Nonprofit Understood gives a voice to the neurodiverse community

The podcast network includes the program ‘How’d You Get THAT Job?!,’ which highlights the unexpected career paths of neurodivergent talent.

Neurodiverse people make up at least 20% of the adult population, but their stories, challenges and triumphs are often unheard.

Understood, a social impact organization serving children and adults with learning and thinking differences, wanted to provide a space for their voices to be uplifted and celebrated. 

On Thursday, the nonprofit revealed its Understood Podcast Network, which includes two new podcasts and one returning program. 

“How’d You Get THAT Job?!” is hosted by Eleni Matheou, who speaks to guests with learning and thinking differences about their unexpected career paths. The show shines a light on how neurodivergent people were able to find jobs that they love and feel reflect their identity. Guests include author Ryan Douglas, who has ADHD, and social studies teacher Chris Ivan.

The program shows that “just because you have a difference doesn’t mean you can’t go after that job,” Nathan Friedman, chief marketing officer at Understood, told Campaign US. 

“There are jobs, tips and practices that can benefit everybody.”

Another Understood podcast is “ADHD Aha!,” hosted by Laura Key. The show features people sharing the moment that it clicked that they or someone they know has ADHD.

Understood will also kick off the third season of “In It,” a podcast featuring host Amanda Morin exploring the joys and challenges of supporting kids who learn and think differently. 

The Understood Podcast Network was inspired by “In It,” which launched in 2018. The first season released 13 episodes, which received an estimated 100,000 downloads — a clear sign that people had an appetite for the content. 

“We took that and are evolving it to have meaningful conversations in different ways,” said Friedman. “We're trying to elevate perspectives for those who don't necessarily have a platform to connect and share their stories. We’re trying to underscore that everybody has an opportunity to thrive. Everybody is different. And those differences can be seen as strength.”

The Understood Podcast Network connects with its audience using storytelling and an “empathic” approach, Friedman added. “The topics that are discussed are oftentimes things people either don't feel comfortable talking about or don't know how. We're able to engage the audience.”

Advertising for the Understood Podcast Network is not yet available, but the network has plans to launch three more podcasts in the fall. Friedman is hopeful the podcasts will take off because it's an “untapped market” of stories that have yet to be told.

“We want to shift the attitudes and behaviors so that people realize that if somebody has a learning difference, it's not viewed as a negative,” said Friedman. “It's viewed as just a difference that people might have to do different things, but they have just as much potential as everybody else.”

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