Stowell Learning Center

Good Teachers. Creative Techniques. Why Doesn’t my Kid Remember?

“After many preparations, we are ready for the marriage of Q and U!” When I read this post by a friend who is a  kindergarten teacher, I thought, “What a clever way to teach the concept that q is always followed by u.  Kids will remember that!” But some kids won’t. Why is it that [...]

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?  [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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.  [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

7 Easy Organizational Strategies to Help Students Start off the School Year Right

People are creatures of habit.  If we create structure and habits around homework from the very beginning of the school year, there will be fewer battles and negotiations later! Important Note:  These may seem obvious to you, but they are not obvious or easy for many students.  Each strategy will take instruction, practice, and monitoring [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

“I Want My Son to Love School Again”

“I just want my son to love school again,” said a mom at a recent parent information meeting.  She went on to share that the summer before her son began kindergarten, he was so excited about starting school that he asked repeatedly, “Can I start today?” That’s how learning should feel!  Like an adventure that [...]

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, [...]

A Student’s Perspective on SLC

I just have to share this with you.  This is an email I received from a 16-year old student on his last day at Stowell Learning Center.  This was a boy, who at 15, when he came to us, was so shutdown, and had such challenges with language and comprehension, that he didn’t look at [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 3

We’ve been looking at mistakes that parents inadvertently make when their children struggle in school.  The first 2 were Waiting too long before looking for help Assuming that learning struggles just aren’t that big a deal Here’s #3… Mistake #3 – Thinking  Students Will Grow Out Of Learning Problems Parents are often told or believe [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

Brain Break

From Break to Meltdown in 30 seconds – How Did that Happen? At mile 20 of a 21-mile bike ride this weekend, my husband and I stopped to take a little break.  It had gotten warm and we wanted to remove a few layers.  When we started riding again, my legs let me know that [...]

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? [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

“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 [...]

“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, [...]

Parent Education Classes and Registration

Need strategies for helping your child with homework or schoolwork?  Check out these Parent Education Classes held at SLC Chino. For more information and steps to register: click, download and print from the link below! Parent Education Classes and Registration

DYSLEXIA or ADHD?

Inattention is often the first and most obvious symptom seen by teachers when children struggle in school. This drives parents to their healthcare providers with the question, “Does my child have ADHD?” The challenge behind this question is that inattention, squirming in the chair, staring into space, slow to get started on tasks, poor listening, [...]

Back-to-School Apps Support Organization and Learning

There are Apps for absolutely everything these days, and sure enough, there are even Apps for Back-to-School! With so many students going back to school today or at least very shortly, I thought I’d share this article by John Patrick Pullen from Time Magazine: 6 Must-Have Back to School Apps http://time.com/3982036/back-best-school-apps/ This article highlights some [...]

Auditory Processing, Attention, and Survival

My mom is a huge fan of the TV reality series Survivor. She (and millions of others) never misses an episode.  If you watch the show, you’ll know that people will go to almost any lengths to survive.  And in fact, our brains are wired for survival at the most basic level and will work [...]

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 [...]

“Mom, I Need Adderall”

A parent recently shared with me that her high school son came home from school one day saying, “Mom, I need Adderall.”  Adderall is a medication commonly used to manage Attention Deficit Disorder / ADHD. It’s easy to blame attention for students’ struggles in school because that’s often what it looks like in class and [...]

Toddler Techies

I Can’t Believe The Experts Overlooked This When Talking About Child Development And Technology These images are a bit disturbing to me.  First because I’m afraid some of these babies may be more tech-savvy than I am!  And second, because as cool as this is, I’m not sure we’re doing our kids any favors by putting them in [...]

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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 [...]

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).  [...]

“This is So Boring!”

"I  hate History. It's boring." “I don’t want to do this homework.  It’s so borrrring!” (Said in a whiney voice) If you’re the parent of a school age student, you’ve probably heard this before.  If you’re the parent of a child who struggles in school, you have probably heard this, or something similar, more times [...]

Homework Blues Already?

At our Parent Information Meeting this week, a parent shared that her son spends 5 hours a night on what should be less than an hour of homework. Another parent said about their son, who also seems to do nothing but homework once he gets home from school, “We just want him to have his life [...]

“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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Lessons in Organization from the Circus

This weekend we went to the Ringling Brothers, Barnum, and Baily’s Circus.  Besides being truly amazed and a little bit terrified by some of the acts, I was struck by the incredible amount of organization involved. Everything ran like clockwork and everyone and everything was in its place, right down to the shovels and buckets [...]