I came across the Arrowsmith Program about 5 years ago through some research in order to help my daughter. My journey was one of helping a child that was experiencing something that I never did when I was her age – namely a significant learning issue.
She struggled to do things that, at her age, I found relatively easy – actually, her weakness was one of my strengths and to watch her struggle broke my heart. The Arrowsmith Program gave my family the tools to assist her in her learning journey and our lives have never been the same since. I have gone from worrying about what her future might be, and whether I might need to support her, to one of wondering what she will choose to do. The only word that I can use to describe this journey would be “transformational”.
I watched her through this journey and encouraged her when it got tough, which it often did but, until recently, I didn’t ponder whether it could assist me. My aim in this is rather selfish. What happens if I could become sharper? I decided to allocate some of the funds I spend on personal development to trying the “Symbol Relations Enhancement” program. This is a journal of my experience in doing Symbol Relations as a professional worker. I am posting it on the Empowering Lives website because they are assisting me on this journey.
Truthfully, I expected to move through the initial levels pretty quickly – I have used an analog watch since I was about 10 and regularly work with 24 hour time, and I can type fast - boy, was I wrong.
The exercise is draining, if you have a kid doing this exercise, then understand, it is hard work. I set a timer in my office for 35 minutes and slogged at it for what felt like ages but the kind staff at Empowering Lives informed me that I had only done 12 minutes engaged time. I must admit I was distracted with emails in between!
I will admit to struggling to fully concentrate for that amount of time. If I get a question wrong, I start to think about it for the next few questions, and quite often I get a number wrong soon after. If I get a lot right I start to congratulate myself on getting them right and then I get one wrong! I also wonder if I have seen that time before, is there a pattern? In short, I am thinking about so much while I am doing it, rather than just concentrating on the task at hand.
In order to “master” - I need to fulfill a certain criteria. I am currently not there – but I use for motivation the fact that I know my daughter did this program. It isn’t easy.
What I have noticed
Truthfully, not too much right now but I am only on day 5. I do wonder if my ability to focus will improve, and my reasoning. My wife is hoping for a better ability to learn how to cook! :-) I am excited to begin this journey with Arrowsmith and Empowering Lives.
Welcome to our second Time to... chat. I was extremely privileged and honoured to interview Barbara Arrowsmith-Young who is the founder of the Arrowsmith Program.
Barbara is one of my heroes. She is humble, kind and her heart is to share her program with the world to bring hope and allow people to 'dare to dream'.
Barbara designed the Arrowsmith program trying to help address her own learning issues. She knows first hand the hardship and struggles of having a learning difficulty. Yet, through sheer determination, Barbara developed the Arrowsmith Program which is now changing lives all over the world.
Personally, there is nothing I could ever say or do that could express my gratitude to Barbara for her bravery as it transformed our family's life.
Grab a cuppa and enjoy this interview with Barbara.
Ever since I read the book 'Reversed' a memoir by Lois Letchford, a desire has been in my heart to share the journeys of parents who have overcome many difficulties and obstacles with their child. I love reading true stories of people's lives and how they have overcome adversity to achieve great things.
Thus Time to... chat was born.
I was honoured to have Lois as my first guest and we could have chatted for hours. This was my first video and I have learnt many things of what not to do for next time so I apologise in advance for the video quality!
Grab a cuppa and put yourself in time out for 30 minutes and enjoy listening to Lois tell you how love, determination and never giving up changed her son's trajectory. How her son was told he was the worst kid to teach in Grade 1 to now.... well you need to listen or watch the video/audio to find out.
People are amazed when I share my family's journey into the world of Arrowsmith and beyond. We have come such a long way since the day I heard about Arrowsmith in March, 2015. I was feeling overwhelmed by how I could help my daughter who was struggling significantly at school, especially in Mathematics.
Our journey began with an unplanned move to Toronto in 2015 where we lived for nine months in a two bedroom unit, enduring -27 degree winters - a tad cold for us Queenslanders! The leap of faith that started as a six week journey into the unknown program of 'Arrowsmith' was the best decision we could have ever made. It is not only our daughter but our whole family who is travelling on a very different trajectory in life.
I am not an educator or a specialist in the medical field. I am no expert and don't claim to be. I am just a Mum who didn't accept the long term prognosis of what we were told from specialists and believed in a different and more positive future for our daughter.
We wanted our daughter to go to school and always have a love of learning. To be able to live in the 'real' world and enjoy a job. My opinions come from the hard journey we have walked. I have learned an incredible amount about the brain and have spent literally hundreds of hours of research, reading, and trialling many, many programs. I am not perfect, never will be, but my heart yearns for my children to love learning and now, my journey has expanded to include a passionate desire to help other children who think they don't fit into school or aren't smart. I want them to realise that they can increase their capacity to learn, feel as clever as other children and that they are needed and valuable members of our society.
This is why Empowering Lives was born. The Collins dictionary tells us the word empowering means "having qualities that give a person or a group of people the means to take more control of their lives and become stronger and more independent". Thus, I am determined to help my children and students feel empowered.
The results we have seen with our daughter have only come through hard work - years of very hard, disciplined work. We have invested all we had to help her to be able to re-enter school in 2018. She has worked incredibly hard and we are so proud of her. After three years of Arrowsmith, homeschooling and intense tutoring, she re-entered school, without requiring learning support, and is doing exceptionally well - so much better than we could have ever imagined or dreamed.
Arrowsmith has only been one part of our story. Once you address the cognitive issues, you still have to work hard to catch up academically. There have been a few programs I personally have done with my children and have seen incredible progress in their learning.
One of the areas that I believe is so vital is having the ability to read. Everything is based on reading. It is the doorway to learning. How can you do a Maths word problem if you can't read? How can you fill out forms, if you can't read? I feel passionate in helping our students increase their reading ability.
Empowering Lives is excited to be partnering with two different reading programs. You can find out more about them in the links below.
2. Reading Assistant - Online reading program
If I were asked what my dream is, this would be it:
My dream is that every child or adult who has struggled with learning, may know that through hard work, you can change your brain through the power of neuroplasticity. Every student who walks into Empowering Lives looking for hope, finds it. They find freedom from their difficulty through their own hard work and leave knowing they can achieve their dreams.
From what started out as our own Arrowsmith journey four years ago, now I feel very blessed to have the wonderful opportunity to help others through Empowering Lives.