Barbara Arrowsmith-Young

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, MA, is founder of the Arrowsmith Program, an assessment process and program designed to stimulate and strengthen weak areas of cognitive functioning based on Arrowsmith-Young's own journey of discovery and innovation to overcome severe learning disabilities.

Diagnosed in grade one as having a mental block, which today would have been identified as multiple learning disabilities, she read and wrote everything backwards, had trouble processing concepts in language, continuously got lost, and was physically uncoordinated. She eventually learned to read and write from left to right and mask a number of the symptoms of her learning disabilities through heroic effort, however she continued throughout her educational career to have difficulty with specific aspects of learning.

In graduate school, she came across two lines of research that intrigued her: a description of specific brain function lead her to a clearer understanding of her own learning problem, and the possibility of improving brain function through specific stimulation. These insights lead her to create the first brain exercise designed to improve the learning capacity involved in logical reasoning. The results were positive with gains in verbal reasoning, mathematical reasoning, and conceptual understanding. This lead her to a further explore the nature of specific learning capacities and create exercises to strengthen them. The Arrowsmith Program continues this ongoing work, with 19 cognitive areas identified and programs to strengthen the functioning of each of them. The Arrowsmith Program is now implemented in 38 schools in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young's work has been recognized as one of the first examples of the practical application of neuroplasticity. She is author of The Woman Who Changed Her Brain. 


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