The genesis of the Arrowsmith Program of cognitive exercises lies in Barbara Arrowsmith Young’s journey of discovery and innovation to overcome her own severe learning disabilities, a description of which appears in the article, Building a Better Brain or in Chapter 2 of the book, “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Dr. Norman Doidge.
Diagnosed in grade one as having a mental block, which today would have been identified as multiple learning disabilities, she read and wrote everything backwards, had trouble processing concepts in language, continuously got lost and was physically uncoordinated. Barbara eventually learnt to read and write from left to right and mask a number of the symptoms of her learning disabilities through heroic effort, however she continued throughout her educational career to have difficulty with specific aspects of learning.
Barbara 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 (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). After her undergraduate studies were completed Barbara worked as the Head Teacher in the lab preschool at the University of Guelph for two years where she began to observe learning differences in preschool children.