Stowell Learning Center

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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? [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

“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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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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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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

“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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]