WEBSITE REVIEW: Understood.org
One of the many labels that people with ASD often have assigned to them before they get the correct diagnosis (including me!) is ADHD. The characteristics such as difficulties with sensory processing, staying focused on one task or being overly focused and difficulty regulating one’s emotions and behavior look so similar to autism spectrum disorders that the child or adult is thought to have ADHD instead of ASD. Now, it is found that there is a great deal of overlap between the two different conditions and the website Understand.org purports to help the reader have a clearer idea about the differences and similarities as well as ways to help children and teens manage their ADHD.
Understood.org is here to help. This site is so comprehensive and so vast that it’s hard to know where to start. The home page includes several featured articles at the bottom that the user can click on that include six sections, Learning & Attention Issues, School & Learning, Friends & Feelings, You & and Your Family, Community & Events, and Your Parent Toolkit. Each section includes several articles that one can read and videos to help one better understand the concepts at hand. At the bottom right of each article is a section called Keep Reading with a book icon that lists other articles that the reader might find helpful. There is such a wealth of material here that the reader needs to take her time when using the website to get the most out of it.
The best place to start would be to read the introductory article about ADHD that does an excellent job of describing the characteristics and similarities to ASD and how it is different from ASD so that the parent or teacher has a foundation to go by when using the site. There are places for parents to fill out a profile identifying their child’s needs in the parent toolkit section so that the parent can identify their child’s needs and find the right approaches for him or her.
There is a ton of information about schooling, including high school, how to navigate living with one’s family, learning how to make friends, establishing guidelines for dating and cellphone use, managing emotions such as anger, and much more. The organization into sections makes this easy and the clean, colorful layout with shades of blue and purple make for an attractive, easy to navigate website with just the right amount of information. I was impressed with how one can find additional articles about a subject of interest and the number of videos on each subject. This makes for a richer learning experience so that a mother or father can have the compass and roadmap they so badly need when Johnny has ADHD and has to take his Ritalin before his eighth grade classes or when Janey starts to daydream during 10th grade biology class.