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Turning Tears into Triumph:

Stowell Learning Center Helps Students Reach Their Potential

Children who struggle in school often experience frustration, depression and low self-esteem, among other issues. Parents may blame themselves, the teachers and even the child for these academic deficiencies. But learning disabilities are no one’s fault, and there are ways to overcome these obstacles and allow children (and adults) to fulfill their potential.

“I have always loved working with the population of students that fit under that learning disability umbrella,” says Jill Stowell, founder and executive director of Stowell Learning Centers. “These are bright, often creative and talented kids, but they struggle in some aspects of learning.”

While teaching in the public school system, she felt these students were misunderstood. So, Jill left the public school arena and went in search of people who were doing research on the brain and attention and learning. She wanted to figure out how to correct these issues for students opposed to just having accommodations made for them. In order to put these findings into practice, she opened the first Stowell Learning Center in 1984.

“We ended up with this really comprehensive set of skills that people need in order to function at their best and learn academically and socially,” says Jill. “And it’s all those underlying processing skills—auditory, sensory, visual, speed, reasoning, executive functions and motor skills.

“We have to look at these underlying skills and build that foundation, and then we can remediate the reading, math, comprehension or whatever it is that the student is struggling with. They can then go on and be the highly functional, independent learners that they have the potential to be. Students actually develop the skills they need to process information more effectively and overcome their learning disability. We’re not just putting a Band-aid on it.”

Stowell Learning Centers can now be found in Chino, Irvine, Pasadena and Thousand Oaks, and people aged 5 and through adult can take part in their programs. When a parent brings in a child to be assessed, the clinicians first speak with the parent about the child’s struggles. After that, the child is given a functional academic and learning skills evaluation.

“We’re checking things all the way from retained primitive reflexes and motor skills to auditory and visual processing, processing speed, and logic and reasoning,” says Jill. “We’re looking at what is going on that is keeping this child from performing at their potential.”

After this, a tailored plan is created to develop the underlying skills that are weak and also to remediate the language or academic skills. The frequency and length of the program is then determined. For students who are not local, clinicians have the ability to work remotely with them.

The staff at Stowell Learning Centers goes through a rigorous hiring and training process.

“We want people who are very relational with kids, but who are also quick learners and flexible thinkers because we have to be able to adjust as we’re working with students based on how things are working for them,” says Jill. “We do a tremendous amount of training and a tremendous amount of ongoing oversight and coaching.”

She and her husband, David Stowell, also provide weekly broadcasts that began when the COVID lockdown took effect.

“We decided we had to have a way to reach out and support parents, and we connected with professionals who were working with this population of students. David is the producer of “LD Expert Live,” which can be found on their YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Jill is also the author of At Wits End: A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities and a new book, Take the Stone out of the Shoe, set for release in April 2022. 

“It has practical guidelines for parents and teachers for supporting struggling learners, as well as an understanding of why these bright kids are struggling,” she says. “It also describes the programs used at Stowell Learning Center to permanently eliminate the challenges and the research behind them.”

Jill wants people to really understand what they do in order to help more students.

“We’re called a learning center and it’s a very generic name, but what we’re doing is so different from what almost anyone else is doing” she explains. “We’ve been at this for such a long time, and we’ve seen our students go on to get advanced degrees and become teachers, doctors, pharmacists and lawyers.”

To learn more about how they can help, call 877.774.0444 or visit