These online games help shatter misconceptions about learning and attention issues.
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Ad Council + Understood.org

What if you could see what life is like through someone else's eyes — just by playing an easy online game?

Like a word challenge! Seems simple enough.

Copying sentences? No sweat! (Right?)


OK. Maybe these games aren't so easy after all.

These games were designed by Understood.org to give people a sense of what it's like to have a learning or attention issue. Check out the video for more:

Understood.org created this series of simulations to help put parents and others in the shoes of children with learning and attention issues.

The simulation series, called Through Your Child's Eyes, is an interactive set of games designed to represent the challenges that many kids with learning and attention issues face. Learning and attention issues are brain-based difficulties in reading, writing, math, organization, focus, listening comprehension, social skills, motor skills, or a combination of these. Dyslexia and ADHD are some examples of common learning and attention issues.

After conducting extensive research with over 2,200 parents, Understood.org found that one theme kept coming up over and over again — the parents of these kids simply wanted to understand what their children were going through.

Let's face it: There are many misconceptions surrounding the topic. Some people think that learning and attention issues are an indicator of low IQ or that kids will outgrow them — not the case at all. In fact, kids with learning and attention issues can have above-average intelligence and even be gifted. If parents, teachers, and all of us can better understand the challenges these issues can create, we can better provide kids with the support they need to thrive in school and in life.

It's also crucial to understand that not all learning and attention issues are the same.

Perhaps a child has trouble recognizing certain words in a sentence. Or maybe dealing with numbers is what's giving them difficulty. Or maybe they're having a hard time paying attention in class.

Whatever the case may be, Through Your Child's Eyes addresses each scenario by separating the simulations into five different categories — reading, writing, attention, math, and organization. By experiencing each one, users get a much better sense of the specific challenges that accompany them.

More than just immersive games, Through Your Child's Eyes also offers practical solutions for parents to help their kids reach their fullest potential.

One of the most important ones is establishing a continuous dialogue with children about what they're going through. In this case, talking about everything at once might not be the best course of action. Rather, it's a process that needs to be addressed and adjusted on a regular basis, throughout a child’s journey.

Through Your Child's Eyes also has videos of children from preschool to grade 12 telling stories about their own experiences dealing with learning and attention issues. It’s a much more personal look into the challenges they face, along with the support from parents and teachers that made a difference to them — in their own words. After all, every child is unique.

That's why Understood.org gives parents a chance to customize their program in order to get more personalized resources and advice from experts and parents just like them.

It's a simple concept, but it can have a profound effect on a parent's point of view.

One loving mother definitely had her eyes opened. "I get it now, or at least I am beginning to," she told Understood.org. "My heart is a little lighter as I know that I have just found a key to unlocking my understanding and relatability to my precious children. ... I can’t wait to put into practice some of the new tools that I have just been equipped with!"

When they have a supportive network on their side, parents are able to create a more supportive environment at home and work hand-in-hand with teachers to make sure the best possible steps are being taken to nurture their children's gifts.

This only makes it easier for kids to be themselves and instills the kind of confidence that every kid should naturally have with them — every single day.

Curious to try the games for yourself? You can play all of them right here.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less