Arrowsmith was established in Toronto in 1980 and has operated continuously in Toronto since then. The cognitive exercises that are the foundation of the Arrowsmith Program began to be developed by Barbara Arrowsmith Young and were first offered to students with specific learning difficulties in 1978.
Students who come to A1 Student 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 contact Pip Block at office@a1student.com to register for a consultation. 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 and then contact office@a1student.com
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 the cognitive exercises.
Please contact Pip Block at office@a1student.com
A1 Student accepts enrolment during the year subject to availability.
All students enrolling in the full time day school and after school part time programs at A1 Student are assessed. The Motor Symbol Sequencing and Cognitive Enhancement Program described on our Part Time Programs page do not require an initial assessment.  Please contact Pip Block at office@a1student.com for further information.
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 the 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 standardized cognitive and achievement tests.  The outcome of the assessment will provide recommendations for enrolment and programming options
A1 Students will usually require a two to 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 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 student to teacher ratio at Arrowsmith School is up to 15 to 1.
The Arrowsmith Program Research Team headed by Arrowsmith Program Director, Barbara Arrowsmith Young, Arrowsmith Program Executive Director, Debbie Gilmore 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 the Arrowsmith Program on the website
The program has been 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 experience at addressing a wide range of learning difficulties. If you would like to receive the scientific research and brain imaging which prove the effectiveness of the program, please register and we will be happy to provide this to you.
Students that Arrowsmith have followed over 30 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. Advances in education and scientific research now prove that it is possible to build a new neural pathway in the brain using neuroplasticity so that 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 experience at 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 we find that our students in the full time program are able to address their learning difficulty faster and more effectively enabling them to return to mainstream classes and achieve better grades. What is the point keeping a child in an environment which they have been unable to learn in and has made them anxious or unhappy? https://youtu.be/AnCNyMTQoQQ