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.