Brain Boosting Arrowsmith

What is the Arrowsmith Program?

The Arrowsmith Program is a classroom-based program that is founded on the principles of neuroplasticity and works to strengthen weak cognitive areas and connections that are the underlying causes of struggles in learning. The program is composed of cognitive exercises developed by Barbara Arrowsmith Young that strengthen weak cognitive areas and connections. Arrowsmith Toronto conducts ongoing teacher training and support, and remote monitoring of all student progress

Arrowsmith General FAQ

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • Is the program tailored to the student? How does it work?

    The program is individualized for each student. Through a comprehensive Arrowsmith assessment we are able to identify the student’s areas of cognitive strength and weakness, and based on these results, create a program tailored to each student.
  • When would one expect to see evidence of cognitive change? What kind of changes?

    We can begin to see changes in students after 3-4 months of participation in the program. For example, if the student has a Motor Symbol Sequencing difficulty, where he/she has trouble learning motor plans for writing, work in this area quite often begins to improve hand writing after a few months of work. Others will experience improvements in their memory, understanding and attention to task. With more time in the program, students often exhibit behavioral changes, as their new cognitive abilities begin to increase confidence and social awareness.
  • Does the program address attention issues like ADD/ADHD?

    Arrowsmith recognizes that ADD/ADHD can be the result of:

    1. A cognitive pile up, where there are several weak cognitive areas that often include weakness in executive functioning areas. And since ADD/ ADHD diagnoses are based on observable behaviours, if a child cannot hold attention, carry out a task, is easily distracted, or has difficulty regulating their behaviours they are often labeled as having ADD/ADHD when in fact it is a result of weaknesses in a combination of cognitive areas. As students work through their Arrowsmith Programs they begin to strengthen these weak cognitive areas and the need for medication is often reduced or eliminated completely.
    2. A neurochemical imbalance at the subcortical level. Because this form of ADD/ADHD is at the neurotransmitter level it is independent of cognitive deficits and therefore cannot be addressed through the Arrowsmith Program
  • How long are the periods?

    Each cognitive period is 40 minutes long.
  • How long are students in the program?

    Typically students are in the program between 3-4 years. More mild profiles can spend 1-2 years, more severe profiles may require 5 or more years.
  • What is the student:teacher ratio?

    10:1. The students work independently with frequent teacher monitoring and feedback.
  • Is there homework associated with the program?

    Two of the cognitive exercises (Word & Tracing) have a 30 minute homework component to provide further opportunity for cognitive growth.

    At home students will do exactly the same thing they are doing in class, so parents do not and should not help their child with their homework.
  • How much of the day would my child spend doing Arrowsmith exercises?

    A student spends about half their day in an Arrowsmith classroom doing cognitive exercises. That equates to four 40-minute periods (160 minutes or 2h 40min) per day from Monday to Friday. Some students may participate in additional periods per day in consultation with the family and school.
  • Is there a part time option where a student can do fewer exercises?

    Once the Arrowsmith Program is established in a school for 2 years, administrators can seek approval for a part time program at their school, where a student would have the potential to work on 1-2 cognitive exercises per school year. Most students with learning difficulties require 3-4 years of full time classes (4 periods a day) to strengthen their cognitive weaknesses.
  • What qualifies a teacher to be an Arrowsmith teacher?

    All Arrowsmith teachers go through an intensive training course that prepares them to deliver the program within their school as well as all assessment protocols required. With this training they become certified Arrowsmith Teachers.