One in five children has learning or attention issues, and for their parents, effectively navigating the journey to help their children thrive in school and in life can be challenging.
For the first time ever, 15 nonprofit organizations specialized in helping kids with learning and attention issues have come together to create a single resource so that all parents can find clear answers to complex issues, and personalized support they can trust.
These groups are introducing the website Understood.org developed by digital agency Digital Pulp and supported with a multifaceted awareness campaign through the Ad Council. "We are not the first website to offer this concept, but the stars aligned and it leverages the best technology out there to provide a much more interactive, multimedia experience," says Gene Lewis, CCO of Digital Pulp.
Digital Pulp built the site to elicit empathy from parents by developing frustrating interactive simulations that mimic the child’s experience with math and reading comprehension. The simulations will take parents through exercises that throw them for a loop, like adding up standard U.S. coins with unusual numerical values within a stress-inducing time limit. "Most experiences are designed by providing the user with what it is like to have the disability. So, for instance, you see numbers backward with dyslexia," says Digital Pulp's Lewis. "But that viewpoint is irrelevant and incomplete. What we did is add the extra layer of frustration that comes with the disability, like time pressures when they can't figure out an answer."
The site also builds a personalized journey for parents based on the information they enter into their profiles (i.e. age and issue), and coaches them on navigating their kids’
Meanwhile, the Ad Council is launching a three-year public-service awareness (PSA) campaign that will include television, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs in English and Spanish. "We aren't just translating the words into Spanish, but [instead| developing the site fully incorporating their preferences [and behaviors|," says Priscilla Rodriguez, Vice President at the Poses Family Foundation, a New York City-based family foundation that collaborated on this project.
The PSAs will be distributed to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide and will run in time and space donated by the media. The campaign was developed in partnership with the Ad Council and created pro bono by Publicis Kaplan Thaler.
In addition to the PSA campaign, Understood is working with leaders in a variety of fields including entertainment, sports, media and politics to help inspire parents on their journey and remind them that they’re not alone. Understood’s Board of Advocates includes Robert De Niro, Grace Hightower De Niro, Harry Belafonte, Ari Emanuel, Brad Falchuk, Whoopi Goldberg, Daymond John, Kenny Johnson, Lisa Ling, Greg Louganis, Howie Mandel, Steve McQueen, Alyssa Milano, Holly Robinson Peete and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.
“Understood.org and this campaign provide crucial information and resources for parents throughout the country who may not know where to turn to get support,” said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are proud of the breadth of this partnership and the extraordinary resource—Understood.org—and believe that together we will create a national conversation about the importance of addressing learning and attention issues."