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.  [...]

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?  [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Not Enough Change!

I learned something this weekend.  I was in New Hampshire and while I didn’t expect a foliage change yet, many people that we ran into were apologetic for the lack of colorful fall leaves.  They sadly predicted that the leaf change this year would not be as good as expected because it is too dry.  [...]

A Teacher’s Dilemma – What Do I Do with a Non-Reader in My Classroom?

Last week, I got to spend some time with a dear friend who is a third grade teacher.  This friend was not only my college roommate, but is also a phenomenal teacher.  School had already started for her and she was telling me about a little boy in her class who was the most delayed [...]

School’s Barely Started and He’s Already Distracted

With Back-to-School excitement waning and the reality of the new grade level expectations kicking in, struggling students are probably starting to become apparent.  The first and most obvious symptom of a learning challenge is poor attention. This may cause worried parents wonder if their child has ADHD. In our experience, attention challenges can mean many [...]

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

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

DON’T Get LOST on the First Day of School!

I woke up this morning a little bit panicked from a dream I was having about the first day of school.  I was attending a new school that was essentially cabins spread out in a huge area in the woods.  (I know – crazy – but it was a dream)! My mom was with me [...]

I’m Ambidextrous! Isn’t that cool?

Have you ever tried to write your name with your non-dominant hand?  It’s pretty funny, right?  And really challenging! So when we see a person who is ambidextrous and can use both hands equally to do things, it's seems pretty amazing.  In baseball, switch-hitters (players who can bat either right-handed or left handed) are in [...]

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 [...]

Different and Proud of It!

The Today show aired a fun piece today about a little girl who opted to wear a hotdog costume to her dance class on Princess Day! Now that’s confidence!  I love the individuality of little kids and I love it when people aren’t afraid to be themselves. Being different because you choose to be is [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make When Their Child Has Difficulty With School Part 7

We’re finishing up our series on common mistakes that parents inadvertently make when their child struggles in school.  I hope you’ve found it helpful.  As parents we always do the very best we can for our kids, but often, having a bright child struggle with reading or some other aspect of school is new territory [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 6

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 5

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 4

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

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

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

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 2

30% of ALL students struggle with some aspect of learning.  Most of these struggling students have average to above average IQ scores.  In other words, they have plenty of ability, but something isn’t working quite right. These students CAN be in regular or honors classes and learn as easily as the rest of the class, [...]

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 [...]

JFK, Sir Isaac Newton, and Making Real Changes for Children with Learning and Attention Challenges

My husband, David, writes a business tip for private practice owners every week.  I thought I’d share part of this week’s tip with you because it’s about change –  something we all want for our struggling students, yet something that comes with it’s own set of ups and downs. He writes (and I concur)… Recently, [...]

I Want a Different Story For My Son

A parent was sharing with me recently about her son’s struggles in school.  He dreads going to school and comes home almost daily saying, “I’m not smart enough.”  The school has offered this boy a 504 Plan, which will allow him to have accommodations in the classroom, such as fewer spelling words, taking tests in [...]

Brain Break

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

App Attack- Movement and Learning

I just saw a commercial on T.V. that terrifies me a little bit.  It shows a proud young couple with their toddler who is learning to recognize numbers and letters and even learning to read through an app on his iPad. Wow!  A toddler learning to read!  He’s going to be great in school, right? [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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.  [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

What Does a Meltdown Mean?

Jessie, was a cute 7-year-old girl when she came to work with us at the Learning Center.  But her behavior wasn’t so cute.  In fact, when I think back on her first several sessions, I think of the Charles Schultz character, Pigpen, NOT because she was messy or dirty – far from it – but [...]

“I’m Not a Reading Person”

Last week I had the pleasure of testing two very bright and very different dyslexic students.  One was 9.  We’ll call him Chris. Chris had tremendous confusion with letters.  He not only reversed b and d, but most other similar-looking letters, such as h and n; i and l; and t, f, and j.  He [...]

“I Don’t Get It. What Do You Mean?”

Understanding and Correcting Comprehension Challenges My daughter has learned that volunteering to wait for the next flight when hers is overbooked is a good way to add to her travel funds.  And since she has an insatiable desire to travel, she makes a habit of asking. When flying home from Japan a few weeks ago, [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

“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 [...]

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!” [...]

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 [...]

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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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 [...]