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Understood: Making an Online Resource for Families

Photo of a boy seen through a large bubble

The Challenge

One in five children struggle with learning and attention issues, such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The parents and caregivers of these students often can feel isolated and stressed as they navigate the everyday shoals of school and society.

These parents need helpful, practical tools as well as expert advice to understand their child's challenges and make important decisions. They need information that they know is vetted and research-based. They also need a community, where they can share their stories and questions, and learn from others.

Strategies & Solutions

Fifteen nonprofits, including CAST, worked together to create, a web-based resource bank that gives parents everywhere access to world-class resources on learning and attention issues.

Drawing on extensive research with more than 2,200 parents, the 15 nonprofits together learned what tools and information those parents need. Understood editors and designers created a robust web resource with more than 1,800 articles, quizzes, slideshows, and infographics to build parents' understanding. Regular online expert "chats" and community boards also provide essential support.

The Understood team also developed first-of-their-kind tools like Through Your Child’s EyesParenting CoachTech Finder and a Decision Guide.

CAST provided technical assistance and advice on embedding Universal Design for Learning features to make the site more responsive and accessible. works equally well on computer, tablet and smartphone, using the best techniques for people with learning and attention issues.


Today parents have an innovative digital resource in English, Spanish and read-aloud formats where they can come to understand their children's learning and attention issues—and where they themselves can feel understood.

More than 2 million unique visitors came to the site in the first four months alone and 14,000 individuals have registered as part of the Understood community.

And the work is growing. Understood now has programs focused on educators, families, and young adults.

Visit the Understood website

Would you like to partner with CAST to create targeted resources?

CAST regularly partners with organizations in the public and private sectors to explore challenging questions in education. Our work is made possible by the generous financial support of foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals—all partners in the effort to make education more accessible, rewarding, and effective for all through Universal Design for Learning.

Find out more about our partners and funders

Donate to CAST

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