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 [...]

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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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Transformation

The holiday season is a time of transformation.  The landscape turns into a winter wonderland (more naturally in some parts of the country than others)! Attitudes and outlook are transformed. My living room has been transformed into a display case for a miniature winter village. Transformation is a hopeful idea.  It means that things that [...]

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How Retained Reflexes Impact Behavior and Learning

It’s the holidays, and along with the fun comes a whole other set of stressors that may cause already inflexible children (and their families) to miss the magic. Why Does My Child Act This Way? A big snowstorm near one airport can cause flight delays and cancellations all over the country.  While people got to [...]

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My Child’s Spelling is Atrocious. What Does it Mean?

I have some avid game players in my extended family, so when we get together for the holidays, we play all kinds of games, particularly word games, of which my mom is a wizard! For a dyslexic child or adult, word games can be an absolute nightmare. I met a neurosurgeon once who shared with [...]

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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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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 [...]

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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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“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 [...]

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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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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 [...]

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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 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 [...]

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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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7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 1

No Wonder Our Kids Are Struggling Research tells us that 30% of the population across the board has some degree of difficulty with the key auditory skill that supports efficient reading. One in five students are now thought to have dyslexia.  The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says that at least 5 percent of American children [...]

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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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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 [...]

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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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I Can’t Read a Thing, but My Teacher Thinks I’m A Reader

I Can’t Read a Thing, but My Teacher Thinks I’m A Reader                         -Dyslexic Second Grader How is it possible for a dyslexic non-reader to fool her parents and teacher to the point that they honestly believe that she can read? Dyslexic learners are [...]

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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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Frightened for My Child!

All the local theme parks advertising their fright-filled Halloween events, made me remember a deliciously scary Haunted House that I attended when I was 12.  The creepiest thing was being blindfolded and feeling “eyeballs” (AKA peeled grapes). It’s fun to be scared when you know it’s not real, but many parents spend years of sleepless [...]

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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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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, [...]

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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 [...]

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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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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 [...]

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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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Did Henry Ford Have it Right?

Henry Ford said,  “If you think you can, you can.  If you think you can’t, you can’t.” There’s a lot of wisdom and truth in that statement, but there are times when gutting it out just doesn’t work. I once knew a young man in his twenties who couldn’t read or spell. His dyslexia was [...]

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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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“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 [...]

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I Think I Can! I Think I Can! I Think I Can!

One of my favorite childhood books was The Little Engine That Could.  I loved that little blue engine!  He never ever gave up.  No matter how steep the hill was, he always went after it – he always believed he could do it. “I think I can!  I think I can!  I think I can!” [...]

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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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What Do I Say To My Child About His Learning Difference?

  A mom walked by with a baby who was wearing a soft helmet.  Being an unusual sight, I and most other people they passed glanced a little longer than typical at the baby. Why was a baby wearing a helmet like that? The question was quickly answered by the statement printed in large colorful [...]

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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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Information Overload or Filter Failure?

I don’t know about you, but email can be completely overwhelming to me.  Scattered among the truly important things, there must be ten times as many irrelevant items. Recently, my husband saved me from my inbox by going through and weeding out everything except the things I really needed to pay attention to.  He was [...]

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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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Multitasking or Scattered and Unfocused?

Is Social Media Helping or Hurting Attention and Executive Function? Have you watched a high school or college student do homework recently?  It’s quite a fantastic display of multi-tasking.  Or is it? I am amazed at how young people can switch so rapidly between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, and texting, all while doing an [...]

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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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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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Better Than a 5 Year Old

I Should Be Better Than a 5-Year Old, But Alas, I Fail Again! It’s that time of year.  Are you frantically wrapping presents?  Some people really have the knack for it and others just don’t! I caught a quick segment on the Today Show last week highlighting a social media comment about wrapping presents.  In [...]

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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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DYSLEXIA or ADHD?

We tested two boys last week with very similar learning strengths and challenges.  In testing, they both had good attention, but one became squirmy in his chair whenever he had to read. The squirmy little guy had been diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity).  He was never a problem in class, but was [...]

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“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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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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Laughter- A Good Attitude Adjuster!

Today is my sister-in-law’s birthday.  Growing up, my children always loved visits from Aunt Nancy because she was so much fun.  She would make them laugh and they would do anything for her! Laughter makes us feel good!  Laughter supports our health.  Laughter is just plain fun! Victor Borge said: Laughter is the shortest distance [...]

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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 [...]

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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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The Hidden Meaning Behind Disruptive Behavior

Someone emailed me a cartoon of a principal on the phone with a parent saying, “I wouldn’t say your son is a bad child.  He’s gifted in disruptive behavior.” Augh!  Not the phone call you want to get! Many years ago when I taught 4th grade, I had a student, Tony, who constantly made clever [...]

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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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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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