What is the criteria for students entering the Arrowsmith Program?
Students who come to the Arrowsmith Program are of average to above average intelligence but are having difficulty learning academic and social skills efficiently and independently. The Arrowsmith Program addresses a wide range of specific learning difficulties such as
auditory and/or visual processing disorders
non-verbal learning difficulties.
The Arrowsmith Program is also designed for individuals who do not have identified specific learning difficulties but are challenged with issues such as organization, processing, problem solving, communication, memory, and independence.
While it does not guarantee your enrolment into the program, it will allow you to determine whether the learning issues you/your child experience could be addressed through the Arrowsmith Program.
Students entering Arrowsmith School typically experience a range of problems including:
Is the Arrowsmith Program effective in addressing Developmental or Intellectual Delays or Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The Arrowsmith Program is developed for individuals struggling with specific learning difficulties (SLD) referred to as learning disabilities in North America. The standard definition of SLD is that the individual has an average or above average full-scale intelligence score, and has a specific difficulty in an area related to learning or academic skill acquisition. The program is designed and therefore most suited for individuals within the average to above average range of intelligence. Conditions such as Developmental or Intellectual Delay typically indicate an impairment of general intellect and function, and students with developmental or intellectual delay have needs that are more significant than a student with a specific learning difficulty. In some cases, individuals with learning difficulties who also have high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or Asperger’s have benefitted from the Arrowsmith Program. While the Arrowsmith Program will enable these individuals to address their cognitive learning needs, it will not address features related to the specific Autism Spectrum Disorder. In such cases, there is careful deliberation when determining appropriateness during the admissions process to ensure suitability.
IS THE ARROWSMITH PROGRAM EFFECTIVE IN ADDRESSING ATTENTIONAL ISSUES?
The Arrowsmith Program has been successful in addressing attentional difficulties. Many individuals with specific learning difficulties 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 improvement as students engage in the cognitive exercises.
What is the purpose of the initial assessment?
The assessment identifies each individual’s learning profile and provides the basis for designing individual programs to address a range of specific learning difficulties.
Please note the assessment is not used as the basis for determining suitability for the Arrowsmith Program. Suitability is determined through a meeting with an Arrowsmith teacher.
CAN ASSESSMENTS PERFORMED ELSEWHERE OR OTHER REPORTS BE USED IN PLACE OF THE ARROWSMITH ASSESSMENT?
The Arrowsmith assessment is vital in order for an individual to participate in an Arrowsmith Program as it identifies which cognitive exercises and at which level an individual would begin their program.
While it is beneficial to review any previous assessment reports to learn about the individual’s learning history, a traditional psych-education report will not replace the Arrowsmith assessment.
What does the assessment involve?
Individuals will spend between 1 to 2 days completing an assessment which will identify their unique learning profile.
The assessment is made up of tests designed by Barbara Arrowsmith Young. The outcome of the assessment will provide recommendations for enrolment and programming options.
WHAT RESEARCH IS AVAILABLE FOR THE ARROWSMITH PROGRAM?
The Arrowsmith Program Research Team headed by Arrowsmith Program Director, Barbara Arrowsmith Young, Arrowsmith Program Executive Director, Debbie Gilmore and Arrowsmith Program Strategic Operations Manager, Jessica Poulin is currently working with researchers to design and conduct studies in various disciplines, including education, psychology, and neuroscience.
These studies will investigate the changes in the brain as well as academic, cognitive, emotional and social outcomes that occur for students engaged in the Arrowsmith Program.
It is expected that the results of these current studies will be published in peer-reviewed journals upon completion. Read more about all research studies on our Research Page.
DO STUDENTS MAINTAIN THEIR IMPROVEMENTS?
Students that we have followed up to 30 years after completion of the program have maintained their improvements. Once the improvement is in place, it is hypothesised that the individual maintains this gain by using the cognitive area in everyday functioning.
Full Time verses Part Time
Since most learning tasks require the coordinated efforts of multiple cognitive areas, individuals with several cognitive deficits would most benefit from a full time program. In order to address multiple areas of deficit, students in a PT Program will have to spend more time on the program. This also means that students and parents considering a PT Program must have realistic expectations with regards to the rate of improvement. Without addressing multiple cognitive areas simultaneously certain tasks and skills may continue to prove challenging and additional resource support may continue to be required over a longer period of time.
Please explain the concept of sooner rather than later, and what are the benefits to having younger students in the program?
Learning disabilities can have a significant impact on students as they struggle through school and life in general. Learning problems interfere with both academic and social life, and can lead to limited success and a poor self-concept. Low self-esteem can even lead to depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses. By targeting and strengthening learning dysfunctions at a younger age, we remove or lessen that possibility that a learning disability can have damaging effects to a student’s life in the future. They will have the same opportunities as other students without learning difficulties.
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 begin to change behaviourally, where their new hold on their cognitive abilities can, for example, begin to increase confidence and social awareness among students.