHD Aha!" guests. joining today talk ADHD bullying expert perspective Dr. Andy Kahn. Andy Understood expert learning psychology host Season 1 "Understood Explains" podcast, special education evaluation process. He's licensed psychologist who's practice 20 years. much time, worked school systems evaluations, consultation, supporting families kids learn think differently. Andy also ADHD. Bonus points show. Welcome, Andy. Andy: Thanks much me. Laura: Let's hop right in. Andy, kids ADHD likely bullied? Andy: Yeah. Kids ADHD tend targeted higher number neurotypical kids. certainly there's lot reasons could be. Kids ADHD commonly difficulty understanding interacting socially appropriate way. might always understand social rules enter social situation abruptly. things sort get people's attention way maybe isn't terribly positive social world. certain situations, pushed around, called names awfully easy kids looking sort grab power put somebody else down. always sort joke lots kids ADHD, including child, there's button middle chest. It's imaginary button, people get know us know push button sort wind us get us going. Whether it's talking something we're hyperfocused it's something know makes us really obsess. ways, there's unfortunately lot hooks kids ADHD get drawn bullying interaction. it's really challenging, there's enough things going young people ADHD try navigate world without singled treated, know, really unkind way. Laura: That's really interesting. That's interesting way talk it. first thing thought person ADHD said memories kid feeling like people didn't understand saying — people misrepresented mischaracterized something said. always tried really deliberate everything said, brain racing million miles hour. would almost script things would say head. folks misunderstood something said, would get really — like feathers would get super ruffled would replay conversation them. Like memorized replay them. would poke fun would kind start lose little bit. mean, sound familiar you? Andy: Without doubt. mean, without doubt. think thing is, certain things environments humans, people, triggering emotions sort charge up. someone ADHD, we're trying cope environment, we're trying navigate something may difficult us, become even difficult triggers really easy hit. somebody, know, makes fun you, somebody comes something know upsetting want see blow want see act out. certain kids pretty perceptive that. And, know, it's really difficult see coming. remember phrase — mom saying, "Why let sister push buttons?" always stayed mind someone pushes buttons. kids like me, kids like lot kids I've worked years, button big red, it's center chest it's visible anybody who's really looking paying attention wind up. think that's great target bullying behavior — really easily triggered way people see might even aware of. That's really sort trap folks ADHD. Laura: Let's talk button red bright easy spot. there's interesting information website talks kinds kids likely bullied. don't mention ADHD outright. first bullet that's listed kids perceived different peers, overweight underweight wearing glasses different clothing new school, kids perceived weak unable defend themselves. kids likely bullied. think much line lot kids ADHD. I'd love talk traits kids ADHD make susceptible bullying? Andy: know, think lot around tendencies. think kids think becoming part social group joining social world, skills development kids ADHD different. happen different pace kids don't ADHD. think commonly kids get around age of — think middle school perfect target age talk about. Kids really start appreciate cases reject differences people. see something that's like them, tend hold respond great force. think kids ADHD tend behave way that's like norm. talk word "norm." know, don't don't like word "normal" matter course. It's statistical word, right? think bell curve, normal something see falls right middle. talk norm, way kids tend behave certain phase lives, kids ADHD may fall outside that. it's starting noticed, makes really challenging ability things might come naturally neurotypical child — like enter conversation that's already going on? come try introduce try engage sort social interaction? first go-to behavior really silly really loud interrupt. it's malevolent. It's intended problem people. misses social connection. misses rule. think one challenges kids ADHD kids irritate one another. somebody little bit energetic top, irritate peers. let's go side equation. somebody little bit low-key little passive maybe inattentive really over-the-top behavior patterns, they're really struggling get nuances. may come really mousy, really lacking confidence. that's another really good marker for, oh, here's somebody power over. think bullying behaviors. think it's — trap often focus much kids stereotypical hyperactive ADHD, understand lot obvious things break group norms. often ignore kids inattentive type tend sit fringe, engage often make friends easily. behavior doesn't overtly affect people realm, may less likely singled picked teachers oh, need step help kid. peers, hand, especially peers eye power differentials, bullying behavior, see almost weaker animal fringe larger animal group, they're going go pick individual. it's little interesting kids little passive ADHD — I'm thinking inattentive ADHD — going still picked

  • It’s common for kids who learn and think differently to be bullied. Their differences can cause them to stand out, and make them targets. The signs of bullying aren’t always clear, though, and can look like other things. Here are some signs to look out for and to investigate when you see them. Physical symptomsYour child starts having frequent stomachaches or headaches. After clearing that this isn’t a health issue, pay attention to when these symptoms are happening. Is it in the morning before school or in the afternoon before sports practice? Does your child go to the nurse’s office complaining of symptoms during lunch every day? AngerAnger can show up in many ways. If your child is being bullied, that can trigger some anger. It can appear as acting out — in class and at home. Your child’s teacher may alert you to recent outbursts in class. Maybe your child is the bully themselves. Pay attention to this emotion and whether you see any patterns.Secretiveness If your child isn’t offering information as usual, or brushes past a question quickly, it’s worth paying attention to other things going on.For example, let’s say you notice some bruises on your child’s arm. When you ask what happened, your child says it was an accident. But a few days later, your child seems scared and asks to skip going on the class overnight trip. This situation is one that can appear as nothing if you’re not looking for the signs.Avoiding schoolKids may refuse to go to school when they’re being bullied. They might also avoid things associated with school, like homework. If they’re being teased at school for their academic performance, school can be an unpleasant place to be and bring down their self-esteem. Withdrawing from schoolKids may stop speaking or contributing in the classroom if they’re being bullied. They might want to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Or they may have internalized the negative things other kids say about them and feel as if they’re not “smart enough” to speak up.Withdrawing sociallyIf your child is suddenly uninterested in hanging out with friends or participating in activities that used to be fun, it’s worth checking up on. Maybe your child asks to quit soccer, even after they worked hard to make the team. When you ask why, your child looks down and shrugs, or says, “I just don’t like it anymore.” If you think your child is being bullied at school, learn about steps to take. Listen to an episode of ADHD Aha! on ADHD and bullying. Then check out a one-page fact sheet on bullying that you can share with others.

  • In It

    Get ready for more parenting stories and tips on Season 4 of In It! Listen to the trailer to find out what’s in store. Join us Season 4 It, podcast ins outs — ups downs — supporting kids learn think differently. This season, host Gretchen Vierstra joined new co-host, Rachel Bozek, writer editor raising two kids ADHD. Gretchen Rachel bring parenting stories, tips, expert advice people “in it.” They’ll talk everyday challenges, bust myths learning differences, dive tough topics like bullying.Season 4 starts Thursday, October 6. Subscribe now! Episode transcriptGretchen: Understood Podcast Network, "In It," podcast ins outs... Rachel: ...and ups downs... Gretchen: ...of supporting kids learn think differently. I'm Gretchen Vierstra, former classroom teacher editor Understood. Rachel: I'm Rachel Bozek, writer editor raising two kids ADHD. Gretchen: first off, big welcome new co-host, Rachel. Rachel: Thank you. Gretchen: excited let know Season 4 "In It" around corner. Like always, we'll bringing stories, advice... Rachel: ...and camaraderie. Gretchen: people it. Rachel: season, we'll talking experts help us myth-busting around specific diagnoses like ADHD dyslexia. Gretchen: we'll hearing people who've help kids navigate really tough things — like bullying getting ready adult life. Rachel: So, Gretchen, excited get season? Gretchen: I'm really excited hear families there, "In It" community, families tricks tips things share. hearing other's stories really helps us feel alone. you, Rachel? excited season? Rachel: I'm excited get things see come home things I've seen homes families know people lives. also get know "In It" community new seat I'm in, I'm really excited about. Gretchen: Season 4 starts soon. Follow Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever listen podcasts make sure never miss episode. Rachel: thanks us.

  • Middle school can be a hard time for many kids, and bullies can make it even worse. Kids who learn and think differently may stand out and be more at risk for bullying. Learn about the different types of bullying and signs to look out for.Physical What might be happening: Every morning before class, another student trips your child in the hallway and laughs.What you might be seeing: You notice some bruises. When you ask what happened, your child says it was an accident. But your child seems scared and asks to skip going on the class overnight trip. Verbal What might be happening: Whenever your child is called to the board to solve math problems, other kids groan. They say things like, “Well, this will take all day....”What you might be seeing: Your child keeps saying “I’m stupid” and starts avoiding homework. Teachers tell you that your child isn’t speaking or participating much in classes. Social isolation What might be happening: Every day at lunch your child goes from table to table looking for a seat. Another child says loudly, “Stop bothering us. Don’t you have any friends?” What you might be seeing: Your child comes home every day hungry or with an uneaten lunch. You ask why your child didn’t eat at school. Your child mumbles something about spending the lunch period alone in the library.CyberbullyingWhat might be happening: Every time your child logs on to social media, a classmate has posted rude messages on your child’s public profile. What you might be seeing: Your child is quiet after school and seems withdrawn. Your child stays in their room until called down to dinner, and then doesn’t talk much at the table.Worried about bullying? Find out what to do if you think your child is being bullied. And get a one-page fact sheet on bullying you can share with others.

  • The Opportunity Gap

    Learn about three pioneering Black women with disabilities — activist Lois Curtis, singer Solange Knowles, and author Octavia E. Butler. Black History Month, we’re celebrating three Black women changemakers way: Science-fiction author Octavia E. Butler, undiagnosed dyslexiaGrammy winner Solange Knowles, ADHDActivist Lois Curtis, whose Supreme Court victory landmark case disability rights movementLearn pioneering women three friends Opportunity Gap. presenters podcast deserves celebrated advocacy work: Poet LeDerick HorneCommunity organizer Atira RobersonBlack Boy Thrive founder Busola SakaRelated resourcesThe official site Octavia E. ButlerOctavia E. Butler author disability literatureSolange Knowles: Role model African American performers disabilitiesLois Curtis, whose lawsuit secured disability rights, dies 55Episode transcriptJulian: Understood Podcast Network, "The Opportunity Gap." name Julian Saavedra. I'm father two assistant principal Philadelphia, I've spent nearly 20 years working public schools. I'll host.Julian: special episode "The Opportunity Gap." Since it's Black History Month, want highlight amazing Black women different disabilities. impacted world unique way, whether it's performing across globe, writing futuristic science fiction stories, fighting injustice. reason celebrate Black pioneers remember contributions, sacrifices, key roles changed lives throughout history today. remember standing shoulders giants. would without work pioneers. podcast would exist without work they've put in. so, want give flowers today.In episode, we're also going pass mic friends podcast. people you're hearing today disability activists right deserve celebrated work well. First, would like introduce Busola Saka Black Boy Thrive, grassroots platform advocating black boys face discrimination school. understands experience firsthand building community parents facing challenges. Today Busola son Jimi, turned eight inspiration Black Boy Thrive. They're going tell us phenomenal story late, great science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler. Take away, Busola.Busola: Thanks, Julian. I'm thrilled share Octavia's story believe stories show us lives different people exposes us different ways living different challenges people face. example, love read. I'm avid reader encourage children read well. spend lot leisure time reading different books. Jimi, know science fiction is?Jimi: Science imagination.Busola: Science imagination. That's right. Octavia really good it. one first Black people one first women write kinds books. dyslexia. Here's story. Octavia E. Butler award-winning science fiction author whose stories explore themes global warming, injustice, women's rights, perhaps well-known writing characters color futuristic worlds historically excluded.Born Pasadena, California, 1947, Octavia raised mother grandmother civil rights movement beginning gain ground. Octavia incredibly shy child, despite great intelligence, hard time school struggled undiagnosed dyslexia bullied kids. bullying okay?Jimi: No, sirree.Busola: No, sirree. Octavia wrote personal diaries "When dyslexia became problem school … teachers told mother lazy trying." found outlet imagination self-expression, writing short stories, reading, spending much time could public library. Octavia determined become professional writer, struggled decades get stories published industry Black central characters, themes political injustice, climate change, women's rights weren't seen commercially viable. get by, Octavia worked odd jobs telemarketer, potato chip inspector, dishwasher. think it'd fun potato chip inspector?Jimi: Yes. Doritos potato chips?Busola: No, don't think so. looking inspecting potato chips, would look for?Jimi: Ruffles.Busola: want make sure there's burnt parts, right? So, that's Octavia did. inspected potato chips make sure okay. Octavia working kinds odd jobs, she'd wake every day 2 a.m. write. Eventually, published first novel, "Pattern Maker," expanded five-part series. went write popular novels "Kindred," "Blood Child," many more, changing expectations science fiction paving way many black authors genre. received many awards books, one first-ever science fiction author receive MacArthur Genius grant.Octavia Butler passed away 2006 leaves behind legacy using literature challenge racial stereotypes white privilege. said interview PBS, "Do thing love, well possibly persistent it."Julian: Thank much, Jimi Busola. love commentary potato chip inspecting. definitely interested too. say, makes happy we're highlighting Octavia. dyslexia, yet able become author. also remember child, reading books, like mom even books way back day. "Kindred" something coffee table. fact able highlight amazing Black characters science fiction genre testament power creativity. So, shout flowers go Octavia Butler.The next woman want highlight Black History Month Lois Curtis. tell story, good friend, LeDerick Horne. LeDerick poet, author, professional speaker, disability rights advocate, special education consultant. Welcome, LeDerick.LeDerick: Hey Julian. I'm glad back show shine light incredible activist highlight impact amazing woman. Lois Curtis visual artist advocate disability rights. lawsuit state Georgia fought end practice segregating people disabilities, Supreme Court victory stands major accomplishment disability rights movement. Lois grew Atlanta, Georgia, '70s. born intellectual developmental disabilities family under-resourced support own.As child, Lois often wandered home, effort get daughter care, mother eventually called emergency services, unfortunately led institutionalized Georgia Regional Hospital starting age 11. doctors said reason there, state allocate funding could live community. years living hospital, Lois experienced low quality life treated psychiatric medication kept heavily sedated. social worker introduced lawyer Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Lois' first question lawyer was, "When getting here?"Through Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Lois found way fight right live community. 1995, Lois filed lawsuit state Georgia, claiming discrimination Americans Disabilities Act, states services need provided integrated setting appropriate needs individual. setting Lois living degrading quality life, civil rights violation. case made way Supreme Court, ruled Lois' favor 1999.Eventually, able move apartment community support focus art. Lois best known portrait pieces. even presented one self-portraits President Barack Obama. Lois Curtis passed away fall 2022 leaves behind profound legacy people disabilities. legal victory ensures regardless state funding, people disabilities cannot unjustly segregated.One reasons love Lois Curtis's story vision life big, living hospital, really path able get living community. held vision fought hard support allies make vision reality. remember special ed teenager, coming crazy idea going go college someday, didn't see path it. one explained transition services were, supports folks learning disabilities college setting. held dream, too.And so, think she's incredible source inspiration us vision lives future nation future world, fight collaboration, work make vision reality.Julian: Thank much, LeDerick. remember couple weeks back read obituary

  • When Grace and Jason Dascoli learned their son J.T. had dyslexia, they got busy getting him the academic support he needed. What they didn’t know until later was that J.T. had been bullied at his elementary school.Kids made fun of him when he couldn’t keep up in class. A note was taped to his school locker calling him “stupid.” J.T., a second grader at the time, suffered in silence. Nearly every day he ended up at the nurse’s office complaining of a stomachache. He went there so often he was dubbed “a frequent flier” by the school, his mom Grace says.But neither J.T. nor his school told her about the stomachaches. She found out by accident months later. The mysterious stomachaches, it turns out, were J.T.’s response to the stress of dealing with his dyslexia and the bullying. His experience isn’t uncommon. Between 25 and 33 percent of students in the U.S. say they’ve been bullied at school.When she learned about the bullying, Grace, who lives near Boulder, Colorado, worked with the school to put an end to it. But she didn’t stop there. Grace knew there had to be a way to draw attention to the problem of bullying in school. She also wanted to get kids involved to prevent bullying from happening in the first place. She brainstormed several ideas and hit on a winner—the charms (or small ornaments) her kids loved to design, make and wear.Charms were all the rage among elementary school students like J.T. and his sister Ava. Kids wore them as backpack clips and zipper pulls for jackets, coats, lunch boxes and purses.Grace asked herself, How can we use this trend for something good?The answer: Create charms with messages like “love” and “peace” to ignite a grassroots anti-bullying movement. The goal: Encourage kids to be happy and treat each other kindly. Each charm is a reminder to the person wearing it that they are loved, they are important and they matter, Grace says. That was the birth of the family business, Team Happy Face.Started in 2011, Team Happy Face is now a thriving business. The charms are in demand for decorating laptop, digital reader and smartphone cases. The company also creates custom charms for schools as part of their fundraising projects. Five percent of company profits are donated each year to an anti-bullying initiative. The Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate campaign is the most recent recipient.J.T., now 9, and Ava, 11, help with the family business when they have time. Even dad Jason, a former chef who works for a major food company, gets involved. But much of the work for Team Happy Face falls to Grace, who is a freelance technical recruiter for several Silicon Valley technology companies.The success of Team Happy Face has boosted J.T.’s self-esteem. And it has put a spotlight on the needs of all kids with dyslexia, Grace says.J.T. is now in fourth grade. He attends public school for half the day and receives private tutoring for the other half. “We refused to allow the classroom to define who J.T. was,” Grace says. “The bullying is over, and more importantly, J.T. loves learning again. These kids are very bright. They just need to be identified early and get the right help to succeed.”Any opinions, views, information and other content contained in blogs on are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.

  • The Opportunity Gap

    She’s an Olympic champion, a Black woman, and an advocate for people with ADHD. So why don’t more kids of color know about Simone Biles? Simone Biles decorated female gymnast history. She’s also Black woman advocate people ADHD. don’t students color know story? Hosts Julian Saavedra Marissa Wallace explore role model means stories rise others. talk shame stigma prevent people color talking challenges. hosts also share thoughts parents schools help kids learn think differently find role models look to.Related resourcesRead Simone Biles tweeted ADHD.Check Tupac Shakur’s poem, “The Rose Grew Concrete.”Watch videos athletes learn think differently, like Olympian Michelle Carter NFL player Lawrence Guy.Get tips finding mentors kids learning thinking differences. Episode transcriptJulian: Welcome "The Opportunity Gap," podcast families kids color learn think differently. explore issues privilege, race, identity. goal help advocate child. I'm Julian Saavedra.Marissa: I'm Marissa Wallace. Julian worked together years teachers public charter school Philadelphia, saw opportunity gaps firsthand.Julian: we're parents kids color. personal us. In episode, we're talking Simone Biles positive role models kids color learn think differently. Marissa, up? How's week? Marissa: Well, it's funny. actually able walk Lincoln home school today, told I'm going talk Uncle Julian tonight. He's like "Uncle Julian?" I'm like, "Yeah, remember Philadelphia? Uncle Julian?"Julian: Well tell little guy said hello. children say hi everybody. I'm really excited episode today we're talking topic think near dear us: idea role models idea really lifting folks students even us looking to.So I'm excited producer, amazing, intelligent, stupendous producer wealth knowledge, Andrew Lee, going share research able Simone Biles start show. Andrew, tell us little bit Simone Biles, please. Andrew: Julian, you're like way kind. thank intro. know, gave assignment, thinking Simone Biles, gymnast, knew little bit that, Olympic background. yes, considered accomplished female gymnast history sport, 32 Olympic world championship medals. got like four moves named her. found little bit research Simone much gymnast.In 2016, started really open learning thinking differences. year reading hackers published medical records ADHD. responded said, know, ADHD taking medication nothing afraid let people know. now, know, read news articles her, really seems like she's charting new course advocate mental health.And last summer Olympics, quite news articles took stand mental health withdrawing competition. September, actually testified Congress abuses gymnasts experience U.S. gymnastics. So, sometimes hear like famous sports star or, know, famous personality, think big accomplishments. one things I've found actually quite bit trauma childhood, know, foster child, part experience. also faced lot bullying. interesting hear beyond sort medals jumps moves, there's much her. really interesting, Julian. Julian: There's many things say Simone. think idea rose growing concrete, right? many things struggles, struggles came beautiful person even continues deal struggles.Yet brings best lot people around her. know, think story really great starting point dive in, talking role models kind making sure give, give flowers can, Simone somebody us presently she's somebody deserves respect admiration.So Marissa, tell thoughts Simone. think? Marissa: Yeah. Well, first appreciate use figurative language describe talking rose crack, giving shout-out Tupac there. feel like already know, feel like you're already setting stage is, obviously much gymnast knowing experiences.And think that, past summer, much news. course there's always two sides every story everyone opinion Simone, don't think takes away accomplishments. don't think take away overcome get point she's at.And feel like that's trajectory that's kind like journey lot role models. It's evolving positions without life history — experiences make are. think that's important piece conversation hope get today. When talk students, talk face trauma, face learning thinking differences might oftentimes feel alone feel like aren't going able achieve that.Julian: Like fact able talk openly one highest, important parts career. wherewithal prioritize mental health continue openly discuss somebody lives learning thinking differences. mean, talk courage really things greater good. important folks this? going make impact?Marissa: Yeah, definitely think helps people positions look them, don't always know got point. also think there's lot left hidden. part hidden, doesn't relatability. think that's piece makes role models, especially role models students thinking learning differences, missing piece like, oh, well person achieved greatness, don't understand haven't struggled school. haven't struggled academics behaviors like have.So therefore, like made point don't this, know. probably don't know Michael Jordan — individual learning differences ADHD. there's athletes later come expressed challenges overcame get place they're now.Julian: I'm going something may disagree with, would venture think Simone's story prevalent schools be. would even guess role role model, even though like we, adults talking lot, don't feel like hear students talking unless bring up.Marissa: agree. Julian: Unless it's something really made popular social media something effect. wonder story elevated everywhere popularized everywhere.Marissa: It's surprising sometimes hear students consider role models, like looking to, especially middle school kids. work primarily eighth graders. lot conversation getting ready high school. talking life high school going look like explaining success look like many different things. they're sharing role models, majority social media personalities, even like athletes anymore.Like feel like it's veered away hearing like, oh, know, want like football player, basketball player. lot it, I've really heard, people TikTok like YouTube. That's I'm getting lot ask students positive role models are. think it's really telling time, it's hard cause sometimes I'm like, don't even know is. like, don't think lot conversation, experience last year two, really talks Simone talks people like her, really important stories really important messages provide students with.And you're high school level. I'm curious you're hearing, far talk days.Julian: Yeah, mean, social media folks vein, Real Housewives still get lot of, still get little bit love, makes think elevate and — wouldn't want say commercialize — like get people would consider positive role models like front kids?Marissa: They're though, right? role models they're students — students color, students learning thinking differences. relatable.

  • There’s a lot of information available today about bullying — and more awareness than ever of the problem. We know bullying often happens online. We also know that bullying can be verbal as well as physical. But where does teasing fit into the picture? Is it bullying?The short answer: It’s complicated. Sometimes teasing is harmless and playful. Other times it can be used to hurt others. And even playful teasing can hit raw nerves or be misinterpreted, especially when kids struggle with social skills. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between teasing and bullying, and how to help kids navigate these tricky social waters.Teasing is a type of communicationGood-natured teasing is a way for people to communicate with each other. It’s a social exchange. Many kids tease each other to bond or form relationships. When the best kid on a basketball team misses a dunk, and a teammate says, “Hey, Magic, nice shot,” they can both laugh it off. The teasing shows each other they can joke around and still be friends. Done in the right spirit, this banter can be positive. When kids tease each other about clothes, musical tastes, or behavior, it helps them learn to deal with constructive criticism. It’s part of how they relate.Kids also use teasing to influence each other, and change behavior for the better. If a teen keeps staring at a boy she likes at lunch, her friends might say, “Seriously, are you looking at Kevin again? Just talk to him already!” This teasing teaches a social rule (don’t stare too much) and encourages her to act in an appropriate way. But teasing can also be used to communicate the negative. It’s often used to establish “top dog” among kids. For example, a group of girls might tease one in the group about her weight. Or kids might tease to encourage bad behavior: “What a little wimp, Sam, you won’t even try the cigarette.” Also, what’s playful to one child may not feel playful to another. In those cases, teasing can lead to hurt feelings. With these negatives, why not discourage teasing completely? Like any communication, teasing has its purpose. Some topics that are awkward to raise in serious conversation are easier to raise through teasing. Teasing can also be fun. Think, for example, of the back-and-forth banter that happens in any romantic comedy.Bullying is meant to hurtVerbal bullying is different from teasing. It’s not done to make friends, or to relate to someone. Just the opposite: The goal is to embarrass the victim and make the bully look better and stronger. The tricky thing is that bullying may start out as teasing. But when it’s done over and over and is meant to be hurtful or threatening, it becomes bullying.Verbal bullying includes calling a victim names, taunting, and sexual harassment. It can happen in person, through texting, and online through social media and email.Bullying also involves an imbalance of power. Bullying victims usually don’t provoke it. Rather, kids may not be able to defend themselves because of their physical size, or because of their social position in school or in a group. And if a victim gets upset, bullies typically don’t stop. The bullying may even get worse.Unlike kids who are being bullied, kids who are being teased can influence whether it continues or ends. If they get upset, the teaser usually stops. Teasing and kids who struggle sociallyTeasing can be hard to understand for kids who struggle with conversation or reading social cues. One big challenge is knowing how to respond. Some kids can’t yet tell if someone is teasing them in a good-natured way, or trying to bully them. This can be confusing. It can lead kids to say or do inappropriate things. Many kids also have trouble making friends. This can lead them to put up with teasing that hurts because they want to remain part of a group or be liked. Sometimes, kids who are trying to tease end up bullying. For example, a child may say something mean-spirited to another, thinking it’s playful. This can lead to an argument. Or a child may react angrily to a comment that’s friendly, which may cause other kids to keep their distance. To address these struggles, it’s important to teach kids about the rules of conversation. Help kids sort out when teasing is OK and when it becomes hurtful or borders on bullying. One way to do this is by role-playing with them. This lets kids practice a situation where they get teased, don’t like it, and need to respond. Questions to ask kids about teasing Maybe you’ve heard that kids are teasing your child or your student at school. You can ask a few questions to see whether it’s good-natured or harmful:Are the kids who tease you your friends? Do you like it when they tease you?Do you tease them back?If you told them to stop teasing, would they?If you told them that they hurt your feelings, would they say they were sorry?If the answer to any of these questions is “no” or “I don’t know,” then it may be a case of negative teasing or even bullying. It’s important to find out more.Find out how to teach kids to defend against bullying. And learn what steps to take if a child is being bullied at school.

  • How’d You Get THAT Job?!

    Jacquelyn Spathies faced hardships growing up with ADHD and dyslexia. One teacher saw her potential, and now Jacquelyn works in a federal research lab. Growing ADHD dyslexia, Jacquelyn Spathies didn’t picture one day working doctorate biomedical studies. Teachers told wasn’t trying hard enough discouraged dreaming big. Kids bullied school supports. Like lots kids dyslexia, felt like outsider, found acceptance rebellious crowd. Then Jacquelyn went community college, found encouragement right teacher. discovered love research science. Jacquelyn works federal lab, researches topics coronavirus eczema. Tune hear Jacquelyn talk self-advocacy workplace, “othering” grow learning difference.Take listener surveyHelp us make podcasts better. Take listener survey.Related resourcesVideo: scientist dyslexia Work advocacy 101: Asking boss need thriveVideo: Harvard graduate growing dyslexiaEpisode transcriptJacquelyn: think college, kind suppressed like, I'm fine, this. I'm passing tests fine. graduated started job, work actually offered class like diversity inclusion. one things talked learning differences. actually class realized, oh gosh, like, that's me.Eleni: Understood Podcast Network, "How'd Get Job?!," podcast explores unique often unexpected career paths people learning thinking differences. name Eleni Matheou, I'm user researcher Understood. means spend lot time thinking find jobs love reflect learn are. I'll host.When pandemic first hit, next guest working federal lab, helping scientists learn virus spreading across globe. Jacquelyn Spathies didn't grow dreaming career scientist white lab coat. fact, teen ADHD dyslexia, rebellious didn't always feel confident school. wasn't college found calling research biology. passion led research topics coronavirus eczema. She's way receive doctorate biomedical studies Vanderbilt University. Welcome show, Jacquelyn.Jacquelyn: Thank much me.Eleni: let's start beginning. like, know, growing ADHD dyslexia? feel it?Jacquelyn: far back remember — right? — I'm elementary school and, mother concerned kids wants equal opportunities peers, mom, know, concerned wanted make sure got treatment diagnosis needed. growing up, definitely sent certain classes made sure IEP medication ADHD things like that, like assisted time tests whatnot forth. kind like sister raised way. high school, kind goofed around didn't really focus much. college, that's started really take ownership work kind found study habits worked me, communicating professors letting know. One nice things going community college small classroom size, could one-on-one kind intimacy professors let know like, "Hey, I'll probably last one taking exam," like blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. they're normally understanding they'll work again, kind setting. kind entered college. wasn't really started develop interest school STEM specifically.Eleni: reason asked felt research talk to, know, lot kids feel like really different school, don't necessarily understand why. sounds like got lot support. But, know, often hear people still feel really like alone experience. look for, know, community belong like feel normal things like that. even though getting support, it? Like, talk it? feel shame around like proud like, know, thinking differently? kind show you?Jacquelyn: wish took pride it, definitely didn't. think especially you're younger, don't really think feel embarrassed. Like you're automatically "other" get leave classroom, right? teachers like, OK, everyone know, know are. Go ahead, go take test. get everyone kind knows. remember one time local gas station like buying gum, like, $5 buy many packs gum. like math. kids, boys went school saw me, like, "How know much buy?" Like, "You can't math," like making fun knew was, know, like getting tests read things like that. again, like, oh, like notice get walk away that's, that's bullying, right? Like, that's proof. And, course, remember little moments yeah, embarrassing.Eleni: really appreciate sharing because, know, often hear bullied or, know, feeling "othered" different feeling rejected like kind builds upon itself. And, know, people end rejecting school whatever system feel contributes otherness. talked kind goofed high school. think link there?Jacquelyn: Yeah, kind interesting story that, actually. around time applying graduate school, past October. lot going life general, right? Trying balance work applying school just, know, social life relationships. lot going on, go government clearance job. ended getting phone call government clearance like around time. found stuff record like didn't report completely honest, didn't remember thought important report. anyway, I'm going I'm like relive these, like, know, mistakes rebellious, rebellious stage youth. he's asking questions like, this? Blah, blah, blah. I'm like, oh gosh. Like, going through. I'm thinking part life oh, know, I'm terrible — I'm going doctor, like blah, blah, blah. I'm worth it. course kind brings down. mean, lot. really hard. thought going get like fired job, like, going ruin career.And went home started researching ADHD dyslexia, kind trying see like affected me. came across blog posts. People talking like kind associate delinquents least they're accepted. I'm reading things I'm thinking, oh God, me. me. definitely relate lot it's true. rebellious, right? bar set really low. felt like couldn't accomplish much. didn't receive motivation, guess, least that's viewed it.And so, know, looking rebellious kids, like, OK, well, least fit here. accept me. They're kind outcasts, right? kind like realizing associating with, oh, gosh, like, it's fault. accomplished much I've kind overcome reflecting journaling thinking things. got government clearance — surprise! didn't get fired job. fine. course worried, kind got spiraling path. ended leading ability forgive myself. know, I've apologized parents definitely gave run money growing up. really made realize, like, OK, like I'm alone, I'm one. really grown kind come top. that's anymore. I'm proud say that, know, it, think anyone can, know?Eleni: Yeah. Yeah. mean, it's really interesting think impact, said, like feeling othered, feeling different, bullied. then, know, like everybody looking like friends community people connect with. like sometimes it's not, know, necessarily like positive terms, right? Like it's just, know, like especially teens.Jacquelyn: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. think me, like, know, parent-teacher conferences meet parents teacher like, "Oh yeah, Jacquelyn's, know, she's good student, maybe tried little harder." Or, know, things like that, was, never very, like, motivating.Eleni: Yeah, totally see it's motivating if, know, parent-teacher conferences saying, oh like "If tried harder," you're already thinking like I'm trying hard

  • No bullying at schools.If only that were the case. Unfortunately, it’s not. But hopefully some new guidance from the government can help to lessen how often it occurs.The U.S. Department of Education reports that since 2009 it has received more than 2,000 complaints about bullying of students with disabilities. Many of these students have learning or thinking differences. Fortunately, there are protections for these students, according to Meghan Casey, policy research and advocacy associate for the National Center for Learning Disabilities.Casey points to a recent “guidance” letter to public schools from the U.S. Department of Education. The letter goes beyond previous guidance given to school districts and educators. It says schools must address any bullying that interferes with a student’s right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). This protection applies to any student eligible for an Individual Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan.If bullying occurs, the government letter says, schools must determine if a student’s right to FAPE is impacted. This covers any bullying that prevents a child from fully participating and benefiting from their IEP or 504 plan. The letter also spells out the actions schools must take, including holding a school team meeting to address the bullying.“It is encouraging to see the government is recognizing this as a problem,” Casey says. She points out that bullying can lead to other serious issues for kids. These include depression, higher truancy rates and higher dropout rates. “It’s also significant that schools are being directed to take action even if bullying isn’t related to a student’s disability,” she added.If your child is being bullied at school, there are specific steps you can take to respond. For more information on how to prevent bullying in school, take a look at our suite of articles on protecting your child.Any opinions, views, information and other content contained in blogs on are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.

  • The Opportunity Gap

    In part one of our conversation on mental health, learn about the unique ways a parent’s journey can influence a child’s mental wellness. Get tips on how to support kids’ mental health. decisions make words say, parents play huge role supporting child’s mental health. Kids may always looking parents perfect pillars strength. looking healthy ways cope life treats unfairly. So, it’s essential parents caregivers make mental wellness priority. This episode Opportunity Gap explores importance good mental health kids learn think differently parents. Listen Kier Gaines, licensed therapist digital creator, explains:  The unique challenges parenting impacts kids’ mental health Social media’s influence kids’ self-esteem social interactions  Ways parents promote good mental health child Related resourcesHow social media affect mental health? It’s complicated.UCLA Health MARC Guided MeditationsMental Health America: Self-help tools Kier Gaines’ Instagram YouTube channelsWunder UnderstoodEpisode transcriptJulian: Understood Podcast Network, "The Opportunity Gap." Kids color ADHD common learning differences often face double stigma. there's lot families address opportunity gap communities. podcast explains key issues offers tips help advocate child.My name Julian Saavedra. I'm father two assistant principal Philadelphia, I've spent nearly 20 years working public schools. I'll host.Welcome back, listeners. today's episode, we'll kick Part 1 conversation importance mental health lens Black fathers. We'll talk unique challenges parents color often face challenges impact kids. We'll dive world social media talk influences kids' mental health. we'll highlight resources promote good mental health kids parents.To help get this, want introduce today's guest, Kier Gaines. Kier Gaines licensed therapist public figure uses platforms amplify importance mental health. He's inspired millions people proactive journey reframe way think life especially parenting. He's speaker events — wait one — White House. White House. White House. Yes! honored Sterling K. Brown Oprah Winfrey OWN's "Honoring Kings, Celebrating Black Fatherhood."Welcome show, Kier. nice here, brother. nice you.Kier: Appreciate you, man. Thank on.Julian: illustrious guest here. don't know we've done deserve this, really appreciate here. biography shows, you've done lot powerful things far. And, know, like kind jump talk shop little bit hear people hear experience been. first foremost, Kier, what's bringing joy life right now? What's giving life right now?Kier: I'm huge football fan. football, whenever player struggles first year, second year, start grasp concepts game, always say thing. say, "The game starting slow me." It's like clichéd thing players say, it's supposed signify job used like drinking water fire hose maybe drinking water one high-pressure hoses cleans deck. It'd still knock tongue backwards, isn't bad before. I'm finding joy fact I'm getting used exhausting parts adulthood parenthood. I'm finding real happiness.Julian: OK. right. love analogy, too, now: game slows you.Kier: game slows me.Julian: let's talk little bit. us parents. us parents, right? parenting, know, journey. I'm 100 percent honest, it's journey comes without manual, blueprint it. us, learn go.Now, myself, grew single-parent household. father passed away 7. Mom, shout Michelle Saavedra, number one. raised us own. remember everything could take care us, also prepare us there. lot times things got little difficult. know stress something many single parents carry, especially comes mental health parent without blueprint, also own.When interviewed Oprah Winfrey, also shared you, like I, grew single-parent household. families own, talk little bit it's important parents take care mental health?Kier: Parenthood consuming position. watching mom every day herself, looking adult lens, realize mom depressed. know mental health field depression uninvolved parenting go hand hand. it's parenting consuming job it's consuming ask, pieces identity get lost trying keep up, trying need make day day. adversely affect kids.But since people change entire identities parenthood, don't enter comes mental health space recommend someone see therapist encourage someone see therapist, de-centers you. I'm going say, Julian, could better father come see therapist. That's central piece. you're better you, default you're better father. say, Julian, want come therapy good you. people tree eat fallen fruit. least that's big idea.Julian: think that. speak much many aspects life, right? Like, mentally healthy, aspects life start fall place. us parents, especially because, like said, much life consumed identity. appreciate that. Appreciate that. You're saying de-centers identity parent focuses everything encompasses person.Kier: That's right. Take care you, person. actually, think is — don't know totally puts mindset centering yourself. think increases likelihood you'll receptive mind state. Listen — included. daughter doctor's appointment day. I. Guess whose doctor's appointment got canceled. Mine.It's easy preach that. actuality, stresses guilt-inducing responsibility parenthood make self-sacrifice self-abnegate sometimes. something got constantly remind sure.Julian: saw mom siblings hard worked, made sure needed. got chance become father myself, said, I'm going best really thing right. It's goal try aspire to.But wonder I've placing pressure myself, like pressure subconsciously starts bring feelings of, actually right? actually good father? didn't father around, don't really clear model supposed be. talk little bit pressure sometimes parents place ourselves?Kier: Oh, man, it's pressure. pressure comes larger society. pressure comes sociological best practices, right? get pressure comparing upbringings. get pressure contrasting moving away upbringings. grew poor don't wear badge honor. It's something feel like negatively impacted me, lot make sure daughters aren't situation. Probably sometimes overdeliver way actually need meet needs.So take different angles pressure coming from, you're getting beat up, bro. getting jumped, know, expectations. things counter that, understand reality, reframe idea comparison. know say comparison thief joy, sometimes is. comparison also really amazing tool help evaluate amongst peers.I like talk friends. Hey man, kids this? hear people respond, feel little human. kid isn't one doesn't flush toilet. OK. thought me, dog. continue talk people. realize struggle parent journeys, too. humans, we're social creatures society sometimes comprised made-up rules we've followed along hundreds thousands years sometimes, don't always know we're good job. sometimes need see someone else struggle permission humanity, know?Julian: think it's interesting Black men Black fathers, there's unique lane parenting ethos, right?Kier: Absolutely.Julian: hear that, know, boys, go back forth like thing. compare, supposed like this? going hard them? ease little bit?Kier: Oh, I'm glad mentioned that.Julian: Right. even — that's pressure, right? That's something even that's something induces anxiety, too. again, society already strong current vision Black man be, I'm always kind balancing like, fit balance is. something experience too?Kier: Oh, absolutely. Every single day life. I'm definition, cisgender, six foot one, dark-skinned Black man. It's easy say right thing misinterpret understanding something alienate groups people one time, fully understanding understanding nuance context way people talk way people identify, way people express lived experiences. I'm always really careful that.Julian: want transition social media, big portion life recently. incredible following social media, right? 400,000 followers Instagram, 50,000 YouTube. Couple years ago, went viral posting transparent video fatherhood. Listeners, link show notes, please check video. watched six times. received great response people. got ask, what's feel like go viral? surprised response got?Kier: completely surprised, beautiful. Came right George Floyd murdered. think world place, collective consciousness, hear Black men another way, hear fatherhood another way. think tone different lot content talks men.We don't talk men warmth, it's always hustle culture. Go get it. got this. mean, everyone sounds like drill sergeant. even though get that's stereotypically think men connect messages, see ain't. see work.You work schools. work young boys. Even got tough exteriors, get behind wall start talking calmly them, get see different person. boys, difference men they'll grow couple years' time experiences. They're person part similar needs. think that's video hit like that. don't know — man, ain't never expect this. kidding me? didn't think anybody would care all.Julian: guess I'm personally interested, like, spark told needed start this? Like, go from — said educator you're licensed therapist. made decide say, need get content together, need get thoughts there?Kier: felt good. felt good. started fatherhood content, process that, process video exploding, passed licensure exam become therapist. took while. I've always created content. I've making content since 2000, 2001, big fat VHS camera VHS-C tapes.Julian: We're going way back. MySpace? talking Black Planet?Kier: Oh, talking Black Planet, bro. talking MySpace top 8, yeah. talking straight Black Planet those. yeah, just, don't know. don't think singular thing inspired me. always liked put thoughts tape, created — got master's program started treating people started learning counseling world. there's much information. got degrees stuff, academics. Academics talk head day "with marginal propensity neurofibromatic." love words jargon.Julian: $20 words. $20 words. gotta break five sometimes.Kier: Got break five sometimes. Make change me, bro. don't care about — don't care smart are. want get better. able find way synthesize that. are, three years almost half million people later.Julian: know videos continue do, they're dope, right? Like, they're content needs there. me, it's content part better side, positive influence social media have. father, again, educator, appreciate that. like see positive messages, thought-provoking work. there's also lot challenges come social media.Now, role assistant principal urban high school, lot day consumed conflicts stem social media: chats, group chats, beef comes instantaneous sharing things, video, that — bullying, altercations, insecurities students social media says. I'm interested hear take. somebody content producer positive work there, take impact social media mental health?Kier: Oh, well, social media, know — think said, research already back heaviest negative mental health outcomes linked heavy social media users. Suicide ideation, anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia. go into — social media linked increase conditions outcomes.But man, also many positive aspects. We're social creatures. Social media one powerful tools world. figure millions people think within couple hours. access much data, access many tools resources help better life. It's one things think social media exacerbates conditions already struggle with. think exists lot things grapple with.If I'm self-conscious poor, mind likely drift content look lifestyle wish had, start unfairly compare myself. here — know social media reoccurring things talk about. You're watching people's highlights. People don't talk downside social media.But don't know people understand incredibly curated content is, especially children. see that, see guy Bugatti who's 19 years old. Dude, know, one billion, there's billions people. three guys kid's timeline? it's overrepresentation exists larger world.Julian: Well, think say, though, we're tool. think listeners, understanding aspect it, frame phone, social media, instantaneous communication, technology tool, right. Like it's end all. like anything tool used purpose, tool harnessed positive harnessed positive purpose. appreciate part.And, know, again, parent educator, wonder, know, years, again, somebody content creator, somebody also mental health specialist, concerns situation parent? concerns you're going implement social media household?Kier: It's tough safeguard children there's access, access internet remotely. best thing safeguard children open honest transparent conversations. daughter's 5 right now, extent usage social media, plays Roblox. sometimes we'll Roblox somebody requests friend. got parental settings safeguards kids much can.But I'll use opportunity. Oh, person? know person? don't talk strangers? happen talk strangers? we're big fear mongering house. Fear stops things, reason intrinsic understanding. know you're supposed it. try explain it — like happen thing — allow ask questions feel comfortable coming us asking questions.The second part baby's 5, oldest 5, youngest 16 months old. remember oldest 4 months old, judgmental parent. "I'll never let kid whole bunch screen time." "I'll never let kid eat snacks hour dinner." "I would never let" become "I allow far often.".So don't want to — I'm John Wayne, two guns blazing, talking I'm gonna comes internet. daughter understands living. us, heightened level visibility it's really important us talk fundamental ground rules social media. her, one establish right now, watches YouTube. say, kids video, can't watch it. sometimes there's adolescents pre-teens concert enjoys, she's really smart kid, she's still 5 years old. don't want overexposed. she's social media, we're background. she's engaged, we're engaging too. Even it's passively listening content listens it, level involvement.Julian: love idea open communication modeling you're using social media sees example. use benefit us. again, positive way.Kier: Oh yeah, sure.Julian: Parents, really want protect kids. That's something going back that — yeah, know, vision parenting supposed be: keep safe. don't want see violent videos read cruel comments. want confident way look. reality can't always control monitor everything see hear. helpful tips ways parents kids engage positive social media, like specific tips could provide?Kier: Yeah, think goes back open communication piece. open communication piece having — whenever kids come counseling, teenagers, don't work often. work them, one difficult things parents understand there's particular level privacy young person enjoys they're counseling. within comes unique power struggle. know, parent ultimate authoritative piece. need know every single thing.And learn therapy sometimes way parent responds things make uncomfortable things don't want hear dictates directly open child them. I'm saying easy. daughter's 5. tells things make fly handle sometimes. don't always good job that, always practicing getting better.I use little opportunities. told something alarming. I'm like, OK, baby, tell more. I'm fighting back. it's important feels like could open honest me. can't stop bad things happening, solid foundation almost conversation things actually occur.Julian: think it's also making sure you're intentional accounts and/or child following, making sure monitor accounts have. making sure there's age-appropriate boundaries pre-teen versus teenager might post.Kier: agree. add something else that? think that's really good point. Adding boundaries trying stay consistent them. Children, even teenagers, preteens, adolescents, individuals took brain understood nothing learned language made use it. good figuring patterns. you're inconsistent, they'll see pattern.Sometimes got rule way school. Sometimes daughter can't app, sometimes I'll break rules. therapy, call norm room. Norm room walk there's group people let every — let everybody know expectation boundaries say single word. norm rule. Everybody knows expect.And norm child similar ways. Whereas pre-conversation, hey, I'm going let play iPad today extra hour Daddy ABC. way, even though it's deviation daily plan typically do, context why, know, it's complete disruption pattern rules establish. consistency key kids, it's hard keep up.Julian: That's funny say that. That's — kids get little bit extra Netflix time Dad recording podcast. get excited it's Dad's turn podcast oh, get little extra Netflix today. again, pre-conversation, giving rationale pulling curtain past thinking there's open communication parent child.I want ask ton questions think lot conversation helpful. appreciate coming sharing expertise, sharing journey, sharing know, person. want personally thank joining today.Listeners, go, want share resources promote good mental health. We'll also linked show notes. Kiers' Instagram @KierGaines, YouTube channel.Kier: Spell them.Julian: UCLA Health, Free Guided Meditation, Mental Health America, course Understood's Wunder app. sure check out. They're incredible. Kier, thank again. appreciate you, brother. really appreciate you're doing.Kier: appreciate you. appreciate work schools. one — saw one Black male time pre-K till sheesh, maybe 10th grade. presence school actually caring kids walk doors? reverberates throughout lives, whether know not, man. even camera platform, thank everything do. critically impactful, man.Julian: Thank you. appreciate that. it's good work. It's work needs done. So, listeners, thank much listening. I'll back soon.Kier: Yeah, thank you.Julian: You've listening "The Opportunity Gap" Understood Podcast Network. show you, want make sure you're getting need. topic you'd like us cover? want hear you. Email us want learn topics covered today, check show notes episode. include resources well links anything mentioned resource dedicated helping people learn think differently discover potential thrive. Learn "The Opportunity Gap" produced Tara Drinks, edited Cin Pim. Briana Berry production director. theme music written Justin D. Wright, also mixes show. Understood Podcast Network, Laura Key editorial director, Scott Cocchiere creative director, Seth Melnick executive producer. Thanks listening see next time.

  • Former NFL player Jovan Haye made his mark on the football field with the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a defensive lineman. Now the Jamaican-born Haye is making tracks as an education advocate. He is promoting his self-published book, Bigger Than Me: How a Boy Conquered Dyslexia to Play in the NFL.The book is about his struggles with dyslexia, poverty and bullying.After retiring from football, Haye had to work hard to get his book published. Publishers were skeptical that he wasn’t enough of a celebrity for his memoir to be a big seller. But Haye has proven otherwise. His book has made him a popular spokesman for dyslexia awareness. Now he’s on a mission to encourage parents to get their children evaluated early if they suspect dyslexia.“I want people to understand that they are not alone,” Haye says in a press release about the book. “We all have challenges. But with faith, forgiveness, determination and perseverance, success is inevitable!”Did you know that many successful people like Haye have learning and thinking differences? Take our quiz and test your knowledge.Any opinions, views, information and other content contained in blogs on are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.

  • How’d You Get THAT Job?!

    Whitney Valentine-Wafer has ADHD and never finished college. By believing in herself, she built a nontraditional career as a finance professional. Whitney Valentine-Wafer ADHD never finished college. She’s served chief financial officer several organizations built career nonprofit finance professional. journey includes employers like Creative Commons San Francisco Ballet. Whitney shares diagnosed ADHD adult — found way despite fired several jobs 20s. says key reflecting worked didn’t work brain. Listen career advice, including temping great way try different work roles.Listen in. Then:See list famous business people learning differences ADHD.Hear story real estate agent ADHD loves work.Learn different paths high school.Episode transcriptGretchen: like listening podcast, check "In It," podcast explores joys frustrations supporting kids learn think differently. chat parents, teachers, sometimes kids topics aren't talked enough. Ready listen? Subscribe "In It" Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever get podcasts.Eleni: Understood Podcast Network, "How'd Get Job?!," podcast explores unique often unexpected career paths people learning thinking differences. name Eleni Matheou, I'm user researcher Understood. means spend lot time thinking find jobs love reflect learn are. I'll host.Whitney Valentine-Wafer never finished college, able become chief financial officer several organizations. Today, she's consultant financial matters not-for-profits. years, didn't know ADHD, recently diagnosed adult. Welcome show, Whitney.Whitney: Thank you!Eleni: Whitney, never finished college, ended chief financial officer, you've worked really interesting places. would love hear highlights cool places you've worked, you're proud of.Whitney: Yeah! One favorites, chief financial officer 4505 Meats, packaged pork rind company also barbecue restaurant group.It's especially amusing vegetarian. also worked lot nonprofit spaces. worked San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory Music, Creative Commons.Eleni: recently research revealed five common catalysts kind force adults confront personal challenges relating thinking learning differences. one things comes lot seeing others go sort identification process close relatives diagnosed themselves. believe applies story. thought would nice place start. went undiagnosed really long time. could tell us little bit prompted diagnosis.Whitney: know, it's funny daughter diagnosed many years ago. hadn't occurred would applicable me, hadn't really thought it. early 40s, women growing '80s '90s, rare see ADHD diagnosis. so, know, spent whole school career absolutely bare minimum last day project due scraping by. reason never flagged anyone. talking mom years ago, said, "Oh yeah, ADHD." would really helpful know.I started really putting lot pieces together, husband's really addicted TikTok, started sending ADHD TikToks, saying, "Have thought fact might ADHD? everything applicable you." know, talking therapist it, really able highlight ways that, know, career, kind accidentally failed ways, really successful lower-level jobs didn't require lot creative thought. Terrible it. fired multiple times 20s. really hard time finding right fit. then, got complex roles, would really thrive them.And didn't really understand partly, just, that's way brain works. there's challenge, it's easier really well.Eleni: Yeah, love that. actually relates something else hear commonly research. Often, people struggling, people don't recognize that's related thinking learning difference moment. hear, especially late diagnosis, people recognize might going on, start reflect back on, like, childhood past struggles.Whitney: Yeah, absolutely reframed 30-plus years failures had, been, like, "Maybe I'm really bad everything." think one big pieces really helping daughter navigate remote first year college really trying help find tips tricks get ADHD work environment isn't ideal her, made everything click like, "Oh, developed tips tricks years, trying make sure kept job."Eleni: want talk little bit struggles had, particularly around time, said fired jobs might actually relate ADHD?Whitney: ended career path temp. said, "Oh, need pay bills." started temping, turned something really great at, partly new, interesting job every week. ended longer-term role pretty large organization.I temping staff accountant level, working there, CFO whole organization come one day said, "Hey, assistant controller role different division, think would perfect it." job really interesting me. that's really job learned budget. opportunity work president, took time sit say, "I know haven't done before, let's talk think I'm process." little bit like getting learn job opposed taking classes. really interesting role really made feel excited doing. person hired left, lot changes. transitioned slightly different role organization, awful. absolutely one worst jobs I've ever had. really lot kind data entry. miserable would get, less would able motivate it. job boring monotonous, falling behind couldn't motivate work.And ultimately got let go. sort forced say, "OK, wasn't working job?" able really say, "OK, don't want data entry. interesting." previously role organization build budget put together presentations analytics.Eleni: Yeah. Yeah. wanted touch say, know, it's really interesting obviously "worst job" really subjective people. really depends people's, like, preferences strengths. think really interesting you, job, reflected back on, like, wasn't right job you?So wanted talk little bit learned times job really hated, also encouraged keep going figure right environment you.Whitney: Yeah. moved across country take another lower-level job previously doing, actually San Francisco Ballet. boss able really sit say, "Here's make job interesting you." know, really said, "I know you're overqualified this, let's figure get right role moving forward." learned much really helped going next roles.I really tried think areas really make positive difference. Reflecting ways bad fits jobs, think made way better manager people. staff last five years willing follow anywhere. think that's partly reflecting things don't enjoy don't excel really made little bit receptive understanding areas people work don't excel at. talking reorganize team make sure everyone things best fit make less desirable parts job aren't overwhelming. definitely know jobs let go, it's part job doesn't work overwhelming. recognize cycle get overwhelmed something absolutely don't want I'm dreading, fall behind sort spirals and, know, working raw data. day every day, eventually burn out, brain stop caring it.Eleni: Yeah. sou

  • Online bullying is a widespread problem that can happen to anyone. But kids who learn and think differently are more likely to be targets, just like they are with in-person bullying.There are a few reasons for this. Kids with learning and thinking differences may have trouble with social skills and making friends. They may also have low self-esteem. Other kids may see them as “different.” Many kids stay silent about online bullying. They may not know what counts as cyberbullying or how to deal with it when it happens. Kids might also feel that any attention from their peers — even if it’s negative — is better than none. And they don’t want adults to take their devices (or social media accounts) away.Signs of cyberbullying Your child may not tell you about being cyberbullied. Here are some things to watch out for:Your child suddenly stops using their devices for fun things, like playing their favorite game. Your child hides their devices from view and avoids using devices around you.Your child quickly turns off or changes the screen on their device whenever you’re around. Your child seems nervous or jumpy when a text, email, or notification pops up. They may become withdrawn. Your child mentions things like “There’s a lot of drama at school” or “I have no friends.”Your child doesn’t want to go to school or seems uneasy about going. How you can helpOngoing cyberbullying is serious and can harm kids’ mental health. It can put them at risk for anxiety and depression and make it hard to focus at school. If you suspect your child is being bullied online, don’t wait to act. Have a talk: Start the conversation by sharing a childhood bullying incident. Or bring up a recent news story about cyberbullying. Ask your child if they’ve experienced online bullying. Explain that this can include things like someone spreading rumors or creating fake profiles.If they resist, persist: If your child won’t talk about it, or seems to hold back information, don’t let it drop. Calmly say that it’s part of a parent’s job to keep their kids safe. Explain that you’d like to check their devices. You’ll want to look at the browsing history and anything they deleted. Older kids may be resistant to this. Let them know you can look together, and that you’re only looking out for hurtful content. Step in and stop it: If you find out your child is a target of online bullying, you can do a few things to stop it. Have your child let the bullies know that adults are aware of the situation: “My parents bought this phone for me, and they can see everything.”If that doesn’t work and the bullying is intense and frequent, you may need to take one or all of these three steps:Talk to the parents of the kids who are bullying your child. Let them know what’s happening and its effect on your child.Reach out to your child’s school counselor or principal. Every school should have anti-cyberbullying policies and procedures to help.If neither of those strategies works, you may need to get law enforcement involved. Print out or save evidence of the bullying in case you need to show it to the police. Learn more about cyberbullying. Understand the difference between teasing and bullying. And find out what to do if your child is doing the bullying. 

  • How’d You Get THAT Job?!

    Dan Reis was diagnosed with ADHD during the pandemic. Now, he’s made it his mission to explore coping strategies to help him get his work done. Dan Reis product designer e-commerce startup — listener podcast! Like many others, Dan saw coping skills vanish COVID-19 lockdown. led finally getting diagnosed ADHD. Since then, Dan made mission explore different tools build “ADHD toolkit.” trial error, modifies strategies work him. uses tools get work done. self-compassion, routine changes, experimentation, he’s understanding better. And, true many us, knows there’s still long way go. Related resourcesADHD treatment without medication: options? Understood Explains episodeWorkplace supports: Trouble following instructions managing deadlinesThe Pomodoro techniqueEpisode transcriptDan: wife shared comics people made. like, wait, people describing things thought like things. Like things around mood emotion regulation. Things never would thought could ADHD thing. like giant umbrella suddenly struggles thought sort one-offs. turns oh, things kind connected. Eleni: Understood Podcast Network, "How'd Get job?!," podcast explores unique often unexpected career paths people learning thinking differences. name Eleni Matheou I'm user researcher Understood. means spend lot time thinking find jobs love reflect learn are. I'll host. next guest, Dan Reis, listener wrote email Like many others, coping skills built life vanished lockdown. led finally getting diagnosed ADHD. he's made mission learn ADHD himself, build ADHD toolkit. Dan product designer e-commerce startup, uses tools get work done. Welcome show. Dan: Thanks me. Eleni: know wrote in. Tell us found show liked it. Dan: think heard — someone Understood another podcast. can't remember one. might "ADHD reWired." heard podcast, checked out. one things wanting get involved ADHD community general neurodiversity. it's something I've become passionate about. like, find ways make connections? like, reached it? Eleni: Yeah. Well, thank that. It's exciting. So, work product team. I'm sure know that. look user research, work lot product designers. listeners, could tell me, like, product designer different graphic designer? Dan: spent much first half career graphic design. One way think graphic design it's like advertising. I'm senior product designer, another word user experience UX. lot research learning people use software build software use solve problems. Eleni: mentioned started graphic design. made decide make move product design? Dan: Yeah, always fascinated user experience, watching thinking people think use different tools. eventually, think 2016 so, started take courses UX really learned was. one things really radically changed perspective book "The Design Everyday Things." talk things like light switches house there's like sometimes you'll see six light switches there's labels, idea switch does. fascinated me, it's like real-world usability issues experience. Eleni: would say transferable skills are? Dan: biggest ones would listening people. say listening, it's really trying validate think, hear people understand struggles are. It's lot communication language think super, super relevant it, like anything do. like language usage technology way communicate people. Like feeling right now? nervous something? want make sure interface isn't going stress out. lighting bad? Thinking accessibility huge one. Make sure people different types vision read clearly understandings. Eleni: think that, know, learning thinking difference plays that? sounds like there's big empathy piece there. Dan: Absolutely. intention mine think struggles? solve myself? lack working memory advantage. It's like give these, know, follow 10 steps whatever. step 3, suddenly idea I'm doing. Well, I'm going solve that. doesn't make sense me, it's going make sense someone else. thankfully, it's like almost user tester lot ways, usually works makes — works others solve problems I'm going share someone else. Eleni: love that. Like, would say important skills product designer? And, know, personally, would attribute skills ADHD?Dan: anyone industry successful willingness learn. career, deep dives order learn specialize something solve specific problem. time, start collect things, learnings. might need use while. it's always it's great lens. So, started learn accessibility, instance, wasn't always top mind company. advocate it. times top mind make sure something build compliant accessibility. able specialize things come back relearn it. it's like building toolkit skills knowing use like, lean experts. Eleni: know last spoke, mentioned coping mechanisms kind failing pandemic, led diagnosis. share coping mechanisms were, longer working? Dan: Yeah. mindfulness practice like decade now. happened pandemic, added level stress whether watching news time. really stimulating. look back it's like super stimulating watching news breaking news every night. exhausting. super unproductive. time pretty harsh inner dialog. eventually started learn idea possibly could ADHD. eventually saw — wife shared comics people made. like, wait, people describing things thought like things. Like things around mood emotion regulation, things never would thought could ADHD thing. like giant umbrella suddenly struggles had, thought sort one-offs. turns things kind connected. think happening coping mechanisms would try many things. exhausting. difficult get hurdle even like figuring even start process. It's ADHD-friendly process. getting evaluation whole thing. pandemic pushed edge terms struggles. Eleni: Yeah. since diagnosed, learned cope? give us examples coping mechanisms use addresses challenges experiencing? Dan: Self-compassion huge one. you're like harsh yourself, me, it's like I'm struggling something thought, "I shouldn't struggling this." Like work Kristin Neff done around self-compassion learning science self-compassion. believe normal. life spent resisting external accommodations, wasn't even willing want help myself. like able this. sense of — think Jessica McCabe's called internalized ableism. It's like me, it's like I'm struggling something, don't even want help sometimes, especially I'm really struggling it. So, allowing use tools get something done, personally done great job asking accommodations, say, workplace, instance. it's something I'm much comfortable with, I've heard even hearing it's something people struggle means that, OK, uncomfortable, it's worth doing. Eleni: You've mentioned like number different books throughout conversation, sounds like read lot. ways kind

  • Kids who learn and think differently are often the target of bullying. Families and teachers can’t always be there in person to stop it. But there are things you can do to help kids defend themselves. And state laws make schools take action when kids are bullied.The first step is to make sure kids know what bullying is. Bullying is serious, hurtful behavior that happens more than once. It’s done on purpose by someone with power.Kids might have trouble knowing that someone is a bully. Bullies can be charismatic or have friends who encourage their mean behavior. Use the word bullying when you see it happening, so kids have the words to name it.Make sure kids know they won’t get in trouble for sharing bullying experiences with you. If they open up, validate their feelings. Say “Bullying is not OK” and “You don’t deserve this.” Let kids know there are steps you can take to put a stop to it. Partner with teachers, coaches, or other trusted adults to help protect kids from bullying.

  • How’d You Get THAT Job?!

    Rachel Basoco’s two jobs keep things interesting for her ADHD. She works full time at Fidelity, and part time at 11:11 Media, Paris Hilton’s company. Rachel Basoco ADHD, works two different industries. She’s full-time director advancement growth digital communities Fidelity. also works part time 11:11 Media, Paris Hilton’s company, building Web3 community. considers “the finance bro finance bro’s girlfriend.”Having two different jobs makes planning workday easier Rachel. flexible schedule, pivoting one project another brain gets bored. positions, works passion: fostering community.Listen week’s episode hear Rachel developed community among Latina business owners. Plus, gather advice self-advocating managers.Related resourcesADHD boredomWorkplace accommodations fact sheetA day life employee ADHDEpisode transcriptRachel: stayed one place one time bored, would picked skill set today.Eleni: Understood Podcast Network, "How'd Get Job?!," podcast explores unique often unexpected career paths people learning thinking differences. name Eleni Matheou I'm user researcher Understood. means spend lot time thinking find jobs love reflect learn are. I'll host.Rachel Basoco next guest. Rachel ADHD. passion community building, two jobs two different industries. She's full-time director Advancement Growth Digital Communities Fidelity, financial company. also works part-time 11:11 Media, Paris Hilton's company, working building Web3 community. Rachel diagnosed ADHD last two years. reflect together past experiences shaped self-image things like boredom taught pay attention ignites her, also guided seek supports positions make shine. Let's hear builds work work her. Super excited show, Rachel.Rachel: know. Yay. Exciting talk way.Eleni: know. actually haven't talked much work, funny. feel like bunch friends New York City where, like, literally took year even find day job was.Rachel: Yeah.Eleni: there's many things talk about. So, exciting. Rachel friend New York City. know overlapping communities, feel like it's appropriate we're going talk community community building conversation. know, know you're two jobs moment, maybe could tell us little bit them.Rachel: Yeah, definitely. Exactly said, work two jobs, I'm always kind picking jobs there. mean, think way brain works. something's exciting new, do? jump in? need structure life. So, work two roles.My full-time role Fidelity. director Advancement Growth Digital Communities there, extensively helping build digital peer-to-peer space community financial wealth advisors, kind creating space find sense belonging amongst one another digital space. really isn't something like size we're looking build it.And part-time, every week go I've building digital presence digital community Paris Hilton. So, web3 community manager there, really kind maintaining community Discord, working VP Growth design really we're moving Paris Hilton audience. so, two roles have. kind joke, I'm finance boyfriend finance boyfriend's girlfriend.Eleni: love that.Rachel: like day, I'm calls talking market capital gains. afternoons I'm talking about, know, simple life glitter and, know, unicorns rainbows. so, really love kind duality day jobs.Eleni: Yeah, really polar opposite. It's great. love it. would love hear little bit like setup, know, works you. Like, like it? Like, relate like brain works?Rachel: Definitely. mean, think something that's really super helpful roles I've like massive over-communication managers, like boundaries place. Like don't calls 9 a.m. night owl need night owl need able work kind like way work, sometimes day might look like paper, like people do, like 8 5 9 5, know, right? can't work way. need take breaks. need moments it's, stop I'm focus something else come back it, it's exciting get bored quickly.So, know, typical day way I've structured might look like, hey, two three meetings, rest day like open space actually block calendar like focus time. get decide, focus time used Paris project Fidelity project? really depends priorities, allows kind go back forth without getting bored one them.Oftentimes find I've bored certain task, like can't focus. I'm logged like brain. might logged like green computer, right? putting best energy. I'm putting best effort. can't productive I'd like be. so, it's honestly strange like "Hi Rachel brain, productive actually need to, like, stop things boring something else that's exciting." so, it's really nice kind make balance.Eleni: take time figure kind work situation works best you? Like, led that? Rachel: think, yes. mean, honestly, I'm thinking about, like past roles losing mind boredom, nothing exciting, nothing new. like sitting room, like office like 8 5, then, like, everyone would leave, I'd like didn't get anything done today. ultimately ended happening like, bored job, like making like started building company side. so, like, ended building first online marketplace made Latinas.Eleni: That's amazing.Rachel: like, "I'm bored like, hate..." used work fashion "I like, hate I'm right now. Like, I'd really love create online community space people buy things made Latinas, talk mean Latina in-person events."And honestly, got community bored job needed creative outlet needed something else do. telling you, like don't structure, don't two things do, brain it. It'll like start...Eleni: Create something else.Rachel: like, "Let's something else. Let's try something else."Eleni: Yeah. wondering, like, tools strategies kind needed day day support challenges maybe need less found like environment?Rachel: Yeah, mean, definitely think like work later afternoons evenings week. so, think work-from-home work flexible work schedule helpful that, allows tap like productive, creative, focused times. Like, honestly, like hours 7 p.m. like 11 p.m., I'm probably focused day. yeah, could like sit like hammer like lot, like super focused.But hours probably 2 p.m. 4 p.m., I'm always like, "I'm useless right now." Like there's much like, jump-start unless it's something that's new exciting kind create a, again, faux excitement around it. tools resources really like a) learning structure day works me, productive. b) also able communicate team managers people work firm boundaries, think took figure out.I mean, wasn't diagnosed ADHD year half ago, two years ago. so, didn't know. thought like, "There's something wrong me. can't like everybody else?" it's actually not, like can, needs structure format.Eleni: Yeah. Yeah. diagnosis changed way perceive challenges?Rachel: Yeah, think oftentimes kid, especially young girl looking back, it's like obviously, ADHD, you're Chatty Cathy, like book like first grade, talking book, talked turn, teacher like, write thing come back home this, like talking book like, "Rachel talks much class. Rachel does, know...." know, like was, yeah, like wasn't, know, think diagnosis young boys young girls different.And ou

  • Kids who learn and think differently are often the targets of bullying. But for kids with ADHD, it can be even worse. One reason is that some ADHD symptoms and behaviors are very noticeable. They set kids with ADHD apart, which gives bullies more power. Bullying isn’t just physical. It can be verbal, too. It also doesn’t have to take place in person. Kids can be bullied online, via text, and on social media. Being mean and excluding kids can also be types of bullying. Understanding why kids with ADHD are more likely to be bullied can help you troubleshoot problems and teach kids strategies and skills. Here are five reasons ADHD can make kids stand out to potential bullies.1. Trouble following social rulesKids with ADHD can have a hard time learning and following social rules. And they may not remember the rules in the moment when they’re interacting with others. Trouble with executive function makes it tough to keep track of the dos and don’ts in social settings. Many kids with ADHD struggle to pick up on social cues like body language. So, they may not realize how people are responding to what they’re saying or doing, or what the situation is when they start interacting. 2. ImpulsivityImpulsivity, a key symptom of ADHD, can create a lot of problems for kids with ADHD. They may interrupt a lot, overshare, or accidentally be rude. They can also play too roughly, grab items from people, and do or say things without thinking. All of these impulsive behaviors can lead to kids with ADHD being picked on. 3. Trouble managing emotionsTrouble managing emotions is another aspect of ADHD that can make kids stand out. It leads to behavior that can make kids easy targets for bullying. Kids with ADHD can get fired up fast and struggle to keep their emotions in check. They might get angry over small things and not let it go. Or get overexcited or cry easily and often. And if other kids respond, they may overreact to that, too.4. HyperfocusHyperfocus is a part of ADHD that many people don’t understand. But kids with ADHD often get so focused on things they find interesting or fun that they can’t pull themselves away or stop thinking about it. So, a child might keep repeating the same thing during a conversation. Or stay on a topic for too long when the conversation has moved on. They might continue to do a classroom activity that they really enjoy, even though the class is doing something else.5. Low self-esteemSome kids with ADHD have a hard time with academics. Seeing their classmates learn the material more easily can impact their self-esteem. That lack of confidence can make kids more likely to be picked on and less likely to stand up for themselves.Many kids with ADHD get a lot more negative feedback at home, at school, and in social situations than their peers. That can also lower their self-esteem and make them feel unsure of themselves. Bullying comes down to an imbalance of power. The more you know about it, the better equipped you’ll be to stop it and help kids cope with it. Get the facts about bullying. Learn the difference between bullying and teasing. And find out how to give praise that builds self-esteem.

  • How’d You Get THAT Job?!

    Claire Odom is a psychotherapist with ADHD. She’s also a disability inclusion consultant who has advice on navigating the workplace. Claire Odom always worked disability inclusion world, even knew ADHD. related little bit much everyone’s answers ADHD focus group, knew time get evaluated. Now, Claire psychotherapist private practice embraces neurodiversity. She’s also disability inclusion consultant Understood’s Workplace team, focuses building stronger, equitable, inclusive work environments. Listen week’s episode How’d Get Job?! advice navigate workplace learning thinking differences.Related resourcesUnderstood’s Workplace resourcesAccommodations: work32 examples workplace accommodationsWhat Americans Disabilities Act (ADA)?Episode transcriptClaire: entitled reasonable accommodation, you're entitled supports workplace accommodate disability learning thinking difference. I'm asking special treatment. I'm asking I'm owed, I'm due.Eleni: Understood Podcast Network, "How'd Get Job?," podcast explores unique often unexpected career paths people learning thinking differences. name Eleni Matheou I'm user researcher Understood. means spend lot time thinking find jobs love reflect learn are. I'll host.My next guest actually part Understood family. Claire Odom disability advocate works Workplace team Understood. already working disability inclusion world discovered ADHD, since delved even space. She's also therapist private practice, working predominantly neurodiverse folks. episode, shares two roles contributing towards creating functional, inclusive, enjoyable workplaces people disabilities, particularly learning thinking differences. Welcome show, Claire.Claire: Thanks much me, Eleni.Eleni: So, full-time Understood. you're still around consultant. I'm curious hear you're you're moment.Claire: disability inclusion consultant Understood, working lot different workplace programs, particular supporting training efforts disability inclusion assessment efforts work companies help become inclusive people disabilities learning thinking differences possibly can.And hat psychotherapist working people ages needs demographics, particular emphasis people disabilities, people neurodiversity — neurodivergent folks — Hudson Valley.Eleni: know work Understood is, know, kind like little bit hands-on assessments organizations that, know, interested taking next step terms disability initiatives. And, know, might like audit what's existing practices things going. things look like like good kind functioning, inclusive workplace? Like actually look like?Claire: interesting question. often part of, know, working Understood, don't know till get there, right? think, know, pretty much organization would benefit lot intentional thinking inclusion.But employee, think would look flexibility, right? understanding lots different pathways goal pathways equally, know, useful valid whatever else. also think one thing really, really notice organization offer accommodations full-throatedly start engagement, even application process? It's big sign people, think, it's something really indicates way thinking disability workplace closely related action. think powerful good sign.Eleni: biggest gaps see? Like, early kind engagement? areas?Claire: It's changing much. think first started world, biggest gap talking all. Nobody talked disability workplace setting except kind activists space. it's really encouraging see much conversation advanced grown past, like 20 years.One biggest gaps see lot people see word "accommodation" think themselves, "Eww, that's expensive." there's kind immediate fear opening conversation, maybe? think drum beat inexpensive, easy implement, available many accommodations are.And could simple as, know, quick thing sort overlay existing systems. screen reader gets added, know variety different disabilities, learning thinking differences could helpful. adding closed captioning meetings. someone ADHD, closed caption meeting difference paying attention not. So, think beginnings accommodations conversation, think there's gap people educated know we're actually talking talk accommodations, it's pretty quick close.Eleni: Yeah. know one piece research think worked together teams worked together back 2020. was, know, notion building trust comfort, like direct manager, actually like really important element terms like able conversation about, like, needs challenges and, like, potentially accommodations.I guess without giving away, like, whole training, like, one thing would want managers know about? Like inclusive accommodating people learning thinking differences?Claire: think powerful thing manager one, know organization's accommodations policy is, two, feel comfortable talking disability accommodations workplace — knowing say, knowing can't say, feeling ready conversation. it's going come up, right? People going come say, "Hey, can't X, Y, Z condition," right? Like, going situations disability going enter role manager. knowing facts think hugely important.Eleni: yeah, let's look jobs. also work licensed psychotherapist, working neurodiverse folks. imagine show work probably comes lot conversations. I'm interested like apply workplace expertise one-on-one work.Claire: Yeah. It's — it's interesting able draw world experience well. think different kind setup: psychotherapy versus, know, going work every day. think again, concept accommodations something that's relevant work.Now ask new clients sensory issues aware start work together. ask every new client need sort accommodation. know, people say things really interesting creative surprising when, know, kind open safe conversation talk about, hey, sensory stuff really bugs out? would really detrimental daily regular conversations going on?So yeah, huge, huge bucket sensory toys fidgets always ready, several clients able better talk tough stuff fidget spinner puppet, one like sequins, flip sequins back forth. Pieces cloth. Yeah.Eleni: pillow like that. popular friends come over. never really made connection. you're right. It's particularly popular neurodiverse friends.Claire: Definitely.Eleni: They'll sitting whole night, just, like, that.Claire: soothing feeling, back forth, it's smooth sides. — satisfying.Eleni: That's funny. Wow. Yeah. I'm making connection now.I mean, don't know average age people work with, provide advice like might talk managers about, know, work style challenges, like, said, sensitivities?Claire: Well, work people across life course. youngest client's 4, oldest client's 70. it's really everybody welcome. yeah, absolutely. would, mean, think would help client prepare difficult conversation stressful conversation within scope treatment together. think especially helping folks barriers neurotypical communication styles, instance, like really spending time help people practice would say. And, know, effective communication skills definitely part world work do. Even like scripting people, know. Would like sit together script would say manager,

  • Kids who learn and think differently are often bullied. But they sometimes do the bullying, too. Hearing that your child is bullying others can be really upsetting. But there’s a lot parents can do to help.All kids do things that might seem like bullying sometimes. An episode or two of excluding, picking on, or being mean to other kids doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a larger problem. But if your child is repeatedly doing these things, or being physically or verbally abusive, it’s time to act. Kids with differences might bully because they:Feel the need to gain control. Are being bullied themselves. Have trouble managing emotions. Struggle with social skills. Feel frustrated and powerless over challenges.Even if there are reasons for the behavior, bullying is never OK. Kids need to know that when they’re mean or threatening to other kids, they’re being a bully. Teaching kids to manage their emotions and actions is a step toward stopping bullying in its tracks. Here’s how.Make sure your child knows what bullying is.Don’t assume your child knows what counts as bullying. Kids who learn and think differently may misread situations or not realize how their actions are impacting others. For example, a child with ADHD might not know when teasing becomes bullying. You may need to explain that it crosses the line when it’s a pattern of unwelcome behavior and the other person tells you to stop or acts like they don’t like it.Be clear that you’re not OK with bullying.Tell your child that you don’t think it’s funny, cool, or acceptable to hurt others or make them feel bad. That goes for siblings as well as peers. If your child’s school has anti-bullying policies, review them with your child. This can help your child understand that there are rules in place and expectations in other places besides home.Calmly talk through bullying incidents.What did you do?Why was that a bad choice?Who did your actions hurt?What were you trying to achieve?Next time, how can you achieve that goal without hurting other people?Don’t let bullying slide.You may not think these incidents are that serious. But your child needs to know that bullying isn’t allowed and there will be negative consequences. No matter what, your child should apologize to the victim. Then, your child might lose a privilege. That might be TV or cell phone privileges or missing a favorite activity. Stay on top of your child’s behavior.Who does your child hang out with? How does your child spend their time? What does your child do online? Try to monitor how your child acts in different areas of their life. Call out bullying behaviors as soon as you notice them. This helps kids begin to understand more fully what is and isn’t acceptable.Get others on board.Talk with your child’s school and the adults in charge of outside activities. See if you can get everyone on the same page when it comes to expectations. And find out if they can help your child work on developing better social and problem-solving skills. If they’ve had success in stopping bullying with other kids, they may have other good advice.Learn more:The difference between teasing and bullying ADHD and bullying Bullying fact sheet 

  • In It

    Self-advocacy is important for thriving in school, at work, and in life. So how do we help kids build their self-advocacy muscles? Self-advocacy ability communicate needs. It’s important thriving school, work, life. it’s something comes naturally kids — even adults. help kids build self-advocacy muscles?In episode, hosts Rachel Bozek Gretchen Vierstra talk self-advocacy Melody Maitland, director student services former special education teacher. Melody believes kids deserve seat table IEP 504 plan meetings, prepare self-advocacy skills.Hear helps kids learn speak themselves, starting self-awareness. Get tips building child’s self-advocacy skills home. learn adults often biggest obstacles kids learning self-advocate.Related resourcesWhat self-advocacy? Download: Self-awareness worksheets kidsCan ask self-advocacy IEP goals child? Episode transcriptGretchen: Understood Podcast Network, "In It," podcast ins outs...Rachel: ...the ups downs...Gretchen: ...of supporting kids learn think differently. I'm Gretchen Vierstra, former classroom teacher editor Understood.Rachel: I'm Rachel Bozek, writer editor raising two kids ADHD. Today, we're talking help kids learn think differently become powerful self-advocates.Gretchen: guest conversation Melody Maitland. Melody director student services Capital City Public Charter School Washington, DC. She's also worked classroom special education teacher.Rachel: wanted talk Melody much work revolves around idea middle high school students deserve seat table IEP 504 meetings.Gretchen: Melody strongly believes that's great place kids start building self-advocacy skills.Rachel: We're delighted us today. Melody, welcome "In It."Melody: Thank much me.Gretchen: know, asked come talk us today we're interested learning self-advocacy comes students learn think differently. think need start definition first. exactly mean self-advocacy? I'm pretty sure we're talking writing, know, congressperson letters editor, right?Melody: essentially say self-advocacy, we're talking students able speak needs, especially students, able articulate preferences overall able speak themselves.Rachel: Melody, know role director student services, you've worked hard make sure there's seat table students comes IEP meetings, 504 meetings, kind thing. important starting point comes student self-advocacy?Melody: Yeah, least experience, students room decisions made them, don't really meaningful opportunity advocate themselves. really feel like, like build skills across reading, writing, math, also directly explicitly teach skills area advocacy.So looks like practice preparing students meaningfully participate meetings. understand plans, able advocate things directly classroom, hallway, extracurricular activities, beyond.Rachel: So, say prepare student meeting like that, I'm kind asking right meeting kind like coming 504 conversation middle school. pretty nose. mean preparing student?Melody: Yeah. me, first thing know advocacy it's individualized. always start self-awareness. student I'm working know interests, needs, strengths, challenge areas? know 504 plan IEP is? know plan — diagnosis, differing ability, disability, whatever call it. really engaging conversations, tends culture nicety like don't want tell don't want feel bad.But so, create stigma talking it, right? silence speaks volumes view differing abilities. starts self-awareness. really comes communication piece supporting able communicate needs strengths challenge areas.Gretchen: first start involving kids school-based conversations? mean, start really young kids? OK?Melody: believe so. mean, everything's developmental appropriateness, right, depending student's age, also level comfortability certain conversations. mean, parents play huge role. know child. They're experts them, feel comfortable with. that's partnership school parents, right?If it's not, I've seen happen school specific definition advocacy, prepared child way show meeting. parent comes look like, going here? one told student's going here. wanted conversation child specific area. partnership really critical.Gretchen: good point. It's sort like, know, teachers tell parents like page. I'm talking classroom talking home we're speaking common language nobody's wondering one talking about.I question this. school isn't set way, right? there's never kids attend meetings it's way all. is... You, parent wants kid skills — make happen? you, know, without disrupting system school? mean, tips that?Melody: Well, first, think disrupt systems school.Gretchen: OK.Melody: Right? Like, would hope comes side school, sometimes that's always case. parent, it's perfectly right within rights parent say "My child included meeting." Right? might make people feel comfortable. — way explain it, I've settings students never part meetings. huge shift, especially adults.And way explain is: Let's say struggling work. challenges. need support specific challenges. group people meet put together supports accommodations going support me. I'm going work every day, things imposed me. I'm really confused boss sudden? so-and-so, know, interacting way? don't think would necessarily support growth adult.Now, you're kid people like, "Oh, well, you're going small group you're going get extended time." really confusing that's happening. cause lot potential externalizing behaviors, disruptions. lack information — right? — people create narratives.So narrative child creating we're actually transparent why? Kids handle hard stuff. Sometimes don't feel like adults can, that's do. disrupting system, like kind marginalized identity, required.Gretchen: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.Rachel: Yeah. really hits home I'm, mentioned, know, process basically reviewing middle-schooler's 504 it's little bit — feels little stale. I've kind signing go along. reached school recently say, like, think meet kind take look needs freshened little.And thinking like, oh, well, maybe child meeting. like, don't think that's usually meetings work. kind like, oh well, OK. I'm like, well, maybe he's going come meeting.Gretchen: need system disruptor.Rachel: Maybe. maybe they're like, "Why doesn't anybody ask kid come?"Gretchen: Right.Rachel: know, actually found teachers super responsive open kinds conversations. lot times I'm like, well, it's probably easier he's there. that's really helping him.Melody: Yeah, also find kids really experts themselves. might put supports place say, actually, one thing need that's going make difference. don't invest much energy things working.Gretchen: True. another question related this, it's interesting me. gets tricky, think. know families, especially maybe families moved countries aren't familiar U.S. school system, idea advocating speaking child come meeting say "I d

  • Cyberbullying is the use of digital communication tools (like the internet and cell phones) to make another person feel angry, sad, or scared. Online bullying is like in-person bullying in two key ways. It’s done on purpose. And it tends to happen more than once. Examples of cyberbullying include:Sending hurtful texts or instant messagesPosting embarrassing photos or videos on social mediaSpreading mean rumors online or with cell phonesIf you’re trying to figure out whether your child is being cyberbullied, think about whether the hurtful behavior is intentional and repeated. If the answer is no, the offender might simply need to learn better online manners. If the answer is yes, take it seriously.

  • How’d You Get THAT Job?!

    Kellie Williams is an engineer with ADHD. Hear about the obstacles she’s faced in this male-dominated field, and how she came to thrive. female engineer ADHD, Kellie Williams breaking ground male-dominated field. She’s thriving now, path wasn’t easy. She’s faced harassment dealt obstacles like ill-fitting equipment made men. Hear experience. find tools accommodations uses work ADHD.Listen episode. Then:Download graphic leaders fields science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) learn think differently.Read professor helping aspiring engineers ADHD.Learn eight women made difference kids learn think differently. Episode transcriptEleni: Understood Podcast Network, "How'd Get Job?!," podcast explores unique often unexpected career paths people learning thinking differences. name Eleni Matheou, I'm user researcher Understood. means spend lot time thinking find jobs love reflect learn are. I'll host.So, I'm excited introduce Kellie. Kellie engineer ADHD working sustainability, she's also one closest friends. met shortly us moved New York City, four bit years ago stage. she's one first people really open differences, impact day day, like also best support understand her. So, thought would really great show learn more.So, let's start landed career today.Kellie: Yeah. So, I'm mechanical engineer. I've done lot different types jobs. I've worked building design. worked design security equipment world's largest prison equipment company. I've directed energy sustainability department Texas' largest school district. I've done energy consulting, construction commissioning, work New York City utility company strategic planner energy efficiency department.Eleni: Wow. lot. So, Kellie, mentioned sustainability engineer. mean?Kellie: Sustainability engineering, energy engineering — could something developing clean energy technologies improve efficiency existing equipment buildings, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or, context, work building spaces. I'm looking lights, equipment keeps buildings cool dry, programming goes behind scenes. get operate way reduces energy needed run building? way reduces greenhouse gas emissions. side, upstream, looking like, solar wind, renewables, benefit environment?So, terms sustainability, today, it's really environmental impact. reduce it? there's lot different ways that.Eleni: So, like, like you've landed moment?Kellie: really like get choose hone it's contributing larger goal, climate mitigation I'm personally interested interested since kid.Eleni: Yeah. So, makes passionate climate issues?Kellie: don't know begin. Climate issues — it's existential threat solve for. think family, nieces, know, world they're going inherit us.This deep question, we're facing existential threat. me, it's personal biggest priority. It's almost like someone says, "Who you?" I, this? think climate mitigation something important. impacts everything. impacts economy, quality air water, ecosystem. touches many things. It's important it's thing really focus on. It's thing continue chase solving problem. inherent interest helping it, maybe it's partially related empathetic. don't like see communities suffer climate change animals displaced or, like, going extinct.It's really sad. know, think good stewards earth resources environment. So, want see that. want part something contributing make things better. that's I'm really interested climate. Eleni: It's so, important. interest influenced, like, earlier decisions made career?Kellie: graduated college recession. lot options. that's landed prison equipment company job. wasn't feel-good, fuzzy job imagined doing. made realize pursue passion dreaded coming office every single day.And eventually found one really hit spot energy efficiency energy management. hit stride, career grew rapidly motivated. twenties, manager, young manager. total go-getter, much energy, felt like nothing could stop me.Eleni: mentioned, like, it's really important something you're really passionate about. would love know relates ADHD. We've heard lot people talk motivation, would like hear unique experience that.Kellie: me, I'm something contributing large goal feels worthwhile, like purpose, don't see point all.So know lot jobs they're really important, me, feel like need needed order keep going. Otherwise lose motivation feels pointless, struggle continue type work.Eleni: Totally.Kellie: find something really like, I've tried find way hyperfocus way beneficial me, I've hyperfocused ways harmful.So, really disciplined set structure think: "What contributing to? question needs asked now? going worthwhile exploration?" it's "yes," it's "yes, now," like near term, usually follow that. pretty beneficial.Sometimes looks like coming really innovative ideas collaborative ideas thinking fly. So, ADHD, me, manifests racing questions, sometimes get caught wrong question. sometimes it's right question, obscure question, get chase that, that's like chasing white rabbit, leads really cool solution sometimes.Eleni: also see how, you're chasing wrong thing, also challenge.Kellie: It's horrible, disastrous.Eleni: think that's really good segue hear maybe challenges face ADHD, perhaps lead-up to, like, becoming engineer. also — actually, let's stop there.Kellie: OK. So, actually took notes knew going forget. meta thing right put, like, what's challenges, so, OK. Remembering things, um, especially I'm pressure. test anxiety like nobody's business. I've blanked simplest things, even formulas like Pythagorean theorem, simple engineer; learn middle school.So challenges gaining enough confidence believe answers need them, took lot exercise practice and, like, cheesy affirmations. So, went things help test anxiety. So, got well making good grades, helped. actually, challenging this? undiagnosed sophomore year, boyfriend time, actually ADHD coach — Eleni: Oh, wow. didn't know that.Kellie: said, "Kellie, think might want get diagnosed. see you're really struggling." got diagnosed actually thought — much self-doubt. even smart enough pursue engineering? much, like, imposter syndrome, like, you? There's no — you've never even met engineer. going engineer? don't even know do. don't even know look like, act, nothing. model this.So, got tested said, actually like above-average IQ. was, like, what? Who, me? I'm smart? sure? got scores mixed up. gave tools medication, completely changed everything. much easier study. tools needed order get degree.It took six years. worked full time, semesters, really challenging. made it, it, one biggest accomplishments life.Eleni: So, mentioned tools. want talk little bit tools came discovered them?Kellie: Yes. Trial error came learn works me. unfortunate part finally figured best study strategy final semester college.Eleni: Six years later.Kellie: Six years later. good thing able use rest career. didn't study hard put time figuring lea

  • One day at school, my youngest son Benjamin, who has ADHD, saw another student being bullied. Benjamin has two older brothers — both of whom have experienced bullying. One brother has serious developmental and learning differences, but never gives up. He even was part of the Special Olympics a few years ago. The other brother is an incredibly gifted but quiet kid who has trouble with social situations.When Benjamin saw the bullying in his school hallway, he remembered everything his brothers had gone through. So Benjamin went right over to the bully and told him to stop — and the bully did! As a mom, I’m proud of all my sons. They’ve all taken on challenges with grace. But what Benjamin did was special because I know how much he cares about his brothers and our family.— Sarah P.Sarah is a mother of three children with learning and thinking differences.Learn steps to take if you suspect bullying at school. Read how to help your child defend against bullies. And find out what one mom did when she found out her daughter was being bullied by mean girls because of her learning differences.

  • In It

    Teacher Kara Ball shares what school was like for her as a student with dyslexia and dyscalculia, and how that experience shapes her work today.know amazing teacher huge impact kids. impact even greater teacher learns thinks differently, too?In episode, hosts Amanda Morin Gretchen Vierstra talk Kara Ball, teacher who’s “in it.” Kara shares school like student dyslexia dyscalculia, interactions teachers shaped experience student. Listen learn Kara’s learning differences impact teaches — especially engages students.Related resourcesWhat dyslexia?What dyscalculia? Understanding IEPsEpisode transcriptAmanda: Hi, I'm Amanda Morin. I'm director thought leadership I'm also parent kids learn differently. "In It." "In It" podcast Understood Podcast Network. show, talk parents, caregivers, teachers, experts, sometimes even kids. We're going offer perspective advice, stories for, from, people challenges reading, focus, learning differences. excited joined co-host, Gretchen Vierstra. Gretchen, want introduce yourself?Gretchen: Sure. Hi everyone. I'm Gretchen, work Understood Amanda editor, I'm former classroom teacher. gosh, teaching, wish known everything know Understood. I'm also mom two, Amanda talk kids time. I'm happy podcast you, Amanda. Amanda: excited you're me, Gretchen. I'm really excited first episode season.Gretchen: Amanda thinking lot big transition right many kids parents heading back school — like real physical building — year remote.Amanda: mean, one hand, let's real. Many us excited get kids house. hand, past months, may learned things didn't know kids students, may little worried kids' teachers aren't going get them.Gretchen: That's wanted talk Kara Ball. Kara elementary school teacher Maryland. She's science stem education specialist. 2018, National Teacher Year finalist.Amanda: wanted talk Kara she's great teacher, also she's someone learns thinks differently. dyslexia dyscalculia, make number-related tasks difficult. brings perspective classroom beautiful way. Gretchen: started asking wanted become teacher.Kara: Yeah. one people always known they've wanted teacher. first recollection basement childhood home, grandmother, teacher, gave one classroom-in-a-kit boxes, would come chalkboard stickers red pen — basically everything needed teacher.And would spend every summer basement childhood home, hoarding handouts worksheets teachers would give us use classroom students — class three: baby sister, baby brother, father far, challenging student I've ever teacher — would learn things learned school. absolutely loved classroom, difficult time student classrooms schools attended. I wasn't diagnosed third grade dyslexia, made way sixth grade identified dyscalculia. reading really challenging. Math really challenging. School whole seemed impossible. growing up, special education services much something the, like, classroom back building, sight, mind. dad also dyslexic, want experience type education.And lucky enough grandmother teacher, dad also identified like someone dyslexic, advocated behalf able inclusion model education received services classroom, pulled able get supports needed, kind unheard time. mean, late eighties, early nineties school. But even advocates, didn't change went day day, school day, trying to — remember choral reading would get book would like read loud certain passage. would spend entire like period listening comprehending everything else read, trying figure read little paragraph got me, knew going stumble. going make mistake. stress-inducing would, kid asked bathroom pass. Anytime read anything, lied. like, gotta go. Like get out, didn't want anybody know difficult keep up.Gretchen: First all, story incredible. Going way back basement little red kit — know red kit, kids play red kit, think. least used to, anymore. tell us little bit got diagnosed? happened felt you?Kara: Yeah. Miss Liddy. photographic memory, pretty much able memorize books classroom library. one caught it, third grade, couldn't read. parents read me. books home. went public library. twice hard learn read, hold words.And first teacher started small guided reading groups me, bringing books didn't access classroom library couldn't listen peer read memorize assessed it.Gretchen: cover blown, right? Kara: Exactly. cover blown like, "Hey, might why, know, writing print. might inverses, know, speech sometimes." Like knew. Amanda: moments teacher intervenes important. takes someone like Miss Liddy, who's really paying attention, who's picking cues making assumptions student isn't performing well. know, reminds Benjamin, son, chance talk Kara webinar did. talked fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Sloteman, realized Benjamin actually paid attention better doodling time listening. Benjamin thought cool Mr. Sloteman made sure teachers knew too, could get better understanding Benjamin.Gretchen: love hearing stories like that. love teacher really notices something student pivots makes difference. fact, happened Kara lot. great teachers really impacted learning positive way. also cases negative interactions.Kara: my, know, K 12 years, felt like dumbest person ever. bad word is, word would chose it's heard. It's people said me, even teachers who, know, thought couldn't hear saying were, know, two feet way, would talk terms things couldn't rather could do.When hit ninth grade, encountered science teacher would ultimately reason became STEM education teacher. Mr. Dalton somebody who, whatever reason, looked less C average student IEP said, let's give shot. enrolled first ever honors science class.And still talk Mr. Dalton today. second person told named State Teacher Year. moment time, thought wasn't good student. really interesting high school, managed amazing experience Mr. Dalton, got science, simultaneously 10th-grade math teacher tell front class stupid never going amount anything. It still hurts heart today think felt moment. left class. never rule breaker. never walked out. walked classroom. walked classroom walked Mr. Dalton's classroom, safe space. teacher knew beyond showed paper. didn't Mr. Dalton, didn't grandma, didn't parents, could day dropped out.I 10th-grade student didn't great grades, didn't think going go college, basement dream becoming teacher. everybody else one person saying wasn't possible. didn't. didn't drop out.Gretchen: Kara, diagnosed then, change perspective learning? Kara: didn't. Like knew label. never really saw IEP paperwork child. wasn't really meetings. kind either calculator didn't calculator. either got go private room didn't go private room.And that's one things work students on:

  • Like other parents, I’ve heard stories about mean kids. I’ve watched television interviews of parents who have tears in their eyes as they talk about hazing. But bullying is something I never thought would happen to my child — until it did.Our daughter is 12 and in sixth grade, and she’s an amazing child. Funny, loving, kind, sweet, and smart. She makes me laugh every day, and she hugs our family about 10 times a day. She ends every phone call with an “I love you.”She also struggles with executive function. She started showing signs of these issues in early grade school. We noticed she was disorganized and had trouble following multi-step directions.She also has a hard time understanding social cues. Sometimes she talks out of turn, or doesn’t know what to say or do in a social situation. And because she’s so caring about others, she can be very sensitive and emotional. All of this makes her feel a lot of anxiety in school.Thankfully, she had excellent teachers in grade school. Together with the school, we worked on her organization skills and helped her create schedules to manage her time. We also talked with her about her anxiety and helped her learn strategies to be calm in different situations.All of our work paid off as our daughter entered fourth and fifth grade. She was way more organized and getting good grades in school. Socially, she had many great friends. She played two sports — tennis and swimming — and hung out with her teammates a lot.But as she entered sixth grade, we started to notice slight changes in her personality. She was a bit more distracted. It seemed like she was thinking of something else all the time. She started making excuses for missing team outings. And she’d ask me odd, out-of-the-blue questions like, “If I said X to my friend, we’d be good, right?”Then one day she asked me to drive her to school, instead of carpooling with her friends. As we drove, she asked if I could drive her tomorrow, and the next day. That’s when I stopped the car and asked her what was going on.At first she was too embarrassed to talk. “I don’t want you and Dad to feel sorry for me,” she said. But I kept pressing her. Once she started talking, it all came out.It turns out that one of her sports “friends,” whom she’d known for years, decided that our daughter was “dumb.” This girl made digs at her like “You’re not the smartest one, are you?” Or “You play tennis, but you’re not even good at that.”Our daughter said it started out as honest teasing. She tried to laugh it off, but it kept happening and got worse.Led by this mean girl, the group started to prank our daughter. Once, when our daughter sat down at lunch, everyone stood up and walked away. Another time, the girl commanded her, “Do this or I won’t talk to you again.”Our daughter tried to talk to this girl to ask what she did wrong. “We’re just teasing you!” the girl told her. Telling me this, my daughter was almost crying.I was shocked. We had known these kids and their families for years.What made it tougher was that the kids were sometimes nice to my daughter. And when they did bully her, it was often subtle. It wasn’t like the mean texts and tweets you sometimes see on social media. Sometimes, our daughter said, the bullying would stop for days, only to start up again later.Our daughter didn’t understand why this was happening. My husband and I decided we needed to talk it out with her. We told her it was hard to know what was going through the girl’s head.Maybe she was jealous of our daughter’s sports success or good grades. Maybe she saw our daughter as “easy prey” because of her learning and social issues. This could be a power play, we said to our daughter. No matter what the reason, we told her, “This is wrong and it’s not your fault.” There’s a lot more going on here than “teasing” or the girl’s “bad mood.”At first, we wanted to confront the girl’s parents. But our daughter asked us not to, so we didn’t.We knew the girl’s parents were very hands-off. We also suspected they would blow off the bullying as “teasing.” And if the girls in the group found out our daughter “tattled” on them, things might have gotten even worse for our daughter.So instead we decided to try to handle it on our own. We taught our daughter strategies to deal with the mean girls. We role-played different situations, and what to say when the lead girl made insensitive comments to her. We practiced how our daughter could react if the group started picking on her. It was like a sports team for social skills — we coached her every day, reviewing what to do and not to do.We also knew this group of girls wasn’t good for our daughter. We limited the amount of time she spent with them and encouraged her to make other friends. That helped, too. Slowly, our daughter made new friends and learned how to manage the social stress from the group of mean girl “friends.” She also learned a harsh lesson about how people can act in hurtful ways. It’s a lesson we wish she could have avoided. But we’re stronger from going through it.Read more about the difference between teasing and bullying. See signs of bullying in middle school. And get tips to help your child deal with cliques, along with step-by-step advice on what to do if you suspect your child is being harassed or bullied at school.Any opinions, views, information, and other content contained in blogs on are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions, or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.

  • In It

    Starting a new school year can be overwhelming, especially for kids who learn and think differently. Get tips for making it more manageable. For many families, the new school year brings a real mixed bag of emotions. There’s the excitement of a fresh start combined with jitters about all of the unknowns. For families of kids who learn and think differently, there may be IEPs or 504 plans, and new teachers to connect with about all these things. It’s a lot to think about — and to navigate.In this episode, hosts Gretchen Vierstra and Rachel Bozek talk with returning guest DeJunne’ Clark Jackson, an education consultant and parent advocate. She’s also the mom of two kids, one with an IEP. Tune in for back-to-school strategies that have worked well for DeJunne’ and her family. Find out how she sets goals with both of her kids, keeping in mind their strengths and challenges.Related resources Download: Back-to-school update for families to give to teachersDownload: Goals calendar for kids who struggle with planningHear more from DeJunne’ in this episode about parent-teacher conferences from last season Get back-to-school tips from executive function coach Brendan Mahan in this episode about building executive function skills Episode TranscriptGretchen: From the Understood Podcast Network, this is "In It," a podcast about the ins and outs...Rachel: ...the ups and downs...Gretchen: ...of supporting kids who learn and think differently. I'm Gretchen Vierstra, a former classroom teacher and an editor here at Understood.Rachel: And I'm Rachel Bozek, a writer and editor with a family that's definitely in it.Gretchen and I have been away from our microphones for most of the summer, apart from a bonus episode here and there. But with the new school year very much upon us, I think we're ready to jump back in.Gretchen: Actually, here in California, school has already been going on for a few weeks. But that doesn't mean we couldn't use some tips on how to help our kids get off to a good start.Rachel: Not to mention what to do if things get bumpy fast.Gretchen: So to help us with that, we've invited back DeJunne' Clarke Jackson.Rachel: DeJunne' is a former teacher and school counselor based in Baton Rouge. Now, she works as an educational therapist and student advocate.Gretchen: She's also president of the Center for Literacy and Learning, a nonprofit that supports teachers who teach reading.Rachel: And she's a parent of two kids, one with learning differences and one without.Gretchen: Last time she joined us, we talked about how to prepare for parent-teacher conferences. And we will never forget her describing herself as "the five-inch binder mom."Rachel: We're so glad to have her back with us today. DeJunne', welcome back to "In It."DeJunne': Thank you for having me. So glad to be back.Gretchen: We are so happy to have you back. And last time we had you on the podcast, you talked about your two kids. And I know one of them learns and thinks differently and has an IEP. And I'm wondering if you're talking to your kids before school starts, and what kinds of conversations you're having with them.DeJunne': So, yes, I am having conversations with both my boys, age 9 and 14. So we're going into the fourth and the 10th grade. My oldest, of course, is the one with learning differences. So their conversations are the same, but different.And so we actually started having those conversations at the end of last school year. So we don't reserve those conversations for just the start of this upcoming school year. Mostly because my boys really try to avoid knowing that school is starting. So we — I really want to capture their attention when they're in this mindset of like being open to having those conversations about what the next school year looks like. What did this last school year look like?And my conversations with my 9-year-old look a lot different than my 14-year-old because his conversations are, you know, a lot around like social norms and expectations and, you know, our friendships in the social media realm and navigating teenager hood.Gretchen: Yeah, I'm so glad to hear you brought up social things. I'm wondering, especially with your older child, do you kind of reflect on last year in terms of academics and then set academic goals for the following year? Talk a little bit about that.DeJunne': Yeah. So we set academic goals for both kids. One thing about goal setting, though, our expectation is that both kids do their best. And it varies per subject. So we lean into the strengths.And if I know that science is your jam and you're good at it, then we set the expectation to match your ability. And if it's an A and we know you can perform at an A, then we set that expectation at an A. And if math is your challenge and we know you struggle through it and you show up every day to try your best and be your best, and if your best in math is a C on your best day, then a C is what we, you know, high-five you for.Rachel: I really like that — leaning into strengths and challenges. Because sometimes it can be easy for us to say, well, you got an A in science, so that means you can definitely get an A in math too, right? And then that can feel really defeating for your kid, because maybe they can't get an A in math too.DeJunne': And this is coming from an educator. So when I tell my friends this, they're like, Oh my God, I can't believe like, you don't want, you know, you don't want to to breed this like Harvard, you know?Even with my youngest, who, you know, who performs really well academically, and at the end of the day, I just want to create human beings that are, you know, wonderful law-abiding citizens, that are helpful, that have good hearts, and who are proud of themselves because they showed up every day and did their best.And so sometimes you just need to lean into those strengths. And then really appreciating and celebrating the strengths that are nonacademic, right? So having and appreciating the fact that your student may not excel. They may be a straight C student. But they're an extremely talented artist. Or they can play an instrument really well. Or they excel in sports.And that's the thing that keeps them going. That's the thing that helps them show up to math class every day that they hate. But they're doing it because the goal that you set is, you know, for them in order to get to that area of strength and to continue in that, you sort of tied in, you know, well, you know, we're going to make sure that we maintain our C average in all these subjects in order to support your love of art or go to this art showcase this year, you know. And so you just want to make sure it all marries together.Gretchen: Well, I'm going to switch gears a minute and get to a kind of more nuts-and-bolts question. A lot of times for many kids, the new school year also comes with like new organization methods. Maybe it's like a new folder. Or maybe they've gone to like the Dollar Store and gotten some caddies to organize things in. And it's going to be great. I'm going to be so organized with my pens here and this here.And then perhaps after a month or two, all this flash of new caddies and whatnot starts to fall apart. Do you have any strategies for this — of how to set like organization kind of goals that will actually work and won't break the bank too?DeJunne': Yeah, this — honestly, a very transparent moment as a parent. This has been one that we've struggled with. We had a laundry list of things that didn't work. We've tried binders and dividers and labeled folders and journals and agendas. And I think that's sort of where you begin. You try. And if it doesn't work, you try a different way. And you just keep trying something until it works.And we've, for a number of years, lived for a checklist. I mean, checklists got us through everything — from waking up in the morning, to tying our shoes, brushing our teeth, you know, taking our medicine, getting out the door. If we did not have a checklist, it did not get done.And that's one thing that we realized: Our kiddo was a minimalist. So the more things we gave him, the more frazzled he would be and trying to remember how to use those systems. Right? So that's why we we sort of came to the conclusion of, Oh, this is why a checklist was so easy, because it was simple.And so now we function with one notebook. We don't even have the fancy notebook with the divided sections. Because we tried that — like math, science, social studies. Everybody's getting written in one section. We do one folder and pray to God that all the papers get into the folder. Sometimes they are crumpled up at the bottom of the book bag most times. Rachel: But they're there.DeJunne': Yeah, but they're there. And then his computer and his phone are the most valuable assets for us, because his phone, the notes app — and of course I'm talking about the oldest kid with the learning challenges — the phone, his notes app. It's a running record of God knows what, but it gets there. And then his computer because his teachers in the communication, everything is on that computer. That's what we've sort of teetered along those lines.But yeah, we've struggled through a number of years because we wanted it to be all nice and pretty with the caddy and the different colored pens and the highlighters and stickers and, you know, and that works for some. And I say, go for it. And Dollar Tree will be your best friend, you know? But for some, less is more.Rachel: So for families with kids who learn and think differently, and maybe they have IEPs or 504s and maybe they don't. But they still want to kind of level-set at the beginning of the school year. Who should they touch base with? Teachers or school counselors? Specialists? And like, when is the right time to do that? Should they wait for their parent-teacher conference? Or, you know, how much time should they give for a conversation to happen that's just kind of like, hey, just want to touch base.DeJunne': Yeah. So I want to preface my answer by saying, yeah, there are categories of parents who have sort of been in this space of students with learning differences. I would probably be categorized as the crusader parent, right? I've been in this fight for a long time. I am probably the one that's on the horse with the shield, you know, with the sword in the air leading the calvary behind me.And so have to say that, right, because it depends on where you are in this journey. So I say that because my answer is everyone. Who you should touch base with is everyone at the start of the school year. Elementary looks much different than high school. Those "everyones" look a little different on each campus.But I also say that with — I use the sort of target or dartboard model when I work with the "everyone," you know, sort of model. I look at those who are closest or have the most touchpoints to my kiddo. So I may start with his classroom teacher. And of course, elementary, you'll know, it's probably just, you know, one teacher and maybe the school counselor. That's your core.But if your kiddo has an IEP, then of course the core is the IEP teacher of record. Then maybe your next ring could be the assistant principal or the dean or whomever. He may have a next touchpoint with your kiddo. Maybe your kiddo has some behavior challenges, so you may want to reach out to the dean of students or the vice principal who handles your behavior, you know, concerns. And then the next one might be the principal.But are sort of these layers, right, that you're building out from? But at the end of the day, I need everyone to know, hey, here's my kid. He has an IEP. I want to make sure you're aware and that you have a copy, and that he has those things in place on day one. And that I am his parent and that I am here to support you and to support him. And reinforce what is happening in the learning environment. And I want to do this outreach campaign at the beginning of the school year.To your point, I don't wait to parent-teacher conference. Because those usually aren't scheduled until like September, October, and by then it's too late. I don't want to talk about how he's underperforming at that time. I want to get it out and get it ahead of time.Gretchen: Right. Because your kids are starting in August. So October would feel like a long ways in.DeJunne': Forever away. So we want to get it ahead of time. Some send letters. I'm sure we've seen all the the letters that float around on social media that introduces their kid. I think those are so cute. I like the in-person, you know, feel so that we can put a face to name. I don't want to give too much information. I want them to get to know my kid for themselves, and just give them sort of that surface level of information. But just really as an introductory.Gretchen: Well, I know we're close to our end DeJunne'. But I do have a question that I think a lot of families might be wondering about, which is, you know, school starts fresh, start, you know, reset. Maybe a month in, oh my goodness. Things have not gone as we thought.Like maybe there's some, you know, bad interactions with other kids or teachers, you know, like my teacher, I don't like them. Or, you know, there's been a couple of failed tests or whatnot. Who knows what it is. But this you know, it's not the the glory you had hoped for. So how do you not despair? How do you not despair as a parent? And how do you help your kid not despair when that happens?DeJunne': It's difficult. You just you want — your immediate instinct as a parent is probably to fix it, right? You just want to fix it. You want to make it all better. I'd probably say that if things are looking doom-and-gloom in the beginning, that there's probably, you know, some transitioning pains, some growing pains.Because remember, this is new, especially your younger kiddos, new teachers. You're not doing it like Miss So-and-so did it. This is not how I'm used to it being done. It's new for them. That doesn't mean that it's necessarily bad. It's just different, you know? And so helping them understand the difference will really help as you talk to them through those things.I could probably say that there's probably a lack of communication or miscommunication or misunderstandings somewhere. I don't recommend just, you know, jumping in to trying to fix it. You know, have conversations for the goal of understanding and be proactive versus reactive. Really get into there and, you know, work with your child's teacher. Or work with whatever information that you need to know to be able to gain an understanding and awareness of what's going on. Instead of, you know, having them just adapt. Like, oh, get over it, you know, you'll get used to it.Encourage them to self-advocate. You know, it's so important and it's so underrated to have kids have a voice. And I think it comes from that, you know, that old-school parenting, that mindset that kids are, you know, to be seen and not heard. And I think we've done such a great job of trying to change that and have our kids be heard as we talk to our kids more and give them a voice. And have them know that it's OK to speak up.You know, teaching them, like, how do I politely interrupt. You know, even like sort of the process by which we speak up and that we use our voice. And so encouraging them to self-advocate. So if something doesn't sit right or feel right, or they believe that they are misheard or misunderstood, then how do I tell my teacher that? So even just giving them permission to have dialog with their teachers that they want just a better understanding? I think that that's a great place to start.Rachel: Yeah, and the teachers appreciate that. The teachers appreciate that.DeJunne': Yeah. Yeah. And they should. And if they don't, then that's a different conversation we can have.Rachel: Yeah, well, that is all so helpful. I have one more question. Any other advice you have for parents and caregivers or maybe even for teachers and support staff as we get settled into the new school year?DeJunne': Give grace. Our kids are trying. And if they're not trying, find out why. And I think when we get to that, we'll discover those strengths and pull out the things that they need help discovering. And I think we'll get our kids, you know, those goals that we set for them, they'll accomplish. I'm excited for our kiddos.Gretchen: I'm excited, too. Especially after talking to you today. I feel like it was a pep talk for us. Thank you so much for being with us, DeJunne'.Rachel: Thank you.DeJunne': Thank you for having me again.Gretchen: You've been listening to "In It" from the Understood Podcast Network.Rachel: This show is for you, so we want to make sure you're getting what you need. Email us at to share your thoughts. We love hearing from you.Gretchen: If you want to learn more about the topics we covered today, check out the show notes for this episode. We include more resources as well as links to anything we mentioned in the episode.Rachel: is a resource dedicated to helping people who learn and think differently discover their potential and thrive. Learn more at "In It" is produced by Julie Subrin. Briana Berry is our production director. Justin D. Wright mixes the show. Mike Errico wrote our theme music.Rachel: For the Understood Podcast Network, Laura Key is our editorial director. Scott Cocchiere is our creative director. And Seth Melnick is our executive producer. Thanks for listening.Gretchen: And thanks for always being in it with us. 

  • Some kids love talking about school. With others, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to share even a few details about their day — especially if something’s upsetting them, like bullying or struggling in school.If your child is on the quieter side or is very private, there are ways to ask questions that will open up a conversation instead of shutting one down. Here are some key things to keep in mind.1. Ask open-ended questions. If you ask a question that can be answered with one word — yes or no — that’s what you’ll get. A one-word answer. Try asking open-ended questions instead. Example: “What was the best thing you did at school today?”2. Start with a factual observation. Kids often have a hard time answering questions that seem to come out of the blue. Making an observation gives your child something to relate to. Example: “I know you have a lot more kids in your class this year. What’s that like?”3. Share something about yourself. When someone tells you about themselves, it’s natural to want to do that in return. Share something with your child and see what you get back. Example: “We always played dodgeball at recess. What do you and your friends like to do?”4. Avoid negative questions. If you think something isn’t going well, your questions may come out in a negative way, with emotion-packed words like sad or mean. Asking in a positive way lets your child express concerns.Example: “I heard that you sat with new people at lunch today. What did you talk about?”Here are other examples of how to say things differently to get your child to open up.Afterschool conversation startersPhrasing your questions this way invites your child to talk. But don’t expect for every question to result in a long, detailed answer. The goal is to have many small conversations over time. It helps to find natural moments to talk — like at dinner or riding in the car — when you’re not in a rush.Sometimes kids, like adults, just don’t feel like talking. It’s important to know when to stop asking questions and leave it for another time. But if there’s something urgent or serious going on, you’ll have to ask direct, specific questions and push for an answer.Looking for more conversation starters and responses to use with your child? Find out what to say when your child:Gets frustratedDoesn’t want to go to schoolSays “I’m dumb”Gets a report cardIs distracted or unfocusedYou may also want to read why one mom stopped saying “have a good day” to her son.

  • In It

    What’s it like to be a dad who’s “in it”? In this episode, hosts Amanda Morin and Bob Cunningham take a moment to hear from and celebrate dads of kids who learn and think differently.What’s like dad who’s “in it”? In episode, hosts Amanda Morin Bob Cunningham take moment hear celebrate dads kids learn think differently. Find dads treated differently moms (and moms). feel like get “extra credit” showing up. Another got trouble work taking time kids.We also hear Khalil, dad dyslexia, he’s parenting differently father did.Listen in. read personal take dad “feels invisible at” IEP meetings.Subscribe iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, wherever listen podcasts.Episode transcriptAmanda: Hi. I'm Amanda Morin. I'm writer, parent kids learn differently, former teacher. Bob: I'm Bob Cunningham. I'm career educator parent, well executive director learning development Understood. Amanda: "In It." Bob: podcast Understood. show, we'll hear parents caregivers sometimes even kids. we'll offer support advice families whose kids struggling reading, math, focus, learning thinking differences. Amanda: Today, we're talking dads it. Amanda: So, Bob, us, we've calling episode "Where Dads?" maybe sounds little judgy. least, think that's dads heard put question there. Caller 1: wonder, sometimes, people think dads don't anything? think lot. maybe it's aspects aren't school-related, know, sports building confidence wrestling, don't know. Maybe stereotypically guy things, they're things daughter son, think they're really valuable. So, guess would say dads? We're here. might visible moms. Bob: hear he's saying. So, Amanda, let's say right start know lots different ways folks participate raising kids. Amanda: Yeah. also want say know plenty families don't dads, like families single moms families two moms. today, we're focusing dads. Bob: that's really because, Understood, hear moms way hear dads. want look why. barriers entry dads comes raising kids learn think differently? dads get barriers, how's going them? Amanda: episode, we're going hear dads, give chance hear other. Caller 2: dad who's involved. find frustrating sometimes heard considered dad. remember one IEP meeting sat right bat team member turned wife said, "So, Mom, feel things going?" Well, spoke said, something add here. picked son bus stop day, said, "Hey, guess what, Daddy? didn't even get talked bad behavior today. Isn't good?" moment, it's like every head table snapped right around me, like noticing first time. found funny moment. made realize it's like one expected speak information Dad. Charles: know, rewarding. It's also hard. know, I've flying seat pants mostly. Bob: Charles. last years, Charles definitely it.Amanda: Charles lives Los Angeles wife, Deanna, 9-year-old son, Ryan. past years, Charles homeschooling Ryan, processing issues.Charles: Sensory processing, tactile processing, vision processing, auditory processing... Amanda: kinds issues make really hard focus average busy classroom. Bob: Charles never expected stay-at-home homeschooling dad. started four years ago, laid job IT. Charles: Now, job market point horrible. started being, well, I'm going look best job possible, every day teachers wanting conferences school, wanting talk. wife, lawyer, great retirement package. couldn't get rid that. stepped took care it.Amanda: Tell little bit Ryan. What's like? What's into? Charles: OK, well Ryan started loving learn. mean, 18 months old, could easily told favorite pastimes Mom neighbor read him. taught read 3, got kind damaged school. Every day, made feel bad, like I'm bad kid. clearly case. mean, he's Norm "Cheers." Yeah, walks hall. Hey, Ryan, stop it. right now, he's really enjoying learning. know, say oh, school time, know, he's going find five ways get it.Charles: That's I've working since pulled school start rebuilding love learning. Bob: week, Charles Ryan spend part day working lessons playing video games.Charles: Well, it's fun getting doctoral-level dissertation Minecraft 9-year-old. Bob: also venture world. Ryan therapy sessions goes classes kids learn think differently. types spaces, dads tend far between. Amanda: walk room 30 kids accompanied 30... moms? Dads? Charles: would say 28, 29 moms one dad maybe two. gotta say, surprised. three dads last Friday taking Inventioneers class.Amanda: speak dads it's like three dads 27 moms?Charles: don't know phrased exactly like that, go say, brings here? lot times like looking wives shoulder. Like, oh, I'm going asked questions may completely understand. It's like kind know, they're confident it. Amanda: I'm wondering, moms, tend respond role sort primary care parent? Charles: know, think they're mostly OK it, like impressed, maybe? know, it's like walked room, sometimes feel like, oh, there's interloper. But, know, think get that's what's going on. Bob: Amanda, heard lots dads episode, one thing became really clear contradictory messages comes dads taking lead kids. Amanda: Right. one hand, folks like Charles dad heard earlier put there. feel dismissed others like teachers therapists moms. also heard dads admit often get kudos admiration showing up. Bob: Right. Like John. says kids' teachers always seem really appreciative wife come afterschool meetings. John: think definitely extra-credit feel there. it's I'm dad. Amanda: Yep. meanwhile, don't think us moms getting medals showing parent-teacher conference. Bob: there's mixed messages dads get workplace. know research men become parents, they'll often see salaries go up. women, become parents, opposite tends happen. Amanda: Right. yet working dads sometimes run trouble seem putting family ahead work. Bob: that's heard Jeremy. Jeremy: working different organization son public school kindergarten, attended probably fifth IEP meeting. finishing meeting, went back office go back work. boss sat said, know, spend lot time office. said, well, attending meeting son, school. said, well, that's something wife do. don't need that. spending time work. aghast, like "are serious?" actually last day organization. quit. period couple months looked new job, found new position would allow flexibility needed ensure could family. wouldn't necessarily want repeat period time looking something. I'm actually grateful son that, giving opportunity find job would allow him, wife, kids. Bob: Amanda, think part challenge dads that, well, let's face it, part, society doesn't really place lot value dads spending time kids. Except, course, around stereotypical things like sports tech activities. dad know who's trying change that. Amanda: That's right. Three years ago, Brent Johnstone started organization called FathersRead365 along another dad, Akeiff Staples. organization hosts story hours, gives free books, provides trainings, encourage fathers read young kids every day. cool thing roots project go way back. Brent dyslexic reading real struggle growing up.

  • Maybe another student is sending your child mean texts on social media. Or maybe kids are picking on (or even threatening) your child at school. When there’s bullying at school, it can be emotional, upsetting, and scary. But there are concrete things you can do to find out what’s happening and put a stop to it. Here are eight steps to take if your child is being bullied at school.1. Care for your child.Before doing anything else, care for your child’s needs. It’s OK for kids to be sad. But you want to make sure they don’t harm themselves or others. Try your best to remove your child from the bullying situation.Saying “I love you” can be a big boost to your child. Just listening to whatever your child wants to share helps, too. When you show that you care about your child’s feelings, it empowers your child to share the full story.As you go through the remaining steps, make sure you always return to this one. Caring for your child is an ongoing responsibility.2. Get the facts (and document them).Ask your child gently but directly whether anyone is doing anything that makes your child feel upset, uncomfortable, or embarrassed. Use open-ended questions to encourage your child to share. Once you have a basic idea about what’s happening, see if you can learn specific information, too. You can ask things like: Are you getting mean messages on social media? Who is sending them? How many? When?Next, reach out to others who may know more. You want to find out what’s been happening, who’s involved, and when and where it has taken place. (Think carefully, though, before you reach out directly to the students or adults doing the bullying.)Be sure to gather any documents that show the bullying. You can save emails or texts and print them out. You can also take screenshots of social media or online forums, as well as save voice messages.3. Write down and tell the bullying story.Write down all the details of what you’ve learned. Try to create a timeline of what happened when. If you feel your child can handle it, review the timeline together. (This may not happen all in one sitting.)Tell someone else — like a trusted friend or family member — the bullying story. Ask for feedback: Did you explain everything clearly? Did you stick to the facts? Were you too emotional to share what happened?4. Review the school’s anti-bullying policy (and any state laws).Check your child’s student handbook or the school district website for its anti-bullying policy. This will give you the steps you need to take to report bullying. There should be information about how to contact the staff members who can help.All 50 states now have anti-bullying laws. Look at your state’s law. It may give you additional rights, like a time limit for the school to take action.5. Report the bullying to the school.If the bullying is happening in class, meet with the teacher. Ask for the principal to join if you feel it’s needed. If the bullying is happening outside of class or at recess, go directly to the principal.Ask whether school staff have seen the bullying and how they’ve responded. Share your child’s bullying story and any supporting documents. During the meeting, ask what the school is going to do and when. Follow up in writing (an email works), describing what you discussed.6. Monitor the school’s response.Once bullying is reported to the school, state anti-bullying laws may require a specific process of investigation and action. Ask the school to send you written updates on this process.Monitor what actions the school takes. If the bullying continues, document any new incidents. Let the school know about these new incidents and ask what it’s going to do. As always, make sure you connect with and comfort your child during this time.7. Take it up the chain of command.If bullying is still going on two weeks after you first reported it, contact the school district superintendent both by phone and in writing. You may also want to write to the local school board.Share all the facts you’ve collected, including how you reported the bullying to the school, the name of each person you’ve spoken with, and what happened afterwards. Ask for help with ending the bullying. Save any responses.If there are still no changes, reach out to your state department of education. The state may have staff that will investigate bullying. Your local Parent Training Information Center may be able to give advice, too.You can also go to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR protects public school students with disabilities from discrimination. You can file an OCR complaint about the bullying.8. Get legal help.If bullying is still happening, contact a lawyer. A lawyer with experience in education law can help if you’re still not seeing results. Here’s where you can find legal help.

  • The Opportunity Gap

    Growing up, LeDerick Horne couldn’t read. Today, he’s a poet, activist, and person thriving with dyslexia. Hear his advice for families of color.LeDerick Horne Black man, poet, activist, person dyslexia. He’s spoken White House. wrote definitive book hidden disabilities. life could turned differently.As child, LeDerick couldn’t read. labeled “neurologically impaired” put separate special education classes. struggled find place Black man America learning differences. says one mistake could led prison worse, like many classmates.In episode, hosts Julian Saavedra Marissa Wallace talk LeDerick people made difference life. LeDerick shares advice help kids color learning differences thrive. Stay tuned end episode special reading LeDerick poem inspire family.Related resources Video: challenges African American learns thinks differentlyVideo: LeDerick Horne, poet activist learning disabilitiesTo Black America learning disabilityEpisode transcriptLeDerick: words describe this, "you're dumb" "you're stupid," neurological, biological roots behind mind works way does. label, part gives community. able say, "I dyslexic like Harry Belafonte dyslexic. dyslexic like Muhammad Ali dyslexic." could start making connections, narrative connecting people's narratives. just, that's empowering. It's uplifting act. That's why, like silences, it's never going golden. always give words experience.Julian: Welcome "The Opportunity Gap," podcast families kids color learn think differently. explore issues privilege, race, identity. goal help advocate child. I'm Julian Saavedra.Marissa: I'm Marissa Wallace. Julian worked together years teachers public charter school Philadelphia, saw opportunity gaps firsthand.Julian: we're parents kids color. personal us.Welcome back, everybody. Julian Saavedra here. Hey, Marissa, what's going on?Marissa: Hi, Julian. Oh, know, excitement building today.Julian: Somehow, someway, incredibly fortunate continue really phenomenal people podcast. guest spoken United Nations; spoken White House. Black man, poet, activist, person living dyslexia. Welcome, welcome, welcome, Mr. LeDerick Horne.LeDerick: Hello, hello.Julian: Um, want make sure jump actual interview portion show. explained specifically one disability we're going focusing on.We're focusing dyslexia. Dyslexia learning disability reading. may also something student hard time reading comprehension, spelling, writing. making sure speak dyslexia, we're specifically focusing idea reading.Marissa: Thank you, Julian. Thanks clarifying listeners. thank you, LeDerick, incredibly much. beyond grateful you. want take back early days. would love tell us, tell listeners, school like world look like time?LeDerick: think different points time school times challenging, times uplifting. started education private school, Catholic school New Brunswick, New Jersey — St Peter's. kindergarten first grade, first time. first grade second time. know, remember kid. remember enjoying school around kids, even would struggling academically. recall first family, recommended placed back district. eventually recognized someone needed evaluated. initially given label neurologically impaired. great teacher, Ms. Priscilla Yates, first special ed teacher, much love poured every one us, feeling still today, investment caring had. also remember school district started gifted talented program, brand-new thing.And Ms. Yates really encouraged go part class. remember stepping first time feeling totally overwhelmed. I, point, I'd special ed years, realized moment, think I'd become institutionalized. placed environment little interaction students outside special ed, felt overwhelming. Middle school, lot emotion around, think, identity fit world, thought got good putting front OK. internally OK. got high school, challenging putting front maintain. got winter junior year, always describe emotional breakdown. primarily motivated think, one, stress trying like pass normal, also fear knowing going happen graduated high school. I, time know, like weren't really much way transition planning, knew I, like, wanted go college, didn't think folks like could go college read books solve complicated math problems, just, time. career goal seemed like always going like manual labor. depressed clearly showing signs needed mental health support.I'm fortunate I've totally won parent lottery. supportive family. think I've also resilient, used horrible time opportunity rebuild bounce back. started talking going college then, yeah, world changed me.Julian: Wow. love you're able reflective, like able look back identify specific moments time school career shifts. call like points diversion. one two three paths could chosen, path chose led specific outcome. So, thank that.LeDerick: Oh, you're welcome. Yeah, no, point divergence piece think important because, moment, I'm clear, like have, friends growing jail time. know, got involved kind behavior. And, would try point folks like, I'm pretty bright guy, many classmates, people brilliant.But think much around much support have. then, sadly enough, think it's also role dice. Like plenty times where, know, — don't know, encounter gone wrong way, maybe wouldn't today. also know I, existential dread think carried long time young person just, didn't think going live past 25. didn't think cards me.Just breakdown, know suicidal. I've described past like — clearest thing remember like wanting get altercation police officer that, get locked I'd shot killed. police officers name it: call death cop. And, um, yeah, are, dark times, fortunate none took place. given little bit time work little bit step potential.Marissa: That's really raw real, I'm appreciative you're point, obviously, life go reflect understand everything got exactly are.Julian: you, discover dyslexic? occur you?LeDerick: Uh, language interesting. gets label dyslexia doesn't. definitely think label privilege, right? So, grew New Jersey. born '77, I'm part first generation students really able take advantage Individuals Disabilities Education Act creation special education. state, one labels tossed around lot, particularly boys particularly boys color, "neurologically impaired." carried throughout entire time. like either went neurologically impaired class went behavior class, right? remember kids behavior class. But got college. my, uh, Middlesex County College, were, great support program students learning disabilities, attention issues, also provided evaluations. five years getting ready transfer university, asked evaluated. was, actually fun experience point, won many battles. learned write. I'd become math major. I'd like become strong self-advocate. And sitting evaluation, laughing places would struggle spelling reading, you. also like, slam dunking, like, remember, spatial relations question, lady

  • Some kids with learning and thinking differences may have trouble with playground social rules and equipment. Here are common playground problems and how to help your child avoid them.Being Bullied or Witnessing BullyingKids with learning and thinking differences can be the target of bullying. Bullying is different from teasing in that it’s repeated and often escalates over time. It can include name-calling, insults, threats, exclusion and even physical violence.How to help: Be approachable and proactive. Explain what bullying is and make sure your child knows she can come to you (or a teacher) if she experiences it or sees it. Tell her it’s OK to walk away if she feels unsafe or if using words to defend herself isn’t working. Learn more about what to do if you suspect bullying at school.Being Too Aggressive With Other KidsKids with learning and thinking differences sometimes lack impulse control and have trouble filtering what they say. They may push or shove other kids, run without paying attention or be unknowingly insulting. It’s also possible they don’t realize when they’re being too forceful.How to help: Set ground rules for physical aggression, so that your child knows the consequences ahead of time. Encourage her to use words instead of her body to communicate. Remind your child that getting hit or shoved hurts: “It’s not appropriate to hit other kids. If you want a turn, ask, ‘Can I have a turn please?’”Dealing With Winning or LosingKids who have trouble with impulse control and regulating their emotions may gloat about winning and make other kids feel bad about losing. Likewise, they may get really upset when they lose a game and then insist others cheated. (Read an expert’s tips to help impulsive kids cope with losing.)How to help: Point out that if your child makes other kids feel bad, they aren’t going to want to play with her anymore. Remind your child that playground games are just games and that it’s OK to feel good about winning, but not to make others feel bad. Teach phrases that show good sportsmanship, such as “Good game!”Not Being Able to Handle the EquipmentKids with motor skills issues, like dyspraxia, may have a hard time using playground equipment. Climbing ladders, using the monkey bars, swinging and even sliding require being able to coordinate many different body movements.How to help: Practice when the playground is free. Your child may feel less self-conscious when other kids aren’t around. You can help her break down the steps and practice doing the things she likes best. You can also try these fun activities to help your child improve gross motor skills.Not Taking Turns or Following DirectionsOn the playground, kids have to share, take turns and communicate with others. Whether they’re playing an organized game or waiting their turn, this can be hard for kids with learning and thinking differences. That’s because paying attention, understanding social cues and processing information can be trouble spots.How to help: Model taking turns and sharing. Practice the language your child needs to know, such as “my turn,” “your turn” or even “listen to me!” Let your child know it’s OK to ask a peer or teacher to clarify and break rules down into steps. Explore other ways to help your child interpret social cues.Not Wanting to Play With Other KidsPlayground time involves social skills. This includes sharing, taking turns and joining conversations. Your child may not be sure how to start a conversation or how to ask to join a game. She may not understand when other kids are inviting her to play. This can make it hard to develop friendships.How to help: Practice what your child can say to other kids. “Hi, I’m Tiffany. What’s your name?” and “Do you want to play on the monkey bars with me?” You can also help your child figure out when it’s OK to join a large playground game without specifically asking. Get more tips on how to help your child fit in and interact with peers.Taking Risks on Playground EquipmentKids with learning and thinking differences can have trouble with impulse control and may act before they think. And kids with sensory processing issues may not feel pain as strongly as other kids. This can result in risky behavior like jumping from too high, swinging too hard or roughhousing too much with other kids. (Read more about how sensory issues can impact motor skills.)How to help: Talk to your child about taking a breath and thinking before she acts. To lower the risk of getting hurt during falls, visit playgrounds that have sand, wood chips or synthetic turf and make sure your child is supervised.TeasingThe playground is a ripe teasing ground. Some of it is good-natured joking around: “Whoa, you’re super-fast with those new shoes.” And some of it is just mean: “Those new shoes are really ugly!” Kids with learning and thinking differences can have a hard time telling the difference between the two.How to help: Explain the difference between teasing and friendly joking. Show your child the body language, tone of voice and facial expressions that go with each. You can also help your child practice things to say when she is teased. For example, “I didn’t like that,” or “That hurt my feelings.”

  • How’d You Get THAT Job?!

    Michael Upshall Senior and Junior both have ADHD. This father-and-son duo doubles as boss and employee in their family carpentry business. Michael Upshall Senior Junior ADHD. father-and-son duo doubles boss employee carpentry business, Probuilt Design + Build. work life, understand thinks. For Michael Sr., school never matched brain worked, left high school 10th grade. That’s took apprenticeship, eventually starting business. He’s master carpenter. diagnosed ADHD 2012. Michael Jr. diagnosed entered high school, got support help finish school. He’s working father’s business since 12. Now, adult, he’s learning ropes running business — picking ADHD strategies father along way.Listen week’s episode How’d Get Job?! first interview two guests. Get tips keeping track thoughts, learn contracting could right fit you.Related resourcesIs ADHD hereditary?After high school: Different ways thriveADHD myth lazinessEpisode transcriptMichael Jr.: came dad’s said "I can't keep head straight job. Like, there's many moving components, many different things come time." that's came idea notebook. say absolutely saved life many different aspects. Eleni: Understood Podcast Network, "How'd Get Job?!," podcast explores unique often unexpected career paths people learning thinking differences. name Eleni Matheou, I'm user researcher Understood. means spend lot time thinking find jobs love reflect learn are. I'll host. Today, we're trying something new. We're talking boss employee also happen father son. Michael Upshall Sr. started Probuilt Design + Build Toronto area 30 years ago. didn't start expecting run business dozens employees. fact, struggled school left getting high school degree. always loved carpentry able turn passion business. Today, oversees everything designing homes actually building them. Michael Jr. started working parents Probuilt still kid. he's 20s, studied architecture, he's following father's footsteps Probuilt. Michaels ADHD. way work together shows helpful mentor learning thinking differences workplace someone understands. Eleni: I'm pretty excited interview today it's little bit first us talking father-son duo also work together. So, hopefully going get little bit glimpse of, know, boss-employee dynamic well. So, I'm really looking forward hearing say. would great could tell us family business. Like. Michael Sr., want tell us, know, get started Michael Jr., like join? Michael Sr.: Well, could go way back want. I've industry 40 years, so, know, I've got wee bit sawdust blood, speak. started company, guess, in, it, 1989? years, business started growing bit more. ended hyperfocusing took next level. years, wife grown point we'd start thinking about, know, bringing kids business interested. one things. didn't want shove throat either. wanted make sure OK it, open them, too. Michael Jr.: started working Probuilt probably 12 years old, would 12 years ago now, yeah. little stuff job sites kind following dad around, tagging along, know. took little able actually job sites guys without parents, guess. eventually 14 years old started actual job sites employees basically started carpenter’s hand, less sweeping brooms moving material around, basically gaining experience beginning me. Eleni: Michael Sr., also started carpenter, teenager. right? Michael Sr.: Yeah, I'm master carpenter. started apprenticeship young. I've got grade 10 education. know turned school wasn't someone like it's set ADHD people. Eleni: Definitely. Michael Sr.: didn't know time, felt, knew different felt different something, know, different everybody else. Michael Jr.: it's crazy thinking like time, especially considering dropped 10th grade. Like looking age different things place, especially within education system, help lot education started struggling big time well, too, high school well, coming grade nine. pretty much teachers said exact thing, I'm pretty much walls, ADHD, ADD, whatever want call it, basically recommended got tested well too. that, lot procedures able put place got testing done able help much throughout schooling. Eleni: Yeah. Michael Jr.: like always think dad way too, like opportunities now, like would able could gone education way. Michael Sr.: educate myself. Eleni: look got you. got two great places. Eleni: Michael Sr., mentioned felt like son carbon copy you, I'm sure really know, lot published research ADHD genetic. It's actually generally agreed upon adult ADHD, there's 30 50 percent chance child also ADHD, pretty high. So, it's really surprise like father, like son. Could talk little bit similarities you've noticed father, particularly way think work might related ADHD? Michael Jr.: Yeah. Well, guess really started young age especially. mean, kid doesn't grow grow wanting like dad, know? So, it's really everything sports played work field he's within. really drove wanting get inside construction workforce well. got super interested architectural design art guitar, far tendencies go personality-wise, feel like we're don't know, we're kind kind guys. Eleni: mean there? Michael Jr.: We're energetic, guess could say, upbeat type deal. think also comes along ADD well too. We're very, forgetful. So, put things within day-to-day lives able operate properly least. Yeah. Eleni: saw article, interview Canadian Contractor. think one mentioned idea like high risk, high reward. considered might relate ADHD ADHD might play role kind drive? Michael Jr.: Oh, totally. Pretty much whole life high risk, high reward. Everything I've done pretty much in. I've never really much dip-your-toes-in-the-water kind guy. something really gets going it's something juices me, dive right everything want know everything want time. think time. mean, it's always good thing either, like, lot people think, "Oh, why..." takes away much responsibilities productive things? But...Eleni: Yeah. Michael Jr.: ...I guess it's matter able try find balance. that's definitely something I'm still struggling find still today. we're working it, that's sure. Eleni: Yeah. Well, it's funny use term something makes feel juicy, like like hyperfocus. Michael Jr.: It's weird feeling it's something know, it's happening too, that's it's like, "Oh, go again." what's funny well too, like saying like jack trades, I'm jack everything, honest you. many different things excite leads jump one hobby next one project next. able stay one thing constantly able finish something certainly big struggle. able learn many different things talk many different people many different hobbies something that's awesome throughout life. Eleni: Yeah. know mentioned forgetful. strategies put place to, like, help perhaps forgetful, like work? Michael Jr.: Well, actually, dad actually gave idea. us carry around little notebook. It's normal size notebook pretty much goes everywhere go. doesn't leave truck. one get truck,

  • When the cameras are rolling, Jace Norman is the star of Nickelodeon’s hugely popular kids’ show, Henry Danger. But when they’re off, he’s just a teen juggling life, fame and dyslexia.As his celebrity has grown, Norman has spoken out about his dyslexia and bullying. He’s also grown into a budding entrepreneur with his own marketing company.Landing the role of Henry DangerBorn in New Mexico, Norman and his family moved to Southern California when he was 8. He started acting when he was 12.Soon after, he made his television debut with a guest appearance on the Disney Channel series Jessie. Several more roles followed until he auditioned for and got the lead in Henry Danger.On the show, Norman plays Henry Hart, a young teen living in the town of Swellview. Henry is hired as a sidekick for the local superhero, Captain Man. Suddenly, Henry finds himself facing off with a cast of villains as he helps Captain Man protect the town.An instant hit, Henry Danger was nominated for Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite TV Show four years in a row, from 2015 to 2018, winning in 2017. Norman was a big part of the show’s success. He won Favorite TV Actor at the 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards. Following the success of Henry Danger, he continues to star in a number of Nickelodeon original TV movies.Speaking out about dyslexia and bullyingWhile accepting the Favorite TV Actor award, Norman spoke out to encourage other kids.“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” he said during his acceptance speech. “If someone says that your dreams are too big and too out there, and you can’t do them, just remember this… what they’re really saying is they can’t.”Norman spoke from personal experience. He was bullied because of dyslexia and his passion for acting.“[The bullying] happened while I was in middle school,” he explained on the Today show. “I have dyslexia so I didn’t get very good grades. I was acting and that’s kind of a little bit outside the norm.”Norman tells kids with learning and thinking differences that they can be successful.“So I just want to show that you can be successful,” he told US Weekly. “[Dyslexia] doesn’t mean you’re not smart.”Following the path to entrepreneurshipNorman isn’t content to remain just an actor. He’s taking on the business world, too.“Entrepreneurship was always something I really wanted to do,” he said. “My dad was an entrepreneur as well. He didn’t go to college and had dyslexia, and I also have dyslexia. It was calling me a little bit.”Teaming up with partners like NBA agent Michael Gruen, Norman launched Creator Edge Media, a millennial marketing company. Creator Edge Media helps brands get messages to consumers by tapping into young, influential creators.“I've met with a lot of business and entrepreneur people and literally half of them have dyslexia,” he told Rogue magazine. “I see all these success stories like Steve Jobs and all these crazy successful people who are dyslexic, so there are two sides to the coin.”“I think people look at it like a major disadvantage, and it is when it comes to school, but as I’ve got into entrepreneurship and got into business… I’ve learnt it can be a great advantage.”Learn what to do if you think your child might have dyslexia. Find out how to help your child tap into strengths. And dive into more dyslexia success stories.

  • The Opportunity Gap

    Does special education differ for the rich and the poor? Listen as the hosts take on tough questions about IEPs, race, and money.Choosing school huge decision families kids learn think differently. One concern whether special education better high-income schools. Another IEPs serve kids racially diverse low-income schools. Hosts Julian Saavedra Marissa Wallace take tough questions Understood users IEPs differ schools based income. discuss race, diversity, wealth play role special education services kids get. Related resourcesLearn school options like neighborhood charter schools. Avoid 5 common mistakes families make choosing school.We want feedback! Email thoughts show transcriptJulian: Welcome "The Opportunity Gap," podcast families kids color learn think differently. explore issues privilege, race, identity. goal help advocate child. I'm Julian Saavedra.Marissa: I'm Marissa Wallace. Julian worked together years teachers public charter school Philadelphia, saw opportunity gaps firsthand.Julian: we're parents kids color. personal us. Marissa: Hey, Julian, you? Julian: I'm chillin', chillin', chillin', what's going on? Marissa: I'm sure you're chillin', heard day today. must nice. nice Thursday off?Julian: Yes! first day without children don't know long and, know, like cook dabble. made tomato soup. Four different types tomatoes basil garden. See, Marissa, didn't know got like that, you?Marissa: Oh, goodness. guess it's jealousy time make delicious tomato soup put chicken nuggets air fryer family.Julian: Well, own.Marissa: sounds amazing. freeze tomato soup, know, I'll try next time.Julian: It'll gone time you get — it's probably gone right now. kids probably eating we're recording, so — Marissa: Man.Julian: I'm excited today! Andrew's building. What's up, Andrew?Andrew: Julian, I'm always here. way, air fryer probably best kitchen appliance ever invented. use time.Marissa: Absolutely! valuable player. Like, literally got us pandemic. thank you, air fryer. Julian: going today conversation, Andrew, talking about? Andrew: Yeah. topic asked take on. it's question whether special education differs wealthy schools versus so-called low-income schools. I've Understood bunch years, answer ton emails, and, let's real, emails white, affluent parents. them. show, pulled hardest parent questions topic. warn you, uh, pretty uncomfortable questions, think really interesting important get perspective on.Julian: Excellent, excellent. it's OK uncomfortable conversations. We're asking questions? we're going really find solutions. Marissa: think becomes comfortable talk it. explain special education is, explain IEP is, Individualized Education Program, like, there's much power something individualized meet needs students.Julian: Right. what's first question? Andrew: OK. here's first question. family wealthier school district, suburban school district, services IEP child better family low-income school district?Marissa: guess starting point understand student receive services IEP, Individualized Education Program, evaluation. that's first piece it. that's federal law. it's option law. required free appropriate public education. that's first thing think question, right? you're public wealthy school public low-income school, doesn't change you're held accountable to, like, law stays matter are. mean, though, harder part talk unpack is, mean doesn't influence you're located services get? Julian: Here's want open thoughts second. Number one, there's lot misconceptions happens quote-unquote low-income district. lot people education world normally exposure schools friends family word mouth, media tells them. lot times people base choose buy home, biggest purchase life, choose based certain scores certain schools reputation district is. necessarily equate quality teaching happening schools. If anything, would argue teachers high-needs, underprivileged areas are, many cases, best teachers business income financial things poverty systemic racism oppression, things product schools, necessarily. things schools deal manage wealthier schools might much of. comes what's happening building, can't blanketly say there's going vast difference quality teaching quality experience typical student wealthy versus low-income school.Marissa: agree statement, far as, like, quality educators. think area talk about, though, access certain actual opportunities depending upon district. conversation parent explained me, like, rationale exactly said, Julian. chose move wealthier school district thought child would better served access supplies access technology computers things nature knows kiddo needs, assistive technology. fearful school currently living lower-income district, wouldn't provide that.And think certain things, like, lived in — obviously lived pandemic, right? currently, child right going lower-income district school. kids district wealthier, already laptops. everything went virtual, didn't miss beat.Kids laptops, picked up. That's it. kiddo's school district he's now, happened, months kids laptops. Months. actually physically get money funding laptops. think there's access issues. that's hard part, think fantastic educators, especially working city school majority career, agree that, like, best humans best educators, 100 percent believe schools worked in. I've never worked wealthy school district. Julian: let ask one. So, Lincoln, son, he's multiracial. option, would keep place you're in, there's much access technology types resources quickly wealthier district, might environment that's diverse, might reflective culture? often not, wealthy districts also white districts.The way country is, there's many majority minority districts also wealthy. Like, doesn't exist. Like, there's many there. So, choice, would put situation might one two people color class 25, resources world, everything need? would keep spot he's in, it's diverse, might fancy new laptop MacBooks that?Marissa: Jules. so — conversation since kids babies, school. honestly, it's happened, right, I'm really happy choice made keeping termed "low-income" district area. one reasons absolutely idea diversity. Like he's one 20 kids, every race, truthfully, class his, like overall kindergarten, general. He laptop yet. So, know cousin goes wealthier school already brings home jazz. I'm really happy choice because, one, he's already talking openly others different cultures. two, like, something say, amazing teacher, it's like, that's hard part, right? never know kid's teacher going be. know, educators, relationships ability teachers strong classroom management, things really important. lot times, me, anyway, parent, want see item. give kid computer like, "OK, go ahead teach yourself." amazing teacher like Lincoln has, day actively there, like, putting show, teaching kids read two languages, right? They're multilingual cla

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