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. Some students become angry or withdrawn. They may appear unmotivated. They may make poor decisions, feel like a failure, and quit believing in themselves. Others show signs of anxiety and depression.
At first it may be difficult to fit in homework, activities, and sessions at TLC. We sometimes suggest getting a “homework pass” in subjects that they can until homework gradually becomes easier and takes less time. Students become less anxious and more confident and willing to try things that they see as difficult. Attention both in school and at home increases. Interest in learning increases and learning becomes fun again.
Maria Bagby, owner and executive director of TLC, has been doing this work for almost 20 years now. She relocated to Solana Beach from Aspen, Colorado in 2012. Since then, she joined a network of like-minded professionals led by Jill Stowell. Jill has been doing this work for over 30 years as the founder of the Stowell Learning Centers in Chino and Irvine and the author of “At Wits End: A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities.”
Maria has always continuously searched for the best programs to meet the changing needs of students learning challenges. In this way, she connected with Jill instantly and has grown and widened her scope of practice as a result of her connections to greater resources within the Fix Learning Skills network of professionals led by David and Jill Stowell. Members in the network are all over the US with a few working in countries outside the US.
We have a fantastic group of energetic and passionate people on the TLC Team. Everyone has some degree of background in psychology. All of our staff has been thoroughly trained in all of the programs used at TLC. We continuously hold in-service training on new programs, intentional strategies and disabilities. Training and collaboration is a way of life at TLC. Clinicians meet regularly to consult with each other and with Maria in order to provide the highest quality and most efficient instruction for our students. You may learn more about each on the team on the About Us page.
Very often 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.
We wish learning was a formula that could be applied as neatly as a math problem, but being human is messy. We cannot have a set program guarantee.
Here is what we can 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 put a band aid on 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 confident, independent and successful learning.
Yes! TLC was originally focused with dyslexia as our focus. In fact, our original name was the Therapeutic LITERACY Center and was founded by Maria Bagby who worked as a reading specialist for 11 years. We’ve since broadened our scope of learning challenges and changed our name to the Therapeutic LEARNING Center, but we still have many different strategies and training programs that specifically address the needs of dyslexic students of all ages.
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.
Additionally, TLC accepts students on the spectrum into our Arrowsmith Program. Students with autism are considered “a-typical students” in the Arrowsmith Program itself. However, TLC has seen fabulous gains in the students with autism that have participated in the Arrowsmith Program at TLC.
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, and we have room set aside for Core Learning Skills exercises which are always fun.
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 he works with on a regular basis.
The first step in our process is to help us get to know you, your child and your concerns within a scheduled individual consultation. During that meeting we will listen to your experience and goals and we explain exactly what we do to see if there is a good match. We will 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 second 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.
Some form of assessment is required to begin any TLC 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 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. 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.
Every student is different. Within a few weeks, you will notice:
- Greater confidence
- Higher self-esteem
- A wider band of social choices
- More choices in your child’s future
TLC has facilitated over 30 students in exiting special education. These students no longer need the extra support or accommodations that are associated with their learning challenges. Many have returned from college to say hello and tell us what they are doing now in their lives. Our role is to fix their learning problems so that our students have as many choices in their future as they need or want.
I wish there was an easy solution to financial cost. One-on-one works. It’s also very expensive. It is what it is. Additionally, our lives are all very busy with limited time and resources. Many parents have told me how scared they are when they begin their work with TLC. They tell stories of prioritizing and sacrificing for the months that they were here at TLC. And they tell us later how unsure they were for the first 2-3 months if making this huge an investment was going to work. Then they tell us how happy they are that they prioritized their child’s learning skills.
As one parent said, “I asked myself, ‘How can I afford NOT to do it?’
and I’m glad I didn’t wait!”
Note: We work with a company that offers low interest financing for those interested in that option.
We understand that it is a bit counter-intuitive. The simplest analogy is that of training for the Olympic skiing. The most successful take the time to do weight training before they get on the mountain to ski again. With stronger muscles, the athlete’s approach to every turn is more efficient and makes for a successful run.
“I never thought taking the time out of homework to work on my processing skills was a good thing, but then I discovered how it was helping me change the way I was thinking and learning. It has been an extraordinary experience.” – 9th grade student
Schools focus on teaching academic skills and helping students “access the curriculum” that is approved by the school board. And every school employee has the same job. Their job is to teach the curriculum and help children access that curriculum in the best way they can.
Special education provides valuable support for struggling students in the form of accommodations and modifications, but they are not resourced or trained to fix a learning problem. Support and accommodations at school are helpful in the moment, but they are not a long-term solution.
Our goal for students with learning challenges of all types including those with learning disabilities is that they will become confident, independent learners in any environment they find themselves in. Our mission is to erase your child’s learning challenge and/or disability and we will make recommendations on how we believe that can be done. Some children need more intensive therapy while others don’t need as much, but the answer is the same.
What are your goals? Let’s make them real!
Our fees range from $50-$125/hour. 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 specifics regarding cost when we meet to discuss your child’s specific plan.
One on one is expensive. And it WORKS. We did the math. We counted up the hours and dollars of tutoring from 3rd through 12th grades and the cost of FIXING the problem now is much less expensive in money, time and self-esteem.
Still, in 2019, we want to reduce the cost to you! And we want to change the lives of 200 children this year…. at a minimum! In order to do that, we need your help. We know that you will want to see other children succeed too!
So we have re-directed “marketing budgets” to give money back to YOU. We believe that you will WANT to tell your friends and other families as soon as you see your child’s progress! This is our “Success Program.” Based on the number of children that come in for therapy, your cost can be reduced as much as 60% which would be $50/hour. That’s a pretty good deal!
We will give you information, already designed email, video and any other support you need to tell others. Just tell us what you need!
How long it takes for grades to improve really varies with the number, type, and severity of challenges that your child is dealing with. Grades are one measure and may begin to change within a few weeks of starting therapy, but grades are only one part of the measure to be looked at during the process. You will see many other significant changes too!
This is a decision that we can help you make after doing the assessment, as there are many factors to consider. Many students benefit from only 3-4 hours/week. Intensive programs of 2 – 3 hours daily can be extremely beneficial and successful for some students with greater needs. Other students may require a more step-by-step approach that must be spread out over time. Consistency and frequency of instruction is a key factor for this kind of training whether it is more condensed or spread out.
Taking Time Out
“I didn’t think that taking time out of my classes was going to work. I made me nervous that I would fall even further behind. But it has been really good because I am learning a lot faster now and catching up quickly!”
- High School Student