The Arrowsmith Program

The Arrowsmith Program for elementary or secondary students is a full-day, multi-year, cognitive training program designed to strengthen cognitive skills in students with learning challenges, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, auditory, visual and non-verbal processing, and attention. It is also useful for individuals who do not have identified learning difficulties, but who are challenged by issues of organization, processing, problem solving, communication, memory, and/or independence. It was founded by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young through her process of figuring out how to remediate her own learning disabilities. Ms. Arrowsmith-Young holds both a B.A.Sc. in Child Studies from the University of Guelph and a Master’s degree in School Psychology from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

The program includes exercises to strengthen 19 areas of cognitive function. The exercises are divided into three categories:

  1. Computer exercises for reasoning, comprehension, math, reading, and visual memory
  2. Computer exercises for speaking, writing, and vocabulary, as well as for auditory, phonemic, and working memory
  3. Pen and paper exercises for motor skills

Students must spend a minimum of four 40-minute periods per day, 5 days a week for at least 3 years engaged in the exercises, eventually returning to normal school curriculum. In-depth assessments provide an initial profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses to individualize the intervention and end-of-year reports to track progress and modify future program protocols.

The program has been implemented in over 100 educational organizations in Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, and Asia. It can only be accessed through an accredited school in operation for at least 5 years with a minimum of 100 students. It is unavailable for home use. The program is administered by a teacher certified in a three-week intensive summer training at the Arrowsmith School in Toronto.