Learning Dysfunctions Addressed

The article Definition of a Learning Dysfunction written by Arrowsmith Program founder Barbara Arrowsmith Young outlines a theoretical framework for understanding the nature of learning dysfunctions and is the framework used by the Arrowsmith Program.

The learning dysfunctions, as postulated by Arrowsmith Young, described in the Description of Learning Dysfunctions Addressed, impact learning, academics and social skills. Each learning dysfunction is accompanied by an explanation of how a difficulty in the underlying cognitive area might present itself using examples of common tasks, skills, and familiar situations.

The Arrowsmith Program has developed cognitive exercises, each designed with the goal of strengthening and enhancing the cognitive capacities underlying each of these dysfunctions. These descriptions can be used by parents, students, and teachers to help them recognize a range of areas that may be contributing to struggles in learning and social situations.

These descriptions are not absolute and do not describe all of the possible problems that may interfere with the learning process. However, they are the more common areas of difficulty. Any one individual may exhibit all, or only some, of the common features listed.

It is possible that a strength in one area can compensate for a weakness in another, or that a weakness in one area can suppress the functioning of a strength in another. Variables including age, experience and the unique combinations of difficulties will contribute to an individual’s overall functioning and performance.

The Arrowsmith Program Assessment is designed to identify which of these 19 specific areas of learning dysfunction underlying factors are contributing to a student’s learning difficulties.

The information contained in the Description of Learning Dysfunctions Addressed describes the functioning of each area and each area’s role in the learning process.

The typical student in the Arrowsmith Program at Arrowsmith School or at a school offering the Arrowsmith Program has weaknesses in a number of these areas and when you are reading the descriptions we invite you to compare them with what you observe in your own child or student. If he or she is having difficulty in school, this may assist you in understanding some of the reasons. Adults of all ages with learning difficulties can also benefit from reading these descriptions to gain an understanding of their own experiences.

If you find a correspondence between several of the areas and your observations of your child or student, or your observations of your own cognitive capacities, then the Arrowsmith Program may be able to help.