In this Episode
Jill Stowell shares with Stacy Payne, Executive Director of Bright Beginnings Pediatric Services, the trends that inspired her to write this book.
In this week's episode, you'll learn:
- Learn how Jill’s new book builds upon At Wit’s End
- Trends, parent concerns and stories that inspired Jill to write the new book
- What real results and transformation look like when you “take the stone out the shoe”
“There is a real assumption that kids have all the skills they need to learn and behave in school…the brain research and the clinical evidence has been out there now for decades to prove that that's not true, and our kids are suffering because of that misconception” - Jill Stowell
- Take the Stone Out of the Shoe: A Must-Have Guide to Understanding, Supporting, and Correcting Dyslexia, Learning, and Attention Challenges - Jill's new book available on Amazon
- IEP Toolbox Bookclub Series - We are excited to announce our monthly in the new school year where we'll be reviewing the practical tools and strategies from Take the Stone Out of the Shoe. Our first meeting will be Tuesday, September 13th at 5:00 p.m. Pacific.
[00:00:05.290] - Lauren Ma
Welcome to the live Webinar for Take the Stone Out of the Shoe: A Must Have Guide to Understanding, Supporting, and Correcting Dyslexia, Learning and Attention Challenges. Here is the new book by Jill Stowell. It's already a number one release and best seller on Amazon. So thank you for all your support and helping us in our mission to end the struggle of learning and attention challenges so that children and adults can unlock their true potential and thrive. We're so excited for today's webinar. Today we have a special guest interviewer. Stacy Payne, founder and Executive Director of Bright Beginnings Pediatric Services in Los Angeles, California. She and Jill Stowell, founder and Executive Director of Stowell Learning Centers, will be talking about Jill's new book: Take the Stone Out of the Shoe and her journey in the field of learning and attention challenges. Welcome, Stacy and Jill. So excited.
[00:01:04.730] - Jill Stowell
Thank you, Lauren. Thank you. Thank you, Lauren and Stacey. It's just so fun to have you back on LD Expert, and I'm really looking forward to switching roles with you today.
[00:01:17.710] - Stacy Payne
I know. How about that? We'll see how this goes. I'm excited. Thanks for the opportunity. And Jill, you're one of my favorite people, one of the brightest minds in this field, so I am so honored and my mentor in this area. And I have grown so much over the years from a speech pathologist to being able to offer a really integrative approach in a unique way. So thank you for that and this is going to be so much fun. Thank you. So I want folks to know a little bit more about you and where you were before you started Stowell Learning Centers and what prompted you to make that leap, to take what you know as a special educator and educator into this private practice world with the Learning Center.
[00:02:07.010] - Jill Stowell
Wow, that was such a long time ago. I was a special education teacher, a resource specialist, working with kids with learning disabilities. So bright kids who struggled academically. I loved my job, I loved my school, I loved my kids, but I never could quite make enough of a difference for them. And I remember one student in particular, I think about him a lot actually. His name was Frankie. He was twelve. He was a really smart boy, but he was also a pretty scary kid because he was entrenched in a street gang already by twelve years old. The kids in the school were scared of him. The teachers were kind of scared of him too. But he was my student because he couldn't read. And I really liked him. I promised him that I would teach him to read, but at the end of the day, I couldn't. I didn't know how to get to the root of the problem. And in fact, at that time I didn't really understand that there was something under reading skills that needed to be addressed. But what I did know was that this just didn't make sense. This just couldn't be right, that bright kids like Frankie were going to have to go through their whole life finding ways to compensate or get around their learning challenges.
[00:03:56.510] - Jill Stowell
A lot of times that leads to poor choices, as it did for Frankie, and I shudder to think where he is today. So when he went on to 7th grade, I left the public schools in search of answers for these kids. And that started me on a journey of trying to find the experts all around the world in the field of brain research and reading and learning and attention. And it's led here. It's been kind of an amazing journey.
[00:04:36.290] - Stacy Payne
I'm so glad it led you here. When did you feel like at what moment or what part of your journey did you feel like you were really onto something and you started to see things working for students like Frankie?
[00:04:50.330] - Jill Stowell
You know, it's funny, I think that kind of happens frequently. Like almost every day we get AHA moments. But a lot of people, I imagine, who are on the webinar today know of Linda Mood Bell learning processes. Well, Pat Lindamood was an incredible researcher, I think way ahead of her time. She was my first mentor in this field. She really targeted an auditory skill, which we now talk about as phonemic awareness that had to be in place in order to really be a good reader. And so that was my first understanding that there might be something under those academic skills that we needed to take a look at. And then all along the way, every time I got a student who couldn't seem to learn with what I knew, then I had to go out and find the people who were doing the work in that area and bring that back. And that continues to happen even today that we're still finding kids that we've got to find more answers for. So lots of little defining moments along the way.
[00:06:17.570] - Stacy Payne
Yeah. And it's been 35 years since you've been running Stowell Learning Centers. What keeps you going and in search of finding that special thing that's going to unlock potential in students?
[00:06:33.770] - Jill Stowell
Absolutely. It's the kids and their families and the changes that they make. I mean, every single day, I guess we're kind of nerdy like this at the learning centers, but we get really excited every day about these little changes that we see our kids make and changes that the parents report to us that impact the whole family at this time of year, especially May, we get all these graduation announcements. And that's really fun, getting the announcements from kids graduating from high school or college or graduate degrees and hearing from the students or the parents, usually the parents just saying, you know, he would not have gotten here without the work that he did at the learning center. So that's super validating and super motivating.
[00:07:36.090] - Stacy Payne
Yeah. That's awesome. And then let me just ask you, what would you say would be one of the most important lessons that you've learned as a professional, as a mom, as a business owner, clinician over these last 35 years?
[00:07:54.510] - Jill Stowell
Children do well when they can. In fact, people do well when they can. We at the learning center. We always kind of look at behaviors as a teaching moment. If a child is not doing well, whether it's behavior or academically or socially, there are usually lagging skills underneath that that are getting in the way. So that's the big learning that has just been validated to me over and over and over. There's always something under the symptoms or the behavior that we see.
[00:08:38.290] - Stacy Payne
Yeah. And then what do you think? What is that the most frequently occurring symptoms? What is the symptom that you see the most that impacts learning and attention challenges? Is there one that seems to be the most commonly occurring or the most difficult thing for kids?
[00:08:57.750] - Jill Stowell
I think that attention is probably the symptom that people see the most, because no matter what the issue is that's going on, it's going to stress your attention. So if you have auditory processing issues, then it's going to be really hard to listen, and maybe you can tune in for a while, but pretty soon you're sort of drifting off and it looks like you're not paying attention. Or if you're dyslexic or have other reading or comprehension challenges, reading is going to be really, really hard. And so maybe you start doodling or you start playing with things or talking to friends. That's a huge one. I think that people see his attention.
[00:09:47.380] - Stacy Payne
Yeah, good point. That's a really good point, because it does tax the whole system. If you're overworking, it's just very difficult to sustain, and you've got to check out and give your brain a break. So it makes perfect sense. So I want to talk a little bit about this new book. One of my favorites has been At Wit's End, which is the book you wrote already a decade ago. I can't believe it. I hand it out all the time. It is such a great tool and a resource for parents to understand. I don't know how many parents I've had that I give the book to, and they go, Oh, my gosh, this is my kid. How does she know this is exactly my child? And things have not been explained in the way that you explain it. And it's such an eye opener and such a great resource. So I'm so excited about this. Take the Stone Out of the Shoe. What did you feel that was important for you to write this book? Now, what's different? What can my clients or my parents that are interested in our learning program find in here that's different from At Wit's End?
[00:10:58.250] - Jill Stowell
Well, that really has three different answers. I wrote At Wit's End, actually. It came out in 2010. So twelve years ago. And even after twelve years, it is still a common belief that accommodations are the best way to address a learning challenge. So I want you to imagine just for a minute that you are a really talented soccer player and you go out to play soccer, but you have a stone in your shoe. So the coach takes you aside and gives you special lessons for running with a stone in your shoe. And then you go back in the game. But even though you have tons of potential and you're really motivated, you love the game, it's still a lot harder for you to play than your teammates because you have a stone in your shoe. Well, our students with learning disabilities and dyslexia, they're basically operating with a stone in their shoe. I mean, it's not as easy to correct as just taking the shoe off and taking the stone out. But the thing is, there are underlying skills that are not supporting them well enough. And once those are developed, it's kind of like taking the stone out of the shoe.
[00:12:21.780] - Jill Stowell
They now are able to operate on a level playing field. It just is so frustrating to me. We've been doing this for over 35 years, and that is still not a common understanding. So that was why I started writing a book. But then parents were asking for two things. They were asking for strategies that they could use. In fact, teachers also were asking, what are some strategies we can use to support our kids at home and in the classroom? And the other thing was that I think in their gut, they really believe that it is true that their child shouldn't have to work around these things, that there's a way to permanently change it. But at the same time, they are good consumers. And so a lot of parents have asked us, where's the research behind it? What's the science? And so part two of Take the Stone Out of the Shoe is techniques and strategies. And part three is all about the research and science.
[00:13:43.650] - Stacy Payne
It's so comprehensive. And you're right, people this day and age are hungry for research. They want to use techniques and tools that are proven by research, that are backed by science, that are backed by proven theories. So I love that you combined all of those, and it really is the parents who notice. I always tell my families you're the expert on your child, whatever, physician, therapist, teacher. Yes, they're the experts in their area of expertise, and they know what they know and can help along the way. But never lose sight that you are the expert on your child. You know them better than anybody. And so to be able to empower parents in that way, it's a very unique place to be and a real powerful and special thing to be able to do to help. And you're right, not a lot of people know, and I don't know why the thinking is still the way it is, that these things can't be changed and improved for parents. What do you hear most from parents? What is their feeling in terms of watching their children kind of struggling through school? Is there a common thing that you hear from parents, maybe a first indicator or something that they witness in their child that lets them know, gosh, something isn't quite working right?
[00:15:14.530] - Jill Stowell
I think the thing that I hear universally from parents is a concern about low self esteem and lack of confidence, or loss of confidence. They have these bright, capable, often very talented kids, but those same kids are going to school every day with this fear of looking foolish. So they're afraid they're going to get called on and they're not going to be in the right spot, or they're going to say something stupid, or they're supposed to turn their homework in, but now they can't find it, or they're going to be asked to do something they can't do. And doing that day after day after day is traumatic and it starts to chip away at their self esteem and their confidence and just over and over from parents, I just want my child to love school again. I want them to feel confident, to believe that they can do this.
[00:16:28.690] - Stacy Payne
I hear the same thing. It's that fear or the child vocalizing that they don't feel as smart as their classmates. And that doesn't have to be, yeah, I'm a parent and maybe we can talk about this later, but I have a couple of kids with some special learning challenges and so I know how that feels. You feel helpless, you're worried, and you don't really know what to do to make it better for your child. Right. More worksheets doesn't help. It just doesn't. Extra time just means an extra half hour of stress and worry and frustration on the part of the kids. In many instances.
[00:17:16.610] - Jill Stowell
You feel very alone too.
[00:17:18.730] - Stacy Payne
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Especially in Southern California. I'm in Los Angeles. It's super competitive and I don't know how many times I have been talking to other parents. Even at elementary school, there's so much competition and so much I think I don't want to say parent ego, but we love to brag about our kids when they're doing things well, and we feel really bad when things are harder for our child than their peers. So have any of those parent concerns that you've heard over the years, over the 35 years, has it changed at all? Do you see any different trends, different feelings, different worries?
[00:18:02.750] - Jill Stowell
Not really. It never has really been about the grades for most parents. It really has been about their child feeling good about themselves. The one thing that has, in my experience, dramatically increased though, is anxiety. And so we do have a lot of parents who are very concerned, rightfully so, about the anxiety that their kids are also experiencing as a result of.
[00:18:39.360] - Stacy Payne
This and at very young ages as well?
[00:18:41.670] - Jill Stowell
[00:18:45.570] - Stacy Payne
Is there a learning disability or challenge that kids have with learning that you find is overlooked or misunderstood? Is there one that stands out to you more than others?
[00:19:00.450] - Jill Stowell
There is. And I might have a bias here because we work so much with auditory processing, but I think auditory processing is very much overlooked and misunderstood because it's not obvious. It just kind of looks like kids aren't really paying attention a lot of times. But we have found that in most cases, learning challenges have some connection to auditory I mean, there are many underlying skills, but auditory processing is a big one. And since we're talking about the book, I want to just read you a little section here. It's on page 82. And it's hard to get the message when you have a bad connection. Perhaps the best way to understand the ramifications of an auditory processing problem is to think about what it's like to be in an important conversation with a bad cell phone connection. You find yourself having to listen extremely hard, and any extra noise around you becomes irritating and hard to block out because the signal is not clear. You miss part of what the speaker is saying, and you find yourself saying, what did you say? And struggling to fill in the gaps. You're not exactly sure what the speaker said, but you don't want to sound stupid or uninterested, so you make what you think is an appropriate response.
[00:20:43.590] - Jill Stowell
When that backfires, because you respond incorrectly or inappropriately, you have to explain about the bad cell phone connection and why you misinterpreted what they said. It takes so much energy to keep up with this conversation that you find your attention drifting. You feel distracted and frustrated and important conversation or not, you just want to get off the phone. Luckily for cell phone users, the way to a better connection is to hang up and try again. But for students with auditory processing challenges, this is life.
[00:21:25.990] - Stacy Payne
Yeah. That's powerful. Yeah, and I do it all the time. I don't know what's happened with 5G, but it's ruining my life because phone calls are dropping. And how difficult would it be to go through life and try to learn when your system, your auditory processing system, is failing you? Near impossible. And it certainly takes a lot of energy and attention. And so it makes perfect sense that the attention system could suffer, and it could look like you've got a kid who's wiggling in his seat because of inattentiveness or ADHD or ADD, but really they just need to break and check out for a moment because it's too cognitively tasking to sit and try to fill in the pieces, fill in the gaps for the message.
[00:22:15.720] - Jill Stowell
Right. And it actually takes so much more attention and energy, and that's one of the things that a lot of times we don't realize is that these kids that look like they're not trying as hard as they should or they look like they're checked out or not paying attention actually they are putting out so much more effort and energy to do the job than their classmates.
[00:22:42.810] - Stacy Payne
Yeah. And that can feel defeating for a student, I imagine. So can you give us a scenario and then maybe a strategy? The book is full of different strategies. Can you introduce one to us and let us try it out?
[00:23:00.710] - Jill Stowell
Well, I'm going to give what I like to do is give people a chance to see what training might be like. Okay. So if you have a child or a student with learning challenges, you know that they may be inflexible in their thinking, they may be not always, but they may get really upset if you change the routine or they may have difficulty shifting or seeing a different perspective. So we had this little girl, Mia, I think she was about nine and she couldn't stop working on one thing and shift to another. So in class she had reading just before math and she would be working on a reading and reading was really hard for her so she was really working on it. And then it would be time the teacher would say, okay, turn in your paper or put it in your backpack and finish it at home and get out your math books. And all the kids would do that and Mia would not. And she would just keep working on her stuff and the teacher would remind her and it became kind of a big thing because she was pretty vocal about it.
[00:24:21.340] - Jill Stowell
It looked like she was being very defiant. But the real issue was she just didn't have the mental flexibility to shift.
[00:24:30.750] - Stacy Payne
For people who are professionals, like speech pathologists, OTS teachers, special ed teachers, what are some signs or symptoms that we can look out for that there might be a little something more going on underneath making it more challenging for students to learn?
[00:24:54.950] - Jill Stowell
Well, I think a big one is attention. When you start to see attention challenges, which we talked about before, if you hear yourself saying he's just lazy or he just doesn't really care, I would think about that because that is probably not the case. That is so often an indication that something is really hard. And so what you see on the surface is this I don't care. Or if students are like, it's so boring. Yeah, that's not really what they mean. So if you see that it is harder for your child or it's taking longer or they're making more mistakes than their peers, chances are there's something that's making it more difficult.
[00:25:58.670] - Stacy Payne
And that was me. I have four children and my eldest, who's about to be 25, was probably in the second grade before I realized that something wasn't quite right. He had such a good work ethic, was happy to sit and do the work. But homework like kindergarten, first grade, second grade was taking like 3 hours and I couldn't figure it out. I was exhausted, I was stressed out. I'm sure not very kind to him. By hour two, my patience was like, what are you doing? Why are you staring into space? What are you doing? This shouldn't take this long. And I finally got him tested and found out that there were underlying processes that were weak, that were making it difficult. And as a parent, I thought, well, my gosh, the recommendation was an intensive cognitive processing program, which now I know is exactly what he needed. But back then I thought, well, how am I going to do that?
[00:27:02.100] - Stacy Payne
How am I going to spend those hours, three extra hours, when homework takes like two and a half? There's absolutely no way. So I put it on the shelf. And then in my own profession, I started having parents come back to me saying, well, I graduated from speech, but now we're having a really hard time learning or reading. Can't remember the spelling words, they're not listening well in class, they're not feeling as smart as their peers. And I came to you and did a training, my first one, into this area of learning and attention and learning disabilities, and it blew my mind. I went home and I got out that report. The very course that I was taking was the one that was recommended for my son years before. He was probably in the 8th grade. So we went from second grade to 8th grade. Struggling, crying, being upset, trying. Tutoring didn't work. And then he did cognitive processing program in the 8th grade and it changed our lives. Absolutely changed our lives. So I get it. Firsthand, as a professional, the things we see and as a parent, the frustrations that we experience and that feeling of helplessness and what to do to make it better.
[00:28:21.710] - Stacy Payne
So I know that this works as a professional and as a mom too, to see the change. When my son looked at me after this twelve week program and said, oh my gosh, why didn't I do this before? His grades went up. Everything was so much easier and more efficient. And of course I tried to not kick myself for wasting those six years feeling like I couldn't do it. It wasn't possible. The investment was worth it.
[00:28:49.730] - Jill Stowell
So for a parent it's so confusing because you see your child in all different aspects, not just school work. And so you see how capable they are. And so it's just a disconnect.
[00:29:07.260] - Stacy Payne
[00:29:08.930] - Jill Stowell
Why are they doing this? It can easily look like they just lazy. Don't care.
[00:29:19.910] - Stacy Payne
Mine was an early talker, thank goodness, because I'm a speech pathologist. But by 18 months he was stringing three and four words together. I mean, he great vocabulary, very articulate, very communicative. And I thought, oh, great, this is going to be easy. And so even with a child like that, there was just something missing. And his was on the auditory processing side, visual processing side, and so I've just experienced it, which makes me such a big advocate and believer in this type of work. And part of that is that the neuroscience is there to back it. When I was in grad school in the eighties, late eighties, our thinking or what we were taught was kind of, well, you know, if you're so many years post injury or post incident in the brain, there's really not much you can do. But, boy, have things changed in the world of neuroscience. And now we know how much the brain can change, how much plasticity and how much molding and new connections can be made. It's completely opened up a whole world.
[00:30:29.530] - Jill Stowell
Absolutely. And, you know, yeah, it really was kind of right about that time, the late 80s, where this neuroplasticity research really took off, where neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to make connections and connect different parts of the brain into neuropathways that become habits. I mean, that's really how we learn everything. And so our kids that struggle let's say you've got a Dyslexic child and they struggle with reading. Well, they're developing some neuro pathways for reading. They're figuring something out in their brain, but they aren't very effective pathways. We know now that they're just not using the most effective pathways for reading. What's really great is that we also now understand that the brain can change, that with intensive and targeted training, the brain can literally develop new, more effective neuropathways. So pretty exciting.
[00:31:44.590] - Stacy Payne
It is, yeah. Very exciting. So in your book for parents and teachers or professionals, what would be the one chapter in Take the Stone Out of the Shoe that you think would be a must read? What would you say?
[00:32:08.070] - Jill Stowell
I wouldn't necessarily say a chapter, but I would say a part. And if I had to choose one part, I would say part one, because it's really explaining why smart kids sometimes struggle and what really has to be done about that, what those underlying skills are. But it also kind of addresses those feelings like that you have as a parent, feeling so alone and not sure what to do, that's part one. And if that's where you are, I would absolutely recommend that you read that part. But if you're a parent or teacher saying, I just have to have some strategies for me to use with my kid or my student, then part two has strategies in all different areas, so that would be the one for you. And then if you really are wanting to dig a little bit deeper and understand really, what are the programs, what is the research, the science saying, then part three. So kind of whatever meets your need, I would go with that.
[00:33:30.920] - Stacy Payne
Yeah, well, it's all good, but thanks and thinking about where we were, the old way of thinking that the brain kind of is stuck where it's at after a certain age or a certain time period. And the way we used to approach learning challenges from this point on, let's say over the next ten years, what would you like to see change in education in the way we think about these kinds of things?
[00:34:05.190] - Jill Stowell
I would like for what we do to be common knowledge, everybody needs to be talking about this. The schools need to be looking at learning this way. And there is a real assumption that kids have all the skills they need to learn and behave in school. So when they don't, it's often looked at as willful misbehavior or not trying. And the brain research and the clinical evidence has been out there now for decades to prove that that's not true, and our kids are suffering because of that misconception. That is really my husband, David and I are just on this mission to make it common knowledge in the world that these things can change, and it's.
[00:35:04.230] - Stacy Payne
Really not yet, and it is heartbreaking. I sit in IEPs, where I had a special ed might say, "Well, for fifth grader who can't read well, there's audiobooks. I suggest that." And I'm like, Okay, wait, we don't have to rely on that. There's actually a way to change it and fix it. And if I could shout it from the mountaintop, I would, because it can unlock the world. It did for my family. It unlocks your world. It unlocks the student's self perception, home life, all of that confidence. It just changes everything. When you get the right kind of intervention, which is not a band-aid, it's getting to the underlying cause and solving that problem. Once you lay that firm foundation, the world is open for all kinds of things, all kinds of growth.
[00:36:07.200] - Jill Stowell
I would just say to a parent, listening, definitely, if the school is offering you things like audiobooks and accommodations, absolutely take advantage of that. You want your child to have all the support that they can, but you just have to understand that is not a permanent solution. And so what you really want is, let's give accommodations while we work on a permanent solution so that they don't need them forever.
[00:36:39.550] - Stacy Payne
Yeah. So from a student's perspective, how does that look to a student when we're taking that stone out of the shoe, kind of relieving some of that pain and teaching them how to do things in a more efficient way and having success as a student? What does that look like for kids?
[00:37:06.470] - Jill Stowell
Well, I am going to read again. It's just a little segment here from the book, but this is a letter that a student wrote to me after he finished that addresses that so beautifully. Steve was a high school student. He had really low skills, so he was in special education, he had receptive and expressive language difficulties. So he didn't understand what he was hearing very well. He didn't express himself well and he was getting bullied at school. And so he went to his teacher and he went to his counselor to ask for help. And for whatever reason, I think it's very possible that he simply did not really express the problem in a way that they could understand. But for whatever reason, nothing happened and he didn't get the help. So he decided that he needed to take care of it himself. He brought a Penn knife to school and pulled it on the bully and got expelled. So he had been out of school for several months and the school then contacted us and asked us to take over his education for a little while. And honestly, I think it was the best thing that ever happened to him.
[00:38:38.930] - Jill Stowell
But when he came, he was sullen and angry and it was like pulling teeth to get anything at all from him. But here is the letter that he wrote to me when he finished at the Learning Center. When I first attended here in early 2015, I was anxious. I was very nervous. I had not been in school since September of 2014. Throughout the first months I learned Pace, rebuilt my math skills and foundations and AST comprehension for math back in middle school. Through early high school, I did not even try doing any math homework. I felt as if I could not do it and lacked motivation. Once I came over to Stowell, they proceeded to teach me the very basics of math to build a foundation, then onward toward higher grade math. I felt much more confident in math. I had a feeling of wow, I can actually do this. And my motivation for math grew with AST Comprehension. It helped me slow down with reading since I was basically Speedy McGee, which did not help at all with remembering the story such as main points, the plot, why the character did this or that, etc.
[00:40:13.310] - Jill Stowell
AST comprehension also helped me in reading more fluently and making pictures in my head to better help me remember the story. Pace I found fun and interesting. It is essentially brain games that train your mind and challenge it. With Pace, it helped me to focus, think quicker and solve problems and puzzles as quickly as possible. With each level getting more challenging and interesting, surely it benefited me. After the summer of 2015, my programs changed since I was going back to school. But the school was not just an ordinary one, it was a middle college. My new school assigned more homework than a regular school. So my programs at Stowelln helped me more on doing my homework and organization, which is Executive Function and QRI Quantum Reflex integration. These programs started to play a beneficial role for me. I have always had pretty bad anxiety that made it so much harder for me to focus in school and have a social life. It was very limiting for me. QRI relaxes your body as well as integrates your reflexes, which helps in learning and being more focused in a learning environment.
[00:42:03.380] - Jill Stowell
I might not be able to finish this. Can you jump over to Page 301?
[00:42:14.150] - Lauren Ma
[00:42:16.250] - Jill Stowell
And we're down towards where it says QRI towards the bottom of the second to last paragraph.
[00:42:24.120] - Lauren Ma
Yeah. So, QRI relaxes your body as well as integrates your reflexes, which helps in learning and being more focused in a learning environment. QRI reduced my anxiety and helped in learning. Executive function helped me in visualizing which homework to do and helped with my organizational skills. The clinicians were very helpful and motivated toward helping me turn in my homework and step up my game plan. For this school year, I was assigned to read two books on a career I may be interested in. I chose Life Coaching since I enjoy helping people who need it, such as in their job events and situations in life that affect them, et cetera. The two books were over 300 pages long, and with the foundation AST comprehension provided, it helped me on better visualizing and remembering what I read and understanding the points so much more. I can really say that without Solar I would not be as focused, motivated, confident and comfortable to be back in school. They have truly helped me, and I cannot describe how thankful I am to have the chance for them to help me grow in life and at school. The clinicians made me feel comfortable here and they became sort of like older siblings that you could connect with and help you, in my opinion.
[00:43:45.810] - Lauren Ma
I will always remember my time being here, the memories of creating Spirit Weeks for all of the students attending Seoul, setting up a field trip, laughing, learning, thinking about my future more and much more. I am honored to have attended here, and it has been an experience that I shall always be glad for. I truly would not be the better me I am today without the soul, family exclamation mark. Sincerely, Steve Lopez. That is amazing. As somebody who knew me. That is incredible for a kid who had a diagnosis of an expressive language disorder.
[00:44:29.490] - Jill Stowell
That is why we do it. Every time I read that, I am blown away by him, but it really chokes me up. But not usually to this extent. So thank you, Lauren, for pinch hitting.
[00:44:44.770] - Lauren Ma
[00:44:45.990] - Jill Stowell
But yeah, what an amazing kid.
[00:44:50.310] - Stacy Payne
Fantastic. Well, Jill, thank you for letting me pick your brain for everybody today and talk about this book. It's so important. The message is so important. The work is so important. The hope is so important. It just doesn't have to be this difficult and this painful. And that is what people need to know, that there is a solution. So thank you for letting me be a part of this talk today.
[00:45:20.430] - Jill Stowell
Well, thank you for having this conversation with me. That's really fun. It's really fun to be in the other chair, too.
[00:45:29.990] - Stacy Payne
[00:45:33.550] - Lauren Ma
I'm going to jump in here just because we have a number of questions, just so many people connecting with everything you had to share. Jill and I'm going to try to get through as many as we can. We do want to honor people's time and Stacy's time. Thank you so much for doing this with us. I know that you also have a heart for this work, and you're on the front lines as well, with Bright beginning. So just a lot of passionate people here. Okay, so I'm going to go down the list kind of rapid fire questions. If we don't get a chance to answer your questions live, there will be a follow up email that also includes a recording of today's webinar, so look out for that, as well as links to any of the resources that we've discussed. So I'll start out with Francine. I know Francine. Hi. She's asking, has Jill ever considered partnering with a research body or institute to add research weight and data behind her programs and findings?
[00:46:34.210] - Jill Stowell
We have that is not an easy task, but we actually had some conversations just last week. Lauren was chatting with Mass General, and we've had some other conversations with some other entities to do research together.
[00:47:01.990] - Lauren Ma
Yeah, it's starting that conversation. It's getting a lot of times it's a funding issue, so if you know anyone and can make that connection, I mean, we definitely are interested in that. It's just getting an entity that's willing to do that with us. And Francine has a follow up question. What would an ideal school look like for our children with dyslexia, learning and attention challenges?
[00:47:30.710] - Jill Stowell
Well, I think, first of all, a school that recognizes that every kid is doing the best that they can and recognizing having something in place where they can begin to address those underlying issues while they're giving them the support in the classroom. A school that's got some flexibility, that is willing to look at kids a little more individualized and look at their strengths as well as their challenges and kind of work with the whole child.
[00:48:19.710] - Lauren Ma
So important. And Sandra has a follow up question kind of in that same vein. Do you believe our kids benefit most in a special ed class or in general ed or home school?
[00:48:32.350] - Jill Stowell
That really depends on the student and on the particular teacher and school and philosophy. Some of our kids are so social and they're so successful socially that it's really hard for them to be homeschooled because they have this gift in terms of connection, and they need that. I remember one student that we had who was incredibly dyslexic, but at the same time, he was just incredibly charismatic. And what his mom did was she actually we partnered together and she did a lot of the work with him before school every day. She actually brought him to school late every day. But he had both things. He had a couple of hours of this kind of training every day. And then he went to school and kind of got the best of both worlds. But it just depends. You certainly don't want your child in a place where it's almost like just sort of babysitting and getting them through. And so there are some special day classes that are just incredible. There are some that have such a varied mix of kids that nobody's needs are really getting that. So just got to research each one individually, right?
[00:50:07.320] - Lauren Ma
Yeah, we see that. Mirav, I hope I'm saying that right. Has a question you mentioned in the book about retained or unintegrated reflexes. Thank you for reading. She got a head start. Are critical to optimal functioning. My child is seven and a half years old. I can say that she has some reflexes that go under these definitions, and I can always see it. And I told the doctors about the things they see. They didn't know what to do with this information. I'm still wondering, who should I have her go to when she was so little to help with those reflexes? How early can we help those kids? Especially when they look fine on the outside.
[00:50:54.230] - Jill Stowell
You know, it's very interesting because pediatricians, or certainly when babies are born, they check reflexes. But we had a wonderful, wonderful developmental pediatrician who decided to go through our training so that she could offer this kind of learning training in her clinics. And she was a developmental pediatrician. And when we talked about reflexes, she said, I had no idea that these reflexes could have a lasting effect. They look at it more diagnostically. How's the baby doing? So really the fields that tend to look at reflexes are occupational therapy, some developmental optometry, and some specialized learning centers and natural paths. Sometimes.
[00:51:59.890] - Lauren Ma
We have a question from Utara, I hope I'm saying that correctly. How does the cognitive processing program help? And has a follow up question, specifically, how does it help kids with difficulties?
[00:52:15.310] - Jill Stowell
So when we talk about cognitive processing skills, there are a lot of different skills. Attention, memory, auditory processing, visual processing, processing speed, mental flexibility, being able to shift. There's just timing. There's so many different skills. And so our processing skills programs that we use, they're actually really fun, but they are working on all of those different kinds of skills. And you just have to think, wow, if I am perceiving my world better, if I'm getting the information more quickly, if I'm getting more accurate information when I'm listening or I'm looking well, then I can respond better. And so what really is happening is it's just making the input better and definitely the response more accurate and more quicker.
[00:53:20.710] - Lauren Ma
Absolutely. We have a teacher here, Lisa, a friend a new friend of ours. She's a research teacher in a private school in Thousand Oaks. Yes. And scenarios are so familiar when thinking about certain students of mine. How do I find out more about training for myself to further help my students?
[00:53:47.510] - Jill Stowell
In part three of the book, I talk about a lot of different programs. Some of them are programs that I developed or that we developed in the Learning Center, and some of them are programs by other developers. But those are all different programs that we have found that really work. And that's going to be a good guide for people to just kind of get started thinking. And in your references, we have references for all of the developers of different programs. We do training for people and actually partner with other centers around the country, like Stacey's Center in La to do this work.
[00:54:47.310] - Lauren Ma
Yeah. And if you hang on to the end, I'm going to also be announcing a resource that we're starting in September for both parents and teachers to help them kind of navigate the new school year. Luba has a question. Do you sell the books? Is the book for sale at the Thousand Oak Center where she can get a copy?
[00:55:07.830] - Jill Stowell
I am not sure if they have any extras right now or not. It is available on Amazon and we'll.
[00:55:17.450] - Lauren Ma
Be providing the link.
[00:55:19.080] - Jill Stowell
[00:55:19.790] - Lauren Ma
Yeah. So that's probably we don't know. Sometimes some people have been able to snag a copy, and if you were one of the first 25 registrants, you got a free copy that was signed. So lucky people. A couple more. Let's see. Lori. My son has attention problems and had a 504 plan. I still had to battle with the school district for years to get help from my son. How do we educate school administrators to train staff to recognize and work with smart kids who are struggling rather than blame the kid for not trying hard enough? Million dollar question there.
[00:55:54.360] - Stacy Payne
[00:55:54.800] - Jill Stowell
Yeah. And I think you said the exact right word, educate. I do believe that teachers go into teaching because they care about kids and they want to help kids. And truly what we're talking about is not commonly taught in teacher education programs. And even though a lot of the research has come out of certain universities, it's pieces of the research. It's not commonly taught. And I think share the book, take a copy of the book to the teacher, and especially the well, our LD expert broadcasts and podcasts. There's some really good just supports for parents and teachers. So if you happen to have checked those out, there might be certain ones that you share with your teacher. And really just always going in with that attitude of, let me help you understand what you're seeing with my child.
[00:57:08.950] - Lauren Ma
Great suggestion. Yeah. Part of monitoring. Last question, and then we'll go through some resources we have for parents and teachers. Yutara is asking what should be the duration of the training? That should be ideal to see changes in the child because the parents might be inquisitive, to know how efficient is the kind of training we are imparting.
[00:57:31.390] - Jill Stowell
So from our standpoint, our students are generally with us somewhere between nine and 24 months. For some students, it may be shorter. For others, it may be longer. It just depends on the number and severity of issues. Most of our students are attending three to four and a half hours a week. Some work very intensively, so there's a lot of variability there. But you need frequency, you need some intensity in the sessions, and you need some time because we really are creating new neural pathways. So that's an idea.
[00:58:17.050] - Lauren Ma
Absolutely. And it's a process, but we know it works. So that's the amazing part about this. And we'll get more stories like Steve, and a lot of people commented on that. They loved what he had to share. So we're getting lots of comments on that. Okay, again, thank you so much for coming. More people we're hearing that more people need to know that dyslexia and learning disabilities aren't a lifelong sentence to struggle, and we need your help. If you have a copy of the book, share with others. It's available on Amazon. Read it and then pass it on to a friend or someone else that, you know, could use it. If you found it really helpful, we're asking if you could please leave a review on Amazon because that helps other parents to know about the book and that there is hope and help out there. Please share. We appreciate reviews. Thank you so much for participating and for all your great questions. And I am happy to announce that in September, we will be starting what we're calling the IEP Toolkit for parents and teachers. It's going to be a monthly book club where we're going to actually dissect, Take the Stone Out of the Shoe.
[00:59:40.490] - Lauren Ma
I'm not going to go in order. I'm actually going to pair the parents journeys, the child's journeys, with the strategies and do some live demos of the strategies that are contained in the book as well as the research so that you as a parent or as a teacher, feel better equipped to take on the new school year. It's going to start September 13 at 05:00. P.m. Is our first meeting. I'm doing it later so that teachers can join if they're available to do so. We posted the link to register for that webinar, and we're going to do it throughout the school year, just kind of using the book as a resource and doing a book club. So that'll be fun. I'm really looking forward to that. Yeah, great.
[01:00:23.580] - Jill Stowell
And she was an incredible job, so you do not want to miss it.
[01:00:28.530] - Lauren Ma
So yeah, I'm really looking forward to that. I've told other people, maybe some people are new. I am a former classroom teacher. It's almost like I'm a reformed classroom teacher, something like that. So I do understand that perspective of just not knowing how to help kids, but then also having this knowledge and why aren't we doing this in the classroom? Why isn't this just common knowledge? So definitely understand that. And so we want that to be an ongoing resource for parents and teachers. Thank you so much, Stacey, for my pleasure.
[01:01:03.630] - Stacy Payne
[01:01:04.670] - Lauren Ma
And this work and the wonderful work that you do at Bright Beginnings Pediatric Services and for being a champion for change. And thank you, Jill, for writing the book and for creating all of this. And I'm just so appreciative. I know we have hundreds and hundreds of parents and students who are appreciative of the work, and let's keep it going. So share. Spread the word. Thank you, parents. Thank you, teachers. All right, take care.
[01:01:32.680] - Jill Stowell
At Stowell Learning Centers, we work with children and adults doing targeted brain training to permanently eliminate struggles associated with dyslexia, auditory processing, and other learning differences so that students can become independent learners and thrive in school. If you would like a free consultation for yourself or your child, give us a call or visit our website at stowellcenter.com.
Listen, Watch and Subscribe
Subscribe to the LD Expert podcast in your preferred player and sign up for our weekly newsletter. Get the answers and proven solutions for dyslexia, learning differences and attention challenges sent directly to your inbox.