Heartbroken Teachers

Jill Stowell General Information, Learning Disability

While in Colorado recently, one of our Distance Learning parents invited me to speak to a group of parents and teachers.  There was a kindergarten teacher in the group who was literally moved to tears by the plight of smart but struggling students.

She shared that, as a classroom teacher she could see when a student was having difficulty but felt powerless to do anything that would really make a difference.  She was heartbroken knowing that while she was an excellent kindergarten teacher, she didn’t have the knowledge, the skills, or the time to help her smart but struggling little learners correct their learning challenges.

She could love them and guide them as best she could, but at the end of the year, they were moving on to the next grade with their learning challenges in tow.

As a parent, the last thing I want to hear a teacher say is, “I have too many students to focus on just one.”  I figure, it’s their job to teach my child and so they should figure it out.  But the reality is, that even the most dedicated and caring teacher, has to spread his/her attention around to 20 – 30 students and the struggling learner is not likely to get as much help as he probably needs.

The other reality is, that it is the job of the schools to teach curriculum – subject areas:  reading, writing, spelling, math, social studies, geography, science, history, foreign language, and the list goes on and on.  Thank goodness it’s their job, because who else is going to teach all of that!

Even in special education, in most cases, teachers are bound by state standards and the need to support students in their regular curriculum.  So as unfair as it probably seems, the job of actually correcting or eliminating a learning challenge is generally going to fall outside the doors of the school.

Stop the Cycle of Frustration and Failure!

There is a whole set of underlying processing/learning skills that need to be in place in order to learn comfortably and efficiently in school.  These include such skills as memory, auditory and visual processing, language comprehension, processing speed, and body and attention awareness and control.

It’s not a quick fix and it’s not likely to occur at school, but these underlying skills can be developed so that students with average to above average intelligence suffering with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning disabilities or dyslexia can stop struggling.

As a colleague said recently, “Changing these underlying skills 

changes the trajectory of students’ lives!”

JOIN US for a Parent Information Meeting to understand these underlying skills and your child’s learning better.  www.learningdisability.com

Love Those Sneakers!

Jill Stowell Dyslexia, General Information, Learning Disability


Two pipes coming out of a wall are just two pipes coming out of a wall, right?  I guess that depends upon who’s looking at them!

My first reaction when I saw this picture was delight.  My next thought was, “That artist must be dyslexic.”

I realize that’s a gross generalization.  Certainly not all artists are dyslexic.  But I have run into so many dyslexic students over the years with an incredible ability to think outside the box!  What a gift!

It’s just this kind of talent that can cause students with learning challenges to be so misunderstood.  How on earth can they be so bright and creative, so focused and detailed with something they love, but struggle so much in school?

When smart students struggle in school, it is almost always because there are underlying learning/processing skills that are not supporting them well enough; not because they are lazy, unmotivated, or uninterested.

The great news is that these underlying learning skills can be developed.  It’s not a quick fix, but not a forever process either.  Through targeted and intensive cognitive training, the brain can develop more efficient neuropathways or connections so that things, such as reading and spelling that were once so difficult, no longer have to be a struggle.

Many successful dyslexic entrepreneurs say that having to learn to get around their dyslexia has helped them to be successful – that they wouldn’t change being dyslexic because it gave them an edge by teaching them how to handle hardship and failure.

While there are many lessons to be learned from hardship, wouldn’t it be better to enjoy your talents and abilities and function well in school?  I know that’s what I would want for my own kids.  And it’s entirely possible!

I am so thankful that the world is made up of so many different kinds of thinkers.  Thank you Street Artist for making me smile!

For more information about how you can help your bright but struggling learner meet his or her potential and enjoy school, join us for a parent information meeting.  Go to www.learningdisability.com for details and RSVP.

My Students, My Heroes

Jill Stowell General Information, Learning Disability

Mission Possible!  That’s our theme this summer at the learning center, and what fun it is to watch students carry out their missions in reading, meeting new people, developing new skills, and problem solving.

On all the doors around the center, staff has put up inspirational stories about people who have persevered and met their goals.

The people highlighted on my door are former students.  I don’t always hear what happens to our students years after they have finished with us, but it is so exciting when we do.

Here are my heroes (names changed, but stories are true!):

Jose, who at 11 had a severe language delay, is now a pharmacist.

Micah, who at 13, was failing school due to a severe auditory processing problem, is now headed for medical school.

Jessie, who had severe reading disabilities at 9, is now a professor at BYU.

Anne, who at 9 was labeled “un-teachable,” is now in college.

Al, who was struggling with reading, auditory processing, and attention as a high school senior, is now in pre-med at Cornell University.

Mark, who was severely dyslexic and not reading at all at 8, is completing his second Masters degree.

Jan, at 43, went to college and got her very first A, after correcting her dyslexia at the learning center.

Tony, completely “word blind” and severely dyslexic at 9, has completed college and creates amazing comic books.

 I just can’t wait to see what our current students do with their lives and what missions they will accomplish as former SLC clients!

Recently a mom shared with me that her daughter, who has struggled with dyslexia her whole life, but who has compensated reasonably well, was told by two of her college professors that she should give up trying to be a teacher.  “You can’t spell and you’ll never be able to pass the teacher certification test,” she was told.

Heartbroken, because she loves working with children and feels that she would be a really good teacher, this college sophomore is changing her major – not to something she loves – but to something less demanding.

Dyslexia and learning disabilities do not have to limit the lives and futures of bright, capable, but learning challenged students.  Most learning and attention challenges can be dramatically improved or completely corrected.  Here’s how:

  • Identify the weak underlying learning/processing skills that are not supporting the student well enough
  • Develop those underlying skills through specific and intensive cognitive (brain) training
  • Remediate the weak basic academic skills – reading, writing, spelling, or math (and now it will stick because the underlying skills are in place to support them)


End Result – Comfortable, confident, independent learners,

ready and able to pursue their dreams. 




Visit www.learningdisability.com to find out date and time of our next parent information meeting.

Not local to Chino or Irvine, CA?  Call 909-598-2482 for information about Distance Learning.