Stowell Learning Center

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. [...]

Do Not Pass Go – Go Straight to ADHD thumbnail

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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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Tippy Toes and Learning Challenges

Starbucks is one of my favorite writing spots because 1) it’s acceptable to sit there alone with your computer, and 2) there are no interruptions.  And okay, 3) I like the drinks! So I was sitting at Starbucks the other day when two different families came in with their toddler boys who were almost exactly the [...]

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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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Go Moms!

Perseverance is Not Just for Athletes!  Go Moms!   I normally try NOT to watch ads on TV, but I’ve been quite drawn to some of the commercials aired during the Olympics. I’m not even sure what they’re advertising, but I love the commercials that show athletes as children going through both the excitement and [...]

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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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LDA Conference

In the past few weeks, as the rest of the nation has hit record low temperatures, I have been extremely grateful to be living in Southern California where we believe 60 degrees is “freezing!” In So Cal, we not only have the mountains and the beach nearby, but we also have the “Happiest Place on [...]

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Words to Self, Matter!

Socks and image can be found at www.notestoself.com   My mom is a great gift-giver (and a great gift-wrapper)!  This Christmas, one of the things she gave me was a pair of socks that says, “I am awesome!” If you’re like me, you’ve probably already disappointed yourself with regard to your New Year’s resolutions.  But [...]

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Have a Good Laugh!

Did you know that…   Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) into the bloodstream. Laughter supports your immune system. The vibrations from laughter shake the stress out of our organs. Laughter changes our mental state and it’s just plain fun! Laughter is an instant vacation. ~ Milton Berle Wishing you love and laughter this holiday season [...]

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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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I Never Make BIG MISTEAKS!

When I was growing up, we had a giant pink eraser printed with the words, “I never make BIG MISTEAKS!” Obviously, it was a joke, but there are some people who would not find this funny at all.  For some students, learning is so full of potholes that every little mistake they make is a [...]

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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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Not for Kids Only

First baby on the way! A time of great excitement and more than a little trepidation. I think all new parents feel this way, but one young woman I spoke with recently had an additional fear that most new parents don’t have to consider:  “What if I can’t help my child with his homework when [...]

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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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Football and Fresh Starts

I’m not really a football fan, but I have to admit, the sound of football on TV brings a smile to my face.  It signals the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, but each new season, especially Fall, seems like a new beginning – a fresh [...]

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Maui Moments Anytime, Anyplace

I woke up this morning in one of my favorite places in the whole world – Maui.  In fact, as we speak, I can see giant sea turtles popping up and down in the surf just feet away from the deck where I’m sitting.  (I know, it’s pretty pathetic to be working on my computer [...]

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I Can’t Wait to Go to School and Use What I Learned!

Ten-year-old Hannah spent 6 weeks of her summer working 3 hours a day in an intensive learning program at our center.  As we sat down to begin her retesting, I asked her how she was feeling about what she had learned. “I’m very happy that I came,” she exclaimed.  “I can’t wait to go to [...]

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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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Love Those Sneakers!

Two pipes coming out of a wall are just two pipes coming out of a wall, right?  I guess that depends upon who’s looking at them! My first reaction when I saw this picture was delight.  My next thought was, “That artist must be dyslexic.” I realize that’s a gross generalization.  Certainly not all artists [...]

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My Students, My Heroes

Mission Possible!  That’s our theme this summer at the learning center, and what fun it is to watch students carry out their missions in reading, meeting new people, developing new skills, and problem solving. On all the doors around the center, staff has put up inspirational stories about people who have persevered and met their [...]

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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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Real Life Word Problems and Other Ways to Apply Skills Over the Summer

I’m looking out the window at Southern California’s June gloom, so I know summer is right around the corner. While the end of the school year and homework often comes as a relief to parents, many also become fearful that their kids will lose ground over the summer break. For the next couple of weeks, [...]

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The Family’s Not The Problem

The Family’s Not The Problem. The Problem Is The Problem And The Problem Can Be Solved. This statement was made by a colleague, a local Marriage and Family Therapist, Judy Riggan, and I thought it was brilliant. We both work with children and families who are dealing with learning challenges of some kind and were [...]

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Sometimes it Takes More Than a Tutor (Part 3)

This week we’ll finish looking at 5 big differences between tutoring and cognitive educational therapy, and how you know which is right for your child. #1 Tutoring typically focuses on supporting academic skills or school subjects and cognitive educational therapy addresses the underlying processing or thinking skills that are needed in order for a someone [...]

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Sometimes it Takes More Than a Tutor (Part 2)

5 Differences Between Tutoring and Cognitive Educational Therapy Last week we started talking about 5 big differences between tutoring and cognitive educational therapy, and how you know which is right for your child. #1 Tutoring typically focuses on academic skills or school subjects and cognitive educational therapy addresses the underlying processing or thinking skills that [...]

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