Learning & Attention Issues (2017)

Learning and Attention Issues - Case Studies


In the U.S., 1 in 5 children struggle with learning and attention issues, like dyslexia and ADHD, and all too often, these issues go unidentified. Learning and attention issues are lifelong, brain-based challenges that can cause difficulties in reading, writing, math, organization, focus, listening comprehension, social skills and motor skills. Children with these issues can be just as smart as their peers. Still, unawareness and misinformation prevents parents from getting the help their child needs. Parents feel alone – unable to understand what’s happening nor able to find relevant information about what they can do to help their child succeed academically, socially and emotionally.

Understood.org, a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, is a free resource and community that empowers parents through daily access to experts, personalized resources, interactive tools and a supportive network of fellow parents. With the right support from parents, educators and the community, children with learning and attention issues can thrive in school and in life.


Increase the number of parents who are actively helping and seeking help for their children with learning and attention issues.


Parents of children ages 7-13, who are struggling academically or socially and have yet to be formally identified with a learning or attention issue.


Learning and attention issues can look different to children and their parents. That’s why there's Understood, a free online resource with answers, advice, and tools to help your child thrive. Go from misunderstanding to Understood.org.


Over $111 million in donated media support from October 2014 through July 2017.


Awareness of the PSAs and of Understood.org has grown significantly since launch. Comparing baseline numbers from October 2014 to the latest data in July 2017:

  • 37% of parents who have children with formally identified learning and attention issues are aware of Understood.org, and 16% of parents who have children who struggle in school, but have not been formally identified, have heard of the site. Awareness of the website was strongly correlated with PSA awareness. 
  • Six in ten parents of children with formally identified learning and attention issues recall seeing or hearing a campaign PSA (58%), as do 42% of parents of children who struggle in school.

Because of this, more parents of children who struggle in school have learning and attention issues on their radar: significantly more parents are planning to test or have tested their child, an increase from 8% to 25%. Furthermore, PSA-aware parents of children who struggle in school are significantly more likely to be planning tests, to have tested a child or have considered learning and attention issues a possibility for their child.

Additionally, more and more parents of children who struggle in school, but have not been formally identified, are taking action: three times as many have spoken to a healthcare professional about their child’s academic or social struggles (8% rose to 19%); and significantly more parents have done research online about learning and attention issues (15% to 21%).

Most importantly, more and more parents are finding and using the tools at Understood.org: in the period from August 2016 to July 2017, there have been more than 24.5 million sessions to the site, an average of over 2.0 million sessions per month.

Updated as of October 2017

Help us improve this site!
Take our quick survey.

Ad Council Family of Sites