Stowell Learning Center

Why isn’t EVERYBODY Talking about Auditory Processing?

I am continually astounded when I hear from many speech/language therapists and reading specialists that they know little to nothing about auditory processing.  How can that be when auditory processing is the very foundation of language and reading? Skills like speaking, reading, and other academic skills are like the branches and leaves of a tree.  [...]

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ADHD or APD?

Could Your Child’s “ADHD” actually be an Auditory Processing Disorder? Does this describe your child? Struggles to focus in a noisy environment Trouble paying attention in class Zones out in conversations Has difficulty following directions Fidgety and easily distracted Delayed response to questions Social, emotional, or behavioral problems Lower academic performance Sounds like ADHD, right?  [...]

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Reclaim Self-Esteem by Overcoming Learning Challenges

I was at the ice rink to watch a hockey game, but a 4-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother totally upstaged the game as they exuberantly raced up and down in front of the bleachers! Aren’t little kids great!  They embrace life with gusto and pull everyone around them into their adventure. As kids grow, [...]

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It’s Almost Time for the Holiday Craze!

It’s coming!  It’s inevitable.  So we might as well get on board and enjoy it!  I love the winter holidays, but they do come with their own special set of challenges. For kids with learning challenges, the excitement of the holidays may be laced with anxiety.  Schedules and activities at home and at school are [...]

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At Wit’s End is a Lonely Place to Be.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear this phrase! “We’re spending 4 hours a night in tears over homework.  I’m at my wit’s end!” “I see how hard she tries, but no matter how much we study, she still fails her tests.  I’m at my wit’s end.” “My son hates to read and [...]

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Happy Halloween!

I remember going to a “Haunted House” on Halloween when I was in the 6th grade.  At one point, we were given peeled grapes in the dark and told that they were eyeballs.  It was so deliciously creepy! What is it about that little thrill of fear that is so fun?  Maybe it’s that we [...]

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Rrrrrr….This is my “Reading Face”

Have you been to a pumpkin patch yet?  When my kids were young, this was one of our favorite Fall activities.  Such excitement and such a hard choice – picking exactly the right pumpkin! In addition to pumpkins and Breast Cancer Awareness, October is Dyslexia Awareness Month.  I find that our dyslexic students are some [...]

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Learning Disability Does NOT Equal Low IQ

David Letterman and Jay Leno both used to do “man-on-the-street” interviews.  In spite of all kinds of documentation on the contrary, a “man-on-the-street” interview would reveal that many people equate a learning disability with low IQ. Parents with smart but struggling students see far too much evidence of their child’s ability to accept the low [...]

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More Reading is NOT the Answer

Chris Botti is one of my favorite artists.  When asked the key to success as a musician, he said, “Four things – Practice, Practice, Practice, and being friends with Sting!” It is generally accepted (and generally true), that if you want to be good at something, you have to practice, practice, practice.  In his book, [...]

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Not Enough Change!

I learned something this weekend.  I was in New Hampshire and while I didn’t expect a foliage change yet, many people that we ran into were apologetic for the lack of colorful fall leaves.  They sadly predicted that the leaf change this year would not be as good as expected because it is too dry.  [...]

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A Teacher’s Dilemma – What Do I Do with a Non-Reader in My Classroom?

Last week, I got to spend some time with a dear friend who is a third grade teacher.  This friend was not only my college roommate, but is also a phenomenal teacher.  School had already started for her and she was telling me about a little boy in her class who was the most delayed [...]

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School’s Barely Started and He’s Already Distracted

With Back-to-School excitement waning and the reality of the new grade level expectations kicking in, struggling students are probably starting to become apparent.  The first and most obvious symptom of a learning challenge is poor attention. This may cause worried parents wonder if their child has ADHD. In our experience, attention challenges can mean many [...]

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DON’T Get LOST on the First Day of School!

I woke up this morning a little bit panicked from a dream I was having about the first day of school.  I was attending a new school that was essentially cabins spread out in a huge area in the woods.  (I know – crazy – but it was a dream)! My mom was with me [...]

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I’m Ambidextrous! Isn’t that cool?

Have you ever tried to write your name with your non-dominant hand?  It’s pretty funny, right?  And really challenging! So when we see a person who is ambidextrous and can use both hands equally to do things, it's seems pretty amazing.  In baseball, switch-hitters (players who can bat either right-handed or left handed) are in [...]

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Is My Child Dyslexic?

Dyslexia is coming to the forefront as more and more states are looking at legislation around dyslexia and education.  Most sources now site 20% of students as being dyslexic. Here are some questions to ask parents that will help them determine if dyslexia testing is warranted: Is there a family history of dyslexia? Was there [...]

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What Happens When the Wrong Thing Works?

July is the month of summer camps and growing up, our kids were no exception.  One summer, we went to Penticton, British Columbia so that our son, Kevin, could attend a one-week ice hockey camp. We were really fortunate that an NHL professional player, Ray Ferraro, had brought his son to the camp the same [...]

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Some Random Thoughts About Dad

On a rest stop on a beautiful river road bike ride yesterday, I found myself skipping rocks in the river and thinking about my dad.  I have a very special memory of my dad teaching me to skip rocks on a lake when I was probably 7 or 8 years old. Yesterday was Father’s Day, [...]

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Different and Proud of It!

The Today show aired a fun piece today about a little girl who opted to wear a hotdog costume to her dance class on Princess Day! Now that’s confidence!  I love the individuality of little kids and I love it when people aren’t afraid to be themselves. Being different because you choose to be is [...]

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7 Common Mistakes Parents Make When Their Child Has Difficulty With School Part 7

We’re finishing up our series on common mistakes that parents inadvertently make when their child struggles in school.  I hope you’ve found it helpful.  As parents we always do the very best we can for our kids, but often, having a bright child struggle with reading or some other aspect of school is new territory [...]

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7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 6

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

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7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 5

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

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7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 4

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

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7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 2

30% of ALL students struggle with some aspect of learning.  Most of these struggling students have average to above average IQ scores.  In other words, they have plenty of ability, but something isn’t working quite right. These students CAN be in regular or honors classes and learn as easily as the rest of the class, [...]

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Spring Flowers and Special Stressors for Struggling Students

We are getting one of those rare rain showers here in Southern California this morning.  It’s pretty amazing to me how instantly the hills and lawns green up with a little bit of rain.  Spring showers really do bring flowers! Year after year, we have seen that spring also seems to bring with it some [...]

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JFK, Sir Isaac Newton, and Making Real Changes for Children with Learning and Attention Challenges

My husband, David, writes a business tip for private practice owners every week.  I thought I’d share part of this week’s tip with you because it’s about change –  something we all want for our struggling students, yet something that comes with it’s own set of ups and downs. He writes (and I concur)… Recently, [...]

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I Want a Different Story For My Son

A parent was sharing with me recently about her son’s struggles in school.  He dreads going to school and comes home almost daily saying, “I’m not smart enough.”  The school has offered this boy a 504 Plan, which will allow him to have accommodations in the classroom, such as fewer spelling words, taking tests in [...]

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App Attack- Movement and Learning

I just saw a commercial on T.V. that terrifies me a little bit.  It shows a proud young couple with their toddler who is learning to recognize numbers and letters and even learning to read through an app on his iPad. Wow!  A toddler learning to read!  He’s going to be great in school, right? [...]

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The American Dream and LD

Yesterday was President’s Day and it brings back memories from my childhood of my parents saying, “If you work hard enough, you can do anything.  You could even be president of the United States someday!” What a great message for our kids! As parents spend hours and hours and hours wading through tears, avoidance, and arguments [...]

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I’m Not Lazy! I’m Coping!

My mom and I have season tickets to the Rubicon, a wonderful little professional theater in Ventura, CA.  Yesterday we saw a play that takes place towards the end of WWII.  The main character is a young man, Raleigh, who had enlisted in the army but was discharged before he could serve because he has [...]

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Why Does My Child Act This Way?

How Retained Reflexes Impact Behavior and Learning There was a big snowstorm on the east coast a couple of weeks ago.  It caused over 2000 airline flights to be cancelled.  I assume people got to their destinations eventually, but I also imagine that it caused a great deal of anxiety and disruption to people’s lives. [...]

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Dyslexia –Talents, Tears, and Solutions

A friend at church was catching me up on her grown sons.  As she talked about the incredible mechanical abilities of one of her sons, who can completely take apart car and motorcycle engines and easily reconstruct them, I thought, “He must be dyslexic.” Certainly not every person with strong mechanical abilities is dyslexic, but [...]

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The Making of Winners and Learners

Parents, Pushing the Limits, and Time Make Golden Globe Winners and Change the Future for Struggling Students Last night at the Golden Globe Awards, nearly every winner thanked their parents. They also thanked those who pushed them to their limits so that they could be the best they could be. When Leonardo DiCaprio won Best [...]

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Efficient Brain Pathways Lead to Stronger, Easier Learning

Welcome 2016! My husband David and I spent the first day of the new year taking an 18 mile bike ride at the beach with old friends.  What a great day! The bike path is fairly flat (always a plus!), has an unobstructed ocean view, and has a great sound track!  There are just a [...]

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Did I Waste Time and Money on Therapy?

Several years ago, we had a student whose challenges with speech articulation were so significant that his mom explained on our first meeting, that there were certain sounds that he could not physically say. Grayson was 11 and had had private speech therapy as well as speech services at school for most of his life.  [...]

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5 Tips for Empowering Kids and Building Self-Esteem

Most of the parents I speak to would put “Self-Esteem” at the top of their list of concerns for their children or teens with learning or attention challenges.  And rightly so, as confidence and self-esteem often take a beating when students struggle in school or with homework. You’re so awesome!  You’re so smart!  You’re an [...]

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Just Give Me My Sweet Kid Back!

Don't let dyslexia and other learning challenges rob your child of confidence! Periodically, I get the pleasure of hearing from former clients or their parents.  Last week, I got a call from a parent with an update on her son who is now happily married and a brand new father!  He attended college and is [...]

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Success…Gratitude…Thankfulness

"No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. 
The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude." Alfred North Whitehead Everyday at Stowell Learning Centers, we get the privilege of helping children and adults with learning and attention challenges achieve success. More aware…better at making friends…better readers…higher grades…more confident…easier to understand…better [...]

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22 Simple Strategies for Supporting Students Who Struggle with Learning And Attention

Do you need simple strategies that you can implement immediately to help your struggling students? Do you wish you could help students with ADHD improve their attention? Then save this date:  November 11, 2015 at 7 - 9 p.m. Jill Stowell, founder and executive director of Stowell Learning Centers, Inc. will be presenting at the [...]

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Why Isn’t the School Helping My Child?

Every week, I meet parents at our information meetings who feel discouraged with the schools.  Families raw from spending hours and hours doing homework every night feel alone and frustrated that the schools aren’t doing more. As a former mainstream and special education teacher, I would like to shed a little light on the subject. [...]

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What Does a Meltdown Mean?

Jessie, was a cute 7-year-old girl when she came to work with us at the Learning Center.  But her behavior wasn’t so cute.  In fact, when I think back on her first several sessions, I think of the Charles Schultz character, Pigpen, NOT because she was messy or dirty – far from it – but [...]

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“I’m Not a Reading Person”

Last week I had the pleasure of testing two very bright and very different dyslexic students.  One was 9.  We’ll call him Chris. Chris had tremendous confusion with letters.  He not only reversed b and d, but most other similar-looking letters, such as h and n; i and l; and t, f, and j.  He [...]

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“I Don’t Get It. What Do You Mean?”

Understanding and Correcting Comprehension Challenges My daughter has learned that volunteering to wait for the next flight when hers is overbooked is a good way to add to her travel funds.  And since she has an insatiable desire to travel, she makes a habit of asking. When flying home from Japan a few weeks ago, [...]

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The Auditory Processing – Emotional/Social Connection

Last month at Stowell Learning Center Chino, 25 students participated in our SLC Science Lab – AKA Big Fun Mess and Parents’ Night Out.  Only one of four experiments worked exactly as planned, but the night was a big success. The students had a good time working together to make a liquid kaleidoscope, and homemade [...]

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Dear Parents…From Your Teen

Last week we talked about kids and growing pains.  Emotionally, the “growing pains” that teens go through may be the most challenging for all involved. Neurologically, the teenage brain is still developing.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “in teens, the parts of the brain involved in emotional responses are fully online, or [...]

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Growing Pains- A Family Affair

If you are the parent of a growing child; if you’ve ever been the parent of a growing child; if you’re a child; or if you’ve ever been a child, you need to see the movie Inside Out. My husband and I rarely see animated films, now that our kids are grown, but at my [...]

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The Listening – Learning Connection

If you’re not listening, you’re not learning.  I think this is a pretty profound statement.  I realize there are many ways to learn, but our experience with thousands of children and adults with learning challenges has shown that the vast majority of individuals who struggle with learning, including dyslexia and attention challenges, have difficulties with [...]

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The Common Core Controversy

Most teachers and parents seem to have strong, emotional opinions about Common Core, the current emphasis in school curriculum.   It puts a huge emphasis on working with information as opposed to memorizing and reproducing information. If we want children to become good problem solvers and self-initiating learners, they need the kind of thinking skills developed [...]

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Conquering SATs, Test Anxiety, Senior Moments, and Learning Challenges

Tyler was a motivated high school junior, potential Ivy League football player, and solid AP (Advanced Placement) student.  But he was SAT-Challenged! Jessica was also an excellent student in her junior year in high school, but her test anxiety was so great it could only be controlled with prescription medication. Cheryl is a 50-something baby-boomer [...]

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Walking In Their Shoes

5 Things Parents and Teachers Should Know About Their Struggling Learner AND 5 Ways to Support Them We recently held a Simulation and Strategies Event at Stowell Learning Center, Chino.  The parents and teachers who attended got the opportunity to see what it might feel like to be a student in class with dyslexia, auditory [...]

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Child’s Play Develops Attention

“Look at me!” “Watch me do a handstand!” “Look at me jump!” Young children love to show off their physical prowess.  What parents may not realize is that the antics kids use to get attention are often building blocks for developing attention! I had a momentous birthday last week so I don’t do a lot [...]

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I HATE Feeling Crazy!

My father-in-law loved instruction manuals.  He would pour over the manual for any item he bought because he wanted to know exactly how it worked, all the things it could do, and what problems and solutions to expect. But kids don’t come with instruction manuals.  So we all step into parenting a little blindly.  It’s [...]

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Don’t Let Learning Challenges De-Rail Your Dreams

Saturday was a milestone day for my family.  Our son got married to a wonderful girl on a beautiful Southern California day!  We all have hopes and dreams for our kids, and this was certainly one of ours for our son. I speak daily with parents of smart, talented, wonderful kids whose hearts are breaking [...]

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Life with an Auditory Processing Disorder Sounds Different

This is a big week for my family.  My son is getting married on Saturday and we couldn’t be more delighted! As I was thinking about the upcoming reception, I remembered the mom of one of our students trying to describe to me what she thought it must be like for her son.  She said, [...]

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Got Rhythm?

Rhythm and Timing May be a Factor in Reading, Attention, and Learning Problems Every week I take a Whole Body Workout class at the gym.  I think it should be called Whole Body – Whole Brain Workout because it not only takes muscle power, but brainpower to coordinate all the simultaneous movements: Arms opening and [...]

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Mental Tools

Does Your Child Have the Right Tools for the Job? Weak underlying mental tools cause smart students to struggle in school. At our last parent information meeting, a homeschool mom shared that her teenage son was bright and willing, but getting increasingly frustrated and depressed over his struggles with schoolwork. She said, “I feel like [...]

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ADHD

I’m Not Losing Focus On Purpose! “Today was the best parent-teacher conference we’ve ever had!” Last week I heard a parent share this in our waiting room.  Fabulous!  The parent felt like celebrating instead of crying! The child in question is a smart, delightful girl who displayed one of the most dramatic attention challenges I [...]

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Overcoming Dyslexia

I’ve just got to share something that completely made my day! Last week, I was giving a Discover Reading workshop for learning center owners and directors.  They had come from around the country and really wanted to see what it would look like to do the program with a student. One of our students, a [...]

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The Teacher Says My Child is Struggling. Now What?

The Teacher Says My Child is Struggling.  Now what? When I was teaching in public school many years ago, I happened to teach in an area where most of the parents spoke only Spanish.  Therefore, my parent-teacher conferences were held in my far-less-than-perfect Spanish.  I remember that the parents were so gracious about it. One [...]

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Dreading Parent Teacher Conferences?

Loving Fall but Dreading Fall Parent Teacher Conferences? The East Coast does Fall right!  Crisp weather; brilliant red, yellow, and orange leaves on the tress, and pumpkins everywhere! There’s just something special about Fall.  A change in the weather - in most places!  (So. Cal. seems to be a bit stuck on the heat of summer).  [...]

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Augh!!! My Teacher Talks Too Fast!

What does horse racing have to do with people talking too fast?  Nothing really, but I wonder if that’s what it feels like to students with slow processing speed.  Race horses fly by in a blur. What would school be like if words flew by you in a blur? Students with learning challenges sometimes feel [...]

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“Am I Dumb?”

Last week I met a delightful mom who was trying to understand and get help for her equally delightful 8-year-old boy.  She shared that he came home from school asking “Mom, am I dumb?” I’ve heard this scenario so many times over the years.   Why would a smart child or teen or adult think they’re [...]

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I’m Not Being A Wild Child on Purpose!

Most of the time, parents bring their kids to us because they’re struggling with reading, math, or some other aspect of school.  But because the underlying skills that are needed for easy, efficient learning are the same skills that support behavior, attention, social skills, and overall functioning, there are many great changes that occur for [...]

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It’s a Turtles Life

Turtle Lessons Lesson #1 Standing on the beach in one of my favorite spots in the world, Honokawaii, Maui, I saw a giant sea turtle lazily sunning on the shore. With the start of school, most families are feeling anything but lazy.  But as I watched the turtle, it was a good reminder that no [...]

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Back-to-School Prep

Back-to-School – Excitement or Dread? Back-to-School sales are everywhere! When I was a kid, I loved the preparation for going back to school – new clothes, new shoes, and all the cool new school supplies! People like NEW!  Our brains like NEW – it’s interesting and different. But for families whose children have traditionally struggled [...]

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Sports and Concussions

We love our sports, but parents beware Growing up, my mom flatly refused to let my brothers play football.  It wasn’t because my dad loved baseball so much, but because of the possible head injuries associated with football. We are a pretty sport-driven society.  Most of the children and teens I know play some kind [...]

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It’s Fourth of July. Dogs and Sensitive Kids Beware!

It’s Fourth of July.  Dogs and Sensitive Kids Beware! My neighborhood happens to be one of the few in Southern California that allows people to shoot off their own fireworks.  With Fourth of July right around the corner, our evenings are now punctuated with unexpected explosions as people try out their fireworks. We love Fourth [...]

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Watch Out for the Technology Trap!

This adorable picture of 19-month old Jaxon matching letters on an iPad was posted by his mom on Instagram this week. Isn’t it amazing what technology can offer our kids these days.  Even more amazing is how adept kids (even toddlers) are with it!  It’s mind-boggling! What fun it is to see the problem-solving, attention, [...]

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Auditory Processing Problems Like Listening Underwater?

It’s Pool Time! From the time I was 12, I spent virtually everyday of the summer hanging out, or lifeguarding once I was old enough, at the high school pool.  Even now, the smell of chlorine at a pool brings back fond memories. If you’re an underwater swimmer, you know that sounds are very muffled [...]

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You Get an A For Effort but You Need to Try Harder!

I’m having trouble writing my blog this morning because I’m sitting at Starbucks trying to write and everyone around me is talking about the Kings’ huge win last night. I’m a big Kings fan, so it’s hard to not engage!  For those of you who are not NHL Hockey fans, the Los Angeles Kings are [...]

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All Kinds of Talents, All Kinds of Minds

I’m writing this on Memorial Day, a holiday that many of us value as a day off we get to spend with our families, but also a day to remember, with tremendous gratitude, the soldiers who have given their lives for their country and freedom. I got to thinking about what it takes to be a [...]

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STOP The Band-Aid Approach

STOP the Band-Aid Approach to Dealing with Learning Challenges Dr. David Angus, author of A Short Guide to a Long Life was recently on talk radio speaking about preventing and reversing disease and pain by addressing the root cause of the problem.  What struck me, besides my interest in health, was that his message was [...]

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It’s an Intervention Class! Intervene!

Attention challenges are really hard to understand – even for students who have them.  They have good intentions, and then find themselves daydreaming or doing something else when they should be working. A parent recently shared with me that her son, who has auditory processing, reading, math, and attention challenges, is in an intervention class [...]

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“I Got Glasses! Now I Can Be Smart!”

Homework is traditionally a battle of wills and tears at eight-year-old Sam’s house because he is so frustrated and struggles so much with reading. The day his mom got him some (secretly) plain glass glasses, Sam was ecstatic.  He told her, “Now I can be smart!”   Two thoughts struck me when Sam’s mom shared [...]

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“I Don’t Want My Son Accommodated!”

At a Parent Information Meeting recently, a mom shared about her 7-year-old’s reading challenges. She finished by saying, “I Don’t Want My Son Accommodated!” This is not a stubborn parent or a parent in denial. Of course she wants support in place at school to help her son feel more successful. But fewer spelling words [...]

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Do Not Pass Go – Go Straight to ADHD

Pay attention!  Pay attention!  Pay attention!  How many times can you tell a kid to pay attention before they finally get the message?  For some parents and teachers, it feels endless. Having worked with thousands of struggling learners over the years, I recognize that ADHD is a real and sometimes a devastating challenge for families. [...]

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High IQ and Academic Success

I once worked with a young man who was so dyslexic that he couldn’t recognize his middle name in print.  But he was also so smart, that he dated a reading specialist for several months and she never knew he couldn’t read! Smart children and adults who struggle academically are often pegged as lazy or [...]

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Aren’t Our Kids Awesome!

When my daughter was 5 years old, she and her friend, Drew, decided they would play an April Fools joke on us, so they glued 3 pennies to the pavement right by our front door.  They thought they were so clever!  And they were! Don’t you just love the funny, creative things kids do? We [...]

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Just Call Me “Braben”

After repeatedly reversing the d in his name, Braden told his teacher, “Just call me Braben!” I laughed when I heard this because this young boy is so delightful and good-natured.  But on further reflection, this is the very last thing that I want for our dyslexic students – to have to spend their life [...]

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Sometimes You Just Gotta Dance!

A couple of weeks ago, a family with a little boy about 8 years old walked into church a little late – the worship band was already rocking and everyone was standing and singing. The boy started dancing down the isle.  I thought, “Wow! He’s got great rhythm!” His dad, trying not to call attention [...]

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Voracious Reader

Yesterday at a baby shower, I ran into the mom of a former student who shared with me that her son, now 31, came to Stowell Learning Center when he was 7. She said, “We’re so grateful.  I don’t think he would ever have learned to read if it hadn’t been for his time at [...]

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Brain Lessons from the Olympics

Aren’t our Olympians amazing!  I can’t begin to imagine flying down a hill on a snowboard, launching into the air, doing three backwards rotations, then landing flat on the snow at top speed in preparation for another trick. I marvel that anyone could learn to do that with all of the bumps, bruises, and breaks [...]

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CNN Analysis

CNN Analysis:  Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders OK.  So now that the Super Bowl Hype and parties are over…Oh, wait, discussions of the game, the coaches the players, the ads ought to be worth another week, right? We love our sports and our athletes in this country, and having a son [...]

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“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass..”

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain… A friend of mine likes to put quotes following the signature line on her emails.  This was the one she used last week. Wouldn’t this be a great way to live?  Learning to take everything that comes and [...]

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Awesome Even on Your Worst Day!

As a competitive ice skater our daughter, Christy, could be quite hard on herself.  We would say to her, “On your worst day, you skate circles around everyone else.”  I don’t know if it made her feel any better, but it was true.  She was (and still is) a stunning skater, even when she’s having [...]

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Take a Break!

Recess is NOT just for school If you’re like me, you’re frantically trying to get presents wrapped and packages sent.  Here’s a gift you can give yourself and your kids in this last week before Christmas, and going forward into the new year:  a quick break to refresh and regroup. Learning to take a break [...]

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Special Gifts from Kids and for Kids

The Best Gift FROM Kids My grades are amazing!  My grades are amazing!  One of our junior high school boys came busting into his session at the learning center with this news recently.  Now that’s a great gift!  All the hard work that we, parents, and most importantly our student are putting in is paying [...]

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Cyber Monday

Beyond Black Friday…Refreshing Gifts for the Whole Family Today is Cyber-Monday.  Apparently, the internet is loaded with amazing deals for the consumer that are available today only!  I can just imagine all those cyber signals pushing and shoving through space to be the very first in line to make their purchase. I don’t like crowds [...]

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Success…Gratitude…Thankfulness

"No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. 
The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. " Alfred North Whitehead Everyday at Stowell Learning Centers, we get the privilege of helping children and adults with learning and attention challenges achieve success. More aware…better at making friends…better readers…higher grades…more confident…easier to [...]

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Fooled You!

I remember playing Hide-and-Seek as a kid. Our very best games were down at the state park by the beach because there were lots of fun places to hide.  We got such delight out of fooling our friends with a really great hiding place. In the right context, hiding can be fun.  But hiding your [...]

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Fright is Not Just for Halloween Night

BOO! A few weeks ago at our information meeting, a teenage girl shared:  “I want to do things without fear.” Struggles in school often have much bigger consequences than poor grades. Socially, kids, especially teens, are often fearful that someone will know they struggle and think they’re dumb. Students are afraid of disappointing their parents [...]

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She Cries and then I Cry

Dyslexia and Homework Just Don’t Mix “I hate homework!” shares the mom of a beautiful 10-year-old girl.  “It takes hours of pulling and fighting.  She cries and then I cry.  We need help!” What is a parent supposed to think when their child’s best effort at a story after hours of tears looks like this? [...]

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One Small Step…One Giant Leap

I was about 12 when men first landed on the moon.  I remember Neil Armstrong making his famous statement, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.” I have to admit; I didn’t quite appreciate how profound that moment and that statement were. Everyday, I get to see students with different [...]

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Did Einstein Feel Stupid Too?

I don’t like to point fingers at the schools because I know there are so many wonderful, caring teachers out there serving our kids and feeling terrible about those that they can’t seem to help, but Einstein’s quote does point out something that we find to be true all of the time at our center: [...]

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Sit Still, Already!

Legs swinging, feet kicking – at the dinner table, at the homework desk, any time seated in a chair.  That was my M.O. as a child.  I wasn’t even aware of it, but obviously my mom was, because I heard the infamous, “Sit still!” very often. I still have a tendency to fidget with my [...]

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Great at Sports but Lazy at School?

At Starbucks not too long ago, I overheard a group if young teenage girls talking about a softball tournament they had just participated in. They talked excitedly and knowledgeably about the game for a while, and then the conversation turned to school. One of the girls said about her performance at school, “I’m really lazy [...]

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Everyone Needs a Hula Hoop!

Have you ever known someone who repeatedly “invaded” your personal space?  They just stand or sit too close in conversation?  There is something really uncomfortable about that, even if the person is someone you know and like. Often I speak with parents who express concerns about their child’s social skills and ability to make and [...]

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Hooray for Persistent Parents

In a couple of hours, my brother-in-law, who was born with Down Syndrome, will fly home from Los Angeles to New York on his own.  This is quite an accomplishment for a guy whose parents were told when he was born, not to even bring him home from the hospital. Rob has been all over [...]

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The Gift of Movement and Unstructured Play

Living in Southern California, it can get pretty hot during the day in July, but it cools off really nicely in the evening.  One of the things my husband and I love to do is to sit outside at an outdoor food court near our home that has a huge round fountain in the center.  [...]

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Heartbroken Teachers

While in Colorado recently, one of our Distance Learning parents invited me to speak to a group of parents and teachers.  There was a kindergarten teacher in the group who was literally moved to tears by the plight of smart but struggling students. She shared that, as a classroom teacher she could see when a [...]

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Raising Fourth of July Kids

I’m a great believer in the American Dream.  I grew up in a family where anything was possible.  We didn’t have a whole lot of money, but my parents always told us kids that we could do anything we put our mind to. As I’m writing this, we’re just coming up to Fourth of July [...]

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