Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that isn’t answered here please email us at or schedule a call and ask us on our call. 


The program was developed by Barbara Arrowsmith Young in 1978 to address her specific learning difficulties.

What makes the Arrowsmith Program unique is that it does not use any compensatory methods.

Instead, it focuses on the core learning challenge by addressing the root cause.

Every student has a program designed to meet their own needs and coursework is continually monitored in real-time so pupils work on what they need.

Students can progress at their own pace using a range of 19 cognitive exercises designed to work on different functions of the brain.

Arrowsmith is helping students worldwide address a range of learning difficulties as well as helping students within a mainstream environment build a strong foundation for learning.

Students who enrol on our full-time and part-time programs 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 dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, auditory and/or visual processing disorders, attention difficulties and 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.

To consider whether the Arrowsmith Program would be suitable for you/your child, please book an initial call below.

If we feel the program will offer a benefit we will recommend a consultation where we can meet your child and they can try their hand at some of the exercises.  

While it does not guarantee your enrolment at A1 Student, it will allow you to determine whether the learning issues you/your child experience could be addressed through the Arrowsmith Program.

Should you/your child be within the average range of intellectual functioning and are experiencing the types of issues described in this checklist, you/your child are likely candidates for the Program.  

Please note the Arrowsmith Program is not designed for individuals with developmental or intellectual delays, autism, brain injury or illness, or psychiatric or psychological disorders.

To complete an assessment or to enrol at the Arrowsmith School, parents or individuals are encouraged to complete the checklist to determine the Program’s suitability.

The students at A1 Student typically range in age from seven years old to adults. Parents of children less than seven years of age are encouraged to contact us and reserve a place for their child once they are old enough to be considered ready for participation. Exceptions will be made for the MSS program.

The Arrowsmith Program is developed for individuals struggling with specific learning difficulties (SLD).

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 at A1 Student to ensure suitability.

A1 Student 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 cognitive exercises.

All students enrolling in the full-time day school and after-school part-time programs at A1 Student are assessed.

The Accelerator™* Cognitive Learning Program [MSS] and Springboard to NCEA™* After-School Cognitive Learning Programs do not require an initial assessment.  

Please contact Principal Pip Block at for further information.

Yes. We enrol students throughout the year, subject to availability.

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 the initial consultation.

The assessment of students entering A1 Student is conducted by Pip Block or one of our trained Arrowsmith teachers.

The tests are scored and analysed at Arrowsmith School in Canada.

Individuals will spend a day at A1 Student completing an assessment which will identify their unique learning profile.

The assessment is made up of tests designed by Barbara Arrowsmith Young as well as standardised cognitive and achievement tests. 

The outcome of the assessment will provide recommendations for enrolment and programming options.

A1 Students will usually require a two-three-year program of full-time attendance before returning to a full academic program in a public or private school or other educational organization at his or her appropriate grade level.

However, some of our students have returned to the mainstream after a year.

If a student is unable to complete the program they will still achieve benefits each year they are in the program.

Upon completion of the program, some students may require one to two years to gain experience using their strengthened learning capacities and some students may need tutoring initially to bring academic skills to grade level.

The Arrowsmith Program Research Team is headed by Arrowsmith Program Director, Barbara Arrowsmith-Young.

Arrowsmith is committed to research. There is much to learn in this field and the Arrowsmith Program’s commitment to research will contribute to our understanding of learning difficulties and the outcomes of cognitive programs.

Arrowsmith invites all those curious to learn more about the brain and how it works for students with learning difficulties to join their Global Research Initiative.

The Global Research Initiative is made up of researchers at Universities in Canada, the United States, Spain and Estonia all studying the outcomes of this work and we welcome researchers from around the world to join this initiative.

Since 1997 there have been over 20 research studies involving some 700 students looking into the outcomes of the Arrowsmith Program. There are another four research projects currently underway at three universities and there are further discussions underway with additional universities.

Among these studies are two published peer-reviewed research papers including the latest from UBC. Significantly they all show the same or very similar results– that the program is effective for students with learning difficulties.

Somewhere between 10 to 20% of the population has learning difficulties. What is clear is that, while the traditional approaches often have benefits in increasing academic achievement in the skill area targeted, these methods are not getting to the root cause.

Over the past 20 years there have been many independent studies of the program and all of them point to the same conclusion; that the program works and that children and young people have benefited.

Click here to read more about all research studies on the Arrowsmith Program on their website. 

Students that Arrowsmith has followed over thirty years after completion of the program have maintained their improvements.

Once the improvement is in place, it is hypothesized that the individual maintains this gain by using the cognitive area in everyday functioning.

It has been thought that if you were born with a learning difficulty you were stuck with this for life. The only option was to work around it.

By building a new neural pathway in the brain using neuroplasticity learning disabilities can be addressed.

Developed by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, who is recognized as a pioneer and creator of one of the first treatment applications utilizing the principles of neuroplasticity.

Barbara began using these principles in 1978 to address her own learning disorders.

The Arrowsmith Program is global and we have over 40 years of experience in addressing a wide range of learning difficulties.

It might seem counterintuitive to take a child out of a mainstream class, that teaches core subjects, but typically we find that our students in the full-time program are able to address their learning difficulties quicker and more effectively so that they can return to mainstream classes and achieve better grades faster.

Click to watch Principal Pip Block talk about this.

What is the point of keeping a child in an environment where they are unable to learn and it is making them anxious or unhappy?

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