Frequently Asked Questions
How long has the center been open?
Jill Stowell, owner and director of Stowell Learning Center, opened her doors to the community in 1984. For thirty years she and the Learning Center staff have implemented the latest and most effective programs with the students they serve.
Jill is continuously searching for the best programs to meet the ever changing learning challenges that arise in our student population. The Stowell Learning Center evolves with the times. It does not stay stagnant, but changes as the needs of our students change. Because of her dynamic thinking and passion for helping students, Jill is an invaluable resource to and is well respected by other professionals in the learning disabilities community.
What are the clinician’s qualifications?
We have a wonderful staff of energetic, enthusiastic people working with our students. Most of our clinicians fall into one of three categories. They are either working towards their bachelors degree in the fields of teaching, speech, or child psychology, have their bachelors degree, or have their bachelors and are working towards their teaching credentials or masters degree. Four of the senior staff are Dyslexia Remediation Specialists.
All of our staff has been thoroughly trained in all of the programs used by the director, Jill Stowell. We continuously hold in-service training on new programs or disabilities.
Training is a constant at the learning center. We continually seek to better understand our students and provide the absolute best programming options for them. Clinicians are well supervised by senior staff and are guided with each and every student. We meet on a weekly basis to trouble shoot, discuss programs and provide staff development.
Jill has taught in the public school system, has her masters degree in education with an emphasis in learning handicaps, is a national trainer for many of the programs used the Learning Center, and is well respected in the teaching community.
How long does it take before I can see results?
Typically students and parents will begin to see changes within just a few weeks. Our goal for each student is that he or she becomes the most comfortable, efficient, and independent learner he or she can be. How long this process takes will depend on the number and severity of the student’s learning challenges and the intensity of the therapy time.
Do you guarantee results?
We do not have a set program guarantee. What we do guarantee is that we will do everything we can to help each student become the best learner and most successful student he can be. If we feel that we cannot help, we will work with the family to try to find someone who can.
Each student has a unique set of learning strengths and challenges. Therefore, students progress at different rates. We are working towards making permanent changes in the way students process information and learn. We do not just want to band aid the issues. Permanent changes that bring success in learning require remediation that directly deals with the underlying processing skills. Our therapy and methods are designed to work on developing a solid foundation for independent and successful learning.
Do you work with Dyslexia?
Yes! The center was originally opened to serve the dyslexic population. We have many different strategies and programs that specifically address the unique and varied needs of dyslexic students of all ages. Four of the senior staff are Dyslexia Remediation Specialists.
Do you work with Autistic children?
Yes. We work with many high functioning children on the autistic spectrum. Working with the autistic population is something that we determine on student by student basis. Depending on the severity of the child’s symptoms and the parental goals, we may be able to provide therapy. After an initial screening, we will determine if we are the appropriate place for the child. If we feel there is something we can do we will work closely with the parents to create a program for the student.
Do you work with children with Asperger’s Syndrome?
Yes. Once the student is assessed we will determine what therapy or therapies the student will benefit from.
What does your therapy look like?
All of our therapy is provided on a one-to-one, directed teaching basis. Some of our programs use specialized materials or equipment. Therapy is provided in individual therapy rooms, but we also have a “fun room” for motor development and attention training. A few of our programs utilize the computer. These are always supervised and directed by the clinician.
Because our therapy focuses on developing underlying thinking skills essential to efficient learning, daily instruction is critical to the process. In order to reduce the cost to the family, we often suggest partnering with the parents to provide the frequency of instruction needed. When parents do follow-up at home, we view them as our teaching partners and we will provide both instruction and materials to support them.
Do you work one on one?
Yes. Working on-to-one allows us to provide the intensity, individualization, and specific feedback needed to make significant changes in a short amount of time. Each student will have a specific schedule and clinician or team of clinicians that she works with on a regular basis.
Do you work with groups?
No. We have been working with students for over twenty years and have found that the absolute best way to make the needed changes and provide a personal, positive, and enjoyable experience for students is to work one-to-one.
One-to-one training is a requirement of many of the programs and strategies we use. In order to make real, lasting changes in the brain, students must be challenged. Working on-to-one allows us to stretch students’ thinking, in a very supportive, encouraging, and confidence building environment.
How much does it cost?
This will depend upon the program or combination of programs recommended and amount of time needed. Some of the programs have one-time start-up fees that cover licensing fees and/or specialized materials. We create specifically designed programs for each student and will discuss fees with you once we know exactly what is recommended. We are happy to speak with you if you would like to discuss your child or come in for a consultation. Give us a call at (909) 598-2482.
How do I get my student started?
The first step in our process is to attend an information meeting (Parent Information Night) where we explain exactly what we do and give you a chance to get all of your questions answered.
What we do is very different from traditional tutoring or special help at school. Our goal is to correct the learning or attention challenges so that students can work comfortably and independently at school.
The next step is to schedule an assessment so that we can explore both the academic challenges and the underlying learning / processing skills that are needed to learn comfortably and efficiently.
Following the assessment, we will sit down with you and explain exactly what we saw in the assessment, what is getting in the way of your child’s learning or attention, and give you a roadmap for what needs to be done to dramatically improve or correct the problem.
Then we will look at schedules together and get your child scheduled and started.
Can I visit the center?
We would love to invite you to attend a Parent Information Night. This will give you a chance to walk through the center, learn about what we do, and ask questions.
Can I schedule an appointment to meet with someone?
The best way to get your questions answered and better understand what is happening with your / your child’s learning and what can be done about it is to attend a Parent Information Night. If an additional appointment is needed following Parent Night, we will be happy to schedule one for you.
We already have a lot of testing. Do I have to do another assessment?
Assessment is required for admission to any Stowell Learning Center program. We never want to guess about what is going on with a student. We want to know exactly what the challenges looks like for your child so that we can make the best recommendations for correcting them.
We never want to over-test students, but we do need to spend time with your child in order to see what the challenges actually look like.
We are happy to review any records/reports that you have as a part of the assessment process. This may allow us to do less testing with your child, but will actually take about the same amount of time for us, so in most cases the assessment fee will be the same.
Should Ask Questions
The FAQ area above provides answers to many of the questions parents ask. This section contains our “SAQ”or Should Ask Questions. You may find these answers even more important!
What will happen if my child doesn’t get this kind of help?
Learning difficulties and struggles in school and/or social situations are most often the result of weak or inconsistent learning skills. These underlying skills cause interference to learning. Unfortunately, they do not typically improve with time or traditional tutoring.
As a result, students become more frustrated and anxious about their learning challenges.
They may become angry or withdrawn. They may appear unmotivated. They may make poor decisions, feel like a failure, and quit believing in themselves.
What can I expect this year in school and with homework as a result of this therapy?
At first it may be difficult to fit in homework, activities, and sessions at the learning center, but for most students, homework gradually becomes easier and homework time becomes shorter. Students become less anxious and more confident and willing. For most, attention both in school and at home increases. Kids begin enjoying learning again!
One parent shared, “Today was the best parent-teacher conference we’ve every had. I felt like celebrating instead of crying!”
What can I expect in the future as a result of this therapy?
- Greater confidence
- Higher self-esteem
- More choices
From the mouths of students:
“My grades are amazing! Math is so easy for me now! I’m getting my homework done a lot faster! My grades are really good – better than they’ve ever been.” —4th grade boy
“It makes me feel special to be known as the smart kid to other people.” —5th grade boy
We have heard from many, many former students who have gone on to college, earning bachelors, masters, and
doctoral degrees. Among them are medical doctors, teachers, pharmacists, financial planner, and a comic book writer to name a few!
This is a big investment in time and money. We’ll have to take out a loan or use my child’s college fund to do this. Is it really necessary?
Here’s what one parent shared with me: She said, “Our son came to you when he was 11. It was a really big commitment for our family and we had to use his college fund to do it. But, I wanted you to know that he just finished his first year of college and he would never have gotten there without the learning center.”
This IS a big commitment. It is also a life-changing one.
How can my child afford to spend time working on “underlying skills” when he’s failing in school? Wouldn’t it be better to work on schoolwork?
Working on schoolwork may help him get by, but it will not correct the issues that are causing him to fail. Until the underlying skills are developed, you will experience this challenge year after year.
If my child is in special education, why does he need this also?
Schools focus on academic skills. They do not generally address the weak underlying processing/learning skills that cause students to struggle. Special education provides valuable support for students but does not typically correct the problem.
Support and accommodations at school are helpful in the moment, but they are not a long-term solution.
Will my child ever be independent? Will he always need help?
Our goal for students with diagnosed or undiagnosed dyslexia and/or learning disabilities is that they will become comfortable, independent learners. We have seen, thousands of times over the years for students of all ages, that when they leave us, they go on to be independent, successful students and adults.
How long will it take before my child’s grades go up?
How long it takes for grades to improve truly varies with the number, type, and severity of issues that the student is dealing with. Grade may begin to change within weeks of starting the program, but may also be the last of many significant changes that we see. Here’s a recent update from a parent:
“[Our daughter] is doing very well in school. She is in HONORS ENGLISH (grade 8). CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? She got an A- recently on her progress report and her teacher is pleased with her progress. She also has 2 additional As, 1 B and 1 C. She’s not very happy about the B and C grades however and is working hard to improve. This motivation comes completely from her. It’s amazing how much she’s changed and matured. We are so proud of her efforts. She’s also so much more confident and just seems like a really happy kid.
I know that [our daughter] wouldn’t be where she is if it weren’t for [all of you]. You were the only solution for my girl after trying for years both in and out of the school system to find out what was going on. I had a big suspicion that she had an auditory processing problem but when I asked the “experts” for help, they didn’t know where to begin.
All of you at SLC have no idea how you not only helped a little girl begin to reach her full potential but how you helped give her and her family their life back.”
Is this something that we should do over time, or is it better to work intensively?
This is a decision that we can help you make after doing the assessment, as there are many factors to consider. Intensive programs of 3 – 4 hours daily can be extremely beneficial and successful for many students. Other students may require a more step-by-step approach that must be spread out over time.
Frequency of instruction is a key factor for this kind of training whether it is more condensed or spread out.