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 [...]

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.  [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 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 [...]

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? [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]