Forum Raises Awareness For Kids With Learning and Attention Issues

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DES MOINES, Iowa –Parents and education experts gathered at the Science Center of Iowa for a forum focused on helping students with attention and learning issues succeed in school.

An organization called Understood hosted the Understanding 1 in 5 Forum, which featured opening remarks from Governor Terry Branstad and a group of panelists. Understood.org formed in October 2014 with support from 15 non-profits to raise awareness that 1 in 5 students struggle with learning and attention issues.

Parent Advocate and Panelist Amanda Morin said, "I have three kids, two of whom have learning and attention issues.”

She said as a former teacher and early intervention specialist she spotted early warning signs. “With the right support they're thriving, they're absolutely thriving. And, for me, to have the support of something like Understood has provided me with support that I can thrive as a parent too."

Learning and attention issues include ADHD and Dyslexia, which can cause trouble with reading, writing, math, social skills, or a combination of those. Understood.org offers free resources for parents. Kevin Hager said, “We have 2,000 pieces of content, and they're personalized to the needs and attention of your kids. You enter, 'I have a kindergartner that has attention issues' and it personalizes the site for you."

He continued, "We know this is a complex journey and can be really daunting at times, so we want to walk hand and hand with parents through that journey."

This is the first of four forums that will take place across the country in the coming weeks. The next is in New Hampshire.