The Arrowsmith Program is a cognitive program for students with learning disabilities.
The Arrowsmith Program is founded on neuroscience research and over 40 years of experience, demonstrating that it is possible for students to strengthen the weak cognitive capacities underlying their learning difficulties through a program of specific cognitive exercises.
The Arrowsmith Program is founded on two lines of research, one of which established that different areas of the brain working together are responsible for complex mental activities, such as reading or writing, and that a weakness in one area can affect a number of different learning processes.
The other line of research investigated the principle of neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to physically change in response to stimulus and activity, to develop new neuronal/synaptic interconnections and thereby develop and adapt new functions and roles believed to be the physical mechanism of learning. Neuroplasticity refers to structural and functional changes in the brain that are brought about by training and experience.
Neuroscience research is leading to new insights into the ways in which the brain changes in response to experience, and research points to the conclusion that the brain is not static, but rather is dynamically changing and undergoes such changes throughout one's entire life.
The Arrowsmith Program identifies, intervenes and strengthens the weak cognitive capacities that affect learning. Students can capitalize on their increased learning capacities and, after a three or four-year program, can function without special education assistance or program accommodations. The Arrowsmith Program is suitable for students across the broad spectrum of mild to severe learning problems, plus students seeking cognitive enhancement.
Our program has proven to be effective for students with difficulty reading, writing and mathematics, comprehension, logical reasoning, problem-solving, visual and auditory memory, non-verbal learning, attention, processing speed and dyslexia.
Students with learning disabilities have traditionally been treated with programs designed to compensate for their difficulties - students who have difficulty with handwriting, for example, would be taught to use a keyboard or accommodated with more time to write exams.
The goal of the Arrowsmith Program, by contrast, is to help students strengthen the weak cognitive capacities underlying their learning dysfunctions. The Arrowsmith Program deals with the root causes of the learning disability rather than managing its symptoms.
The Arrowsmith Program is capacity-based in that it changes the capacity of the individual to learn, rather than compensatory, which tries to work around the problem. Strengthening these weaker capacities increases the overall functioning of these specific cognitive areas allowing them to be used effectively for learning.
The Arrowsmith Program has proven successful with students in elementary and secondary school to post-secondary school and adults. Elementary and secondary school students return to a full academic curriculum at their appropriate grade level following the completion of a three or four-year program.
Our goal is for our students to become effective, confident and self-directed learners for life and to enable them to achieve their goals of academic and career success.
You may read more about the development of the Arrowsmith methodology in the book “The Woman Who Changed Her Brain by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young.
The Arrowsmith Program identifies areas of learning strength and weakness through careful assessment and then designs a program of individualized exercises for each student to target their precise areas of weakness.
As well as providing the Arrowsmith Program of cognitive exercises, Arrowsmith Program provides a comprehensive teacher training course, continuing professional development, year-round support for all Arrowsmith Program classroom teachers, a detailed web-based assessment for all students and ongoing monitoring and supervision of student progress over the internet and liaison with Arrowsmith Program Coordinators during the school year.