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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked question about Arrowsmith School and the Arrowsmith Program, a program which uses the power of neuroplasticity to strengthen the brain through specialized cognitive programs.

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About Arrowsmith

Who is Barbara Arrowsmith-Young?

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young is an innovator and author in the field of neuroeducation. Her work, utilizing the principles of neuroplasticity, is used worldwide to enhance cognitive functioning.

Her journey and work is documented in her bestselling book, The Woman Who Changed Her Brain, and in her TEDx talk. As the Director of the Arrowsmith Program, Barbara continues to engage in research to understand how we can drive neuroplastic change in the brain to benefit learners of all ages.

Watch TEDx talk video

What are Cognitive Functions?

The brain is central to everything we do. Its design is a series of highways and stations – networks and connections that collaborate to shape our every thought and action.

These networks and the specialized regions within the networks have specific jobs or roles to play within intellectual processes – which Arrowsmith calls cognitive functions. Some of these cognitive functions are active in every conscious moment, while others are more active during particular tasks.

Whether higher order or foundational, these cognitive functions are critical in our daily navigation of the world. Every action we take and thought we have is made possible by a combination of cognitive functions.

Learn more about cognitive functions

What is neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is a remarkable feature of the brain. Neurons are built to be able to rapidly adapt to the demands placed on them. 

Neuroplasticity is one of the most important human discoveries of the last 400 years, giving us the knowledge we need to improve our capability to learn, perform well at work and even enhance our social lives. Our brains can be improved throughout our lifetime.

By strengthening neural networks, Arrowsmith measurably enhances the ability to learn. 

Read more about the 5 key principles of neuroplasticity

How is Arrowsmith based in neuroplasticity?

Arrowsmith's suite of cognitive exercises have evolved from neuroscientific research. These programs utilize the necessary conditions for neuroplastic change to occur.

The Arrowsmith cognitive exercises target and strengthen specific cognitive functions, and have been shown to create structural and functional changes in the brain, which in turn lead to greater ease and independence in learning and performance.

Read more about Arrowsmith's methodology

How can Arrowsmith help?

The Arrowsmith program enhances and strengthens a range of cognitive functions that are the building blocks for learning by utilizing the principles of neuroplasticity which has been demonstrated to be possible throughout our lifetime.

Arrowsmith adapts to each participant’s unique cognitive profile so children, adults, and seniors can all benefit from programs suited to their goals.

The Arrowsmith Program is used within schools, community agencies, treatment centres, therapy clinics, tutoring and executive coaching businesses that are interested in augmenting their existing programs and services with comprehensive, evidence-based neuroplastic programs.

Learn more about Arrowsmith delivery modes

Is Arrowsmith Program available online?

The Arrowsmith Program is available online both in a virtual facilitator-led environment and in an independent check-in model that offers flexibility in scheduling.

Speak with admissions to learn about flexible programming options for you or your family

When was Arrowsmith School Founded?

Since 1980 the Arrowsmith School in Toronto has welcomed students of all ages to transform their ability to learn. Students participate in individualized programs designed in 1978 by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, which utilize neuroplasticity to target and strengthen cognitive functions essential to learning. Arrowsmith School specializes in serving individuals with learning disabilities and difficulties to fundamentally overcome their struggles, and exists as an in-person and online school and learning centre.

Learn more about our approach

How does Arrowsmith support lifelong learning?

Arrowsmith fundamentally enhances the quality of learning throughout life. As children, young adults, professionals and seniors constantly face opportunities to learn, a stronger brain allows for greater satisfaction, ease and independence. Arrowsmith's cognitive programs can meet increasing intellectual demands throughout our lifespan, and are suitable for participants age 6 to 90+.

Read more about Lifelong Learning here

Does Arrowsmith provide tutoring?

Tutoring focuses on what your child is learning, Arrowsmith changes how they learn. Arrowsmith works on the principle of strengthening the brain so that learning becomes easier and more efficient. It changes a student’s fundamental capacity to learn across academic subjects. 

Tutoring and accommodations are rarely available in the workplace or in adult life. The benefit of a changed brain is it transforms one’s future reality. 

Read more about tutoring and Arrowsmith

Who can benefit from the Arrowsmith Program?

We believe that everyone can benefit. Individuals ages 6 to 90+, across a wide span of starting ability, have experienced significant cognitive, academic and social-emotional benefit. Whether the goal is to enhance performance to provide a competitive edge or to address a learning disability, Arrowsmith's customizable range of cognitive programs can provide a solution.

Arrowsmith can enhance the cognitive functions required for all academic learning; improve social-emotional well-being; enhance cognitive functions critical in demanding academic and professional settings; address the cognitive function weaknesses that underlie learning disabilities and difficulties; improve cognitive functions as we age; and improve cognitive functions necessary for the therapeutic process.

To get a snapshot of your cognitive profile and the cognitive functions that can be enhanced, take the Arrowsmith Cognitive Questionnaire.

Is the Arrowsmith Program effective in addressing attentional issues such as ADHD?

The Arrowsmith Program has been successful in addressing attentional difficulties such as ADHD. Many individuals with specific learning difficulties (referred to as learning disabilities in North America) experience attentional issues which can arise from different underlying causes. In many cases these issues are a result of a combination of specific learning difficulties making it hard for the student to sustain attention in specific learning situations; others are related to specific learning difficulties related to regulating attention. These types of attentional difficulties have shown significant improvement as students engage in the cognitive exercises. 

Read more about ADHD

Is Arrowsmith only for those with learning difficulties and learning disabilities?

We all have a brain, and can all benefit from cognitive programming. Arrowsmith benefits all ages, and those with a wide range of ability.

In consultation with Arrowsmith, organizations can select the cognitive programs and delivery models that best suit their population. Currently, licensed Arrowsmith Providers offer cognitive programming to:

  • general student populations, both elementary and secondary schools
  • students with learning difficulties and learning disabilities including:
    • dyslexia
    • dyscalculia
    • ADHD and attention issues
    • auditory processing issues
    • expressive and receptive language issues
    • executive function issues
  • clients with mental health issues
  • clients in recovery from addiction
  • clients recovering from TBI and ABI
  • seniors facing cognitive decline due to aging
  • adults looking for self-improvement or career changes
  • professionals who want to be more effective in their profession
  • young adults preparing for post-secondary educational and professional opportunities
  • gap year students

Simply put, Arrowsmith is available for organizations that recognize the value of a stronger brain, at all stages of life.

Learn more about lifelong learning

How can I discover my cognitive profile and how it impacts my learning?

To learn about your or your child's unique cognitive profile that explains how you/your child learns, complete the Arrowsmith Cognitive Profile Questionnaire. The detailed learning profile generated provides insight into many aspects of learning and each of these cognitive functions can be enhanced.
Learn about your unique cognitive profile by taking this free 30 minute Arrowsmith Cognitive Questionnaire

Do students maintain their improvements?

Students have been followed up to 40 years after completion of the program and have maintained their improvements. Once the improvement is in place, the individual maintains this gain by using the cognitive area in everyday functioning.

Learn more about Arrowsmith Research

About Arrowsmith School and Admissions

Where is Arrowsmith School Located?

Arrowsmith School has two campuses – in-person and online. The in-person campus is located at 245 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The online campus is available globally. Our facilitator-led online classes are offered between 7:45am - 9:00pm ET. Our Independent Check-In Model offers flexibility to accommodate most schedules worldwide.

Contact Arrowsmith to learn more

Does Arrowsmith School have a Summer Program?

The Cognitive Intensive Program (CIP) is offered in the summer with in-person and online options. This summer program strengthens participants brains to enhance the ability to reason and problem solve. By strengthening the Symbol Relations cognitive function means a more powerful and positive capacity to understand, participate in and contribute to the world.

Learn more about summer school

What are the ages of the students?

The students attending in-person and online classes at Arrowsmith School range in age from 6 to 90+.  Parents of children less than six years of age are encouraged to contact Arrowsmith School to discuss their child’s needs so together we can explore options and create an individualized plan of action. 

Speak with Admissions

Do you have adult students?

We have adult students who engage in our programs. We have options to accommodate most schedules. The Independent Check-In model offers adults an option to work on their own schedule.

There are after work hours to work in a virtual environment with a facilitator. Some adults take time out from their college or university studies, or in some cases, careers, to either enhance their cognitive functions for a competitive edge in their studies or careers or to address specific learning difficulties (referred to as learning disabilities in North America).

Speak with Admissions

Do you accept students during the school year?

Yes, Arrowsmith School accepts enrolment throughout the year. 

Speak with Admissions

Are all students at Arrowsmith School assessed?

All students enrolling in the Full-Time and Part-Time programs at Arrowsmith School are assessed. Our Cognitive Enhancement Programs and Cognitive Intensive Program do not require an assessment. Our Admissions team will be pleased to answer your questions. 

Speak with Admissions

Who conducts the Cognitive Assessment at Arrowsmith School?

The assessment of students entering Arrowsmith School is conducted by a member of our staff who is a trained psychometrist.

Book the Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment

About Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment

What is the Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment and is it different from a Psycho-educational assessment?

The Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment identifies each individual’s unique learning profile. It provides an informative perspective of one’s learning experience and forms the basis for designing individual programs to strengthen a range of cognitive functions that underlie learning. Understanding the WHY behind performance, behaviour, and even struggles, can be answered through an Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment.

"It is like an operator’s manual for the brain, each one unique.” - Charlie, Parent, Canada

Learn more about Psycho-educational vs. Cognitive Assessments

What does the Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment involve?

Individuals will spend 1 to 1.5 days completing an assessment to identify their unique learning profile specific to a range of different cognitive functions. The assessment is made up of tests designed to assess an individual's unique cognitive profile. The outcome of the assessment will provide recommendations for programming options.

Learn about the steps to enrolment at Arrowsmith School

Can assessments performed elsewhere or other reports be used in place of the Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment?

While it is beneficial to review any previous assessment reports to learn about the individual’s learning history, a traditional psycho-educational report will not replace the Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment. The Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment identifies which cognitive exercises and at which level an individual begins their Full-Time or Part-Time Program.

Learn more about assessments

Research and Outcomes