Comments by Professionals
Halton Hills Christian School Letter
Arrowsmith has proven to be a vital and integral program at our school. One of our core values is that every student matters and having the Arrowsmith program available is one way of fulfilling that core value.
Confidence levels were the first indicator that the Arrowsmith program was having an impact. Students who previously seemed shy or unengaged, were now making eye contact, voicing opinions, and speaking up. One parent shared that her son ordered his own meal at a restaurant for the first time after a few months in the program. Another student has shared that she is now able to speak up in mainstream class and is even participating in debates. “I am thinking more quickly and have more ideas,” she said.
Reading scores for these students have increased, with some students making a gain of a year or more in four months. Other students have seen improvements in math, in writing, and penmanship. We are proud of our students and love celebrating their successes!
Halton Hills Christian School
Access School Florida Letter
As an educator of 22 years, I have had the opportunity to teach in Canada and the United States. In my every day educational practice, I see students struggling and abandoning hope because most programs are similar and none focus on building the brain.
I implemented the Arrowsmith Program because it does not draw on compensatory methods or the repackaging of curriculum. This program imparts a method of remediating learning issues instead of creating accommodations.
With this program, I now see daily the vibrant growth in every student. Every child is capable of handling curriculum as long as the brain is given the correct retraining to allow meaning, ideas and concepts to break in.
The Arrowsmith Program permits the individual to gain ground and thrive and later reunites academic programming and educators together to take their rightful place, with the prospect of teaching with purpose.
Claude LeFrancois, Principal at Access School, Florid
Special Education Teacher Letter
As a high school special education teacher, I have had the opportunity to work with the following student over the past two years in the area of English. We met on a daily basis for 40 minutes of classroom instruction. In the second year of working with Marisa, she began several of the Arrowsmith cognitive exercises. These are the changes I noted.
This student worked on the cognitive program to improve her ability to think and problem solve and stay focused and on task. Some of the English assignments require thinking skills in order to write creatively. Last year and the beginning of this year were difficult for Marisa because she couldn’t focus in on the topic. Her writing was often unrelated to the topic. However, after several months of working on the Arrowsmith cognitive exercise related to improving executive functioning, Marisa began to show improvement. She now starts on task and keeps the proper focus. Marisa can remain on target for a longer time. The point is, Marisa’s written work doesn’t “wander” or appear obscure as it did prior to the cognitive work. Her ideas are better organized and more coherent with less rambling and irrelevancies. She also became more able to learn from her mistakes and start to be self-corrective and more thought goes into her compositions and essays.
Behaviorally, Marisa has also demonstrated growth. She worked on the program for non-verbal thinking and social reasoning. Prior to working on this program Marisa had been inappropriate much of the time- speaking loudly, making exaggerated body gestures, flailing her arms and “bouncing about” as she spoke to either staff or students. She was rarely accurate in her interpretation of social situations. Oftentimes when being spoken to, Marisa wasn’t attending to the conversation and at times interrupting impulsively about something totally unrelated to the statements being made by others. Several months into the program my co-teacher and I noted that Marisa began demonstrating better listening skills through attentiveness and making more eye contact when being spoken to. She has become much more accurate in interpreting social situations and reading social cues. It should be noted that these behaviors are in reference to informal time rather than class teaching time. Marisa now demonstrates the ability to restrain herself and interact in a “calmer” manner and her responses are appropriate to the social situation.
Self image and good feelings of self are as much a matter to consider when describing the progress I’ve noted. Marisa is very aware of and is very pleased with her progress. She is open to this help and proud of her accomplishments. I feel the program individualized for her by Arrowsmith has been extremely positive and helpful and I certainly feel it would be advantageous for other people who experience roadblocks to learning and socialization skills.
Marisa has demonstrated dramatic improvements in handwriting. Whereas her written work was difficult to read and the uniformity of the letters were terribly inconsistent and the spacing was poor, she now writes legibly! Her ability to organize and space written work on a page has improved; sentence structure has improved; there are fewer careless spelling errors in her written work, e.g., dropping off the ends of her words such as writing “cover” when she meant “covered”; and productivity has increased.
The following sample is of the change in this student’s handwriting. The first sample is of handwriting prior to this student working on the cognitive exercise for the motor symbol sequencing problem and the second sample is during treatment. This student had a motor symbol sequencing dysfunction which resulted in the initial handwriting difficulties. No practice was given in handwriting. The handwriting changed as a result of improved motor symbol sequencing functioning due to the specific Arrowsmith Program cognitive exercises.
I wanted to let you know about some of the progress I have noticed with my resource room students who are also enroled in the Arrowsmith program.
The student who appears to have made the most progress is one of the boys.
I have taught this student for several years, and this is the first year that I have really seen him able to focus on a lesson for an extended period of time. Previously, he was extremely off task, and could only sustain focus for at the most 5 minutes at a time. He needed constant refocusing to the task at hand. Additionally, his handwriting has greatly improved since September, and he is now able to write on the line, and legibly. This had been a major issue in school. He feels better about himself due to his progress in Arrowsmith, and he is more willing to try challenging tasks, since he now feels he may be able to succeed.
Other resource room students who take Arrowsmith have also made progress in their academic skills. Another male student’s reading comprehension has improved. He is now better able to read his science textbook, and understand what he is reading. Previously, I had to break down the text into small parts, and explain every main concept. A female student’s decoding has improved, and she had been reading her social studies textbook and taking notes with minimal help from me. In previous years, she was not able to take notes from a textbook independently. Due to her improved decoding, she now had a better understanding of what she is reading.
I am impressed with the progress that my resource room students have made in such a short time.
Special Education Consultant Letter
Impressions on Paul’s Progress Since Arrowsmith:
I just spent three visits with Paul while he was home for spring break (March 18-25, 2008). It was truly amazing to see the changes since I saw him in December. His overall demeanor was calmer and more centered. He was acting more age appropriate, and seemed more interactive with what was going on around him. When you talk to him, he turns his whole body towards you, and sustains his physical presence during the conversation. At one point,
Paul and I started to talk about the difference between Canada and America, and it turned into a conversation about their governments, and then about the presidential election. The conversation flowed from one topic to the next, like a mature normal conversation. In the past, I would have had to ask a lot of questions to keep a conversation going. This conversation is the most mature one by far that I have ever had with Paul. He volunteered information and opinions, and listened and responded to what I had to say. It was really memorable. Paul’s speech fluency was much improved from his last visit. Last time, he could barely talk because he was so dysfluent, stumbling over each word, and especially at the beginning of a sentence. This time he was very fluent, with almost no dysfluencies. He seemed to speak effortlessly. You can see the relief on his face as he speaks. We also did quite a bit of reading. During his last visit, I was very concerned about Paul’s reading. He seemed to have forgotten how to read. He could not remember basic vowel combinations, consonant blends, and how to read in phrases. This time, Paul’s reading level appears to have gone up several grade levels! He read all sorts of vocabulary words easily, and did not stumble over parts of words. He read with improved sense of the phrases which increases his reading out loud fluency and comprehension. It wasn’t like he was reading words, but more like he was reading a story. He was very invested in the material. The sum of these changes is phenomenal! It doesn’t seem possible that a person could change so fundamentally in such a short time. This program is doing something to Paul’s brain that is incomprehensible to us outsiders.
Susan, Educational consultant/ Speech Pathologist
American Christian School Letter
The Arrowsmith Program has filled a void in our educational program by reaching out, giving students hope, and providing an opportunity to taste success. Susan was a senior in High School. She had difficulties remembering and when she did, she was unable to sequence the information correctly.
After a few months in the Arrowsmith Program she stunned her parents by relating the events of an episode of “I Love Lucy” she had viewed the previous evening in perfect order! As she continued to make progress a family member who had not seen her in months didn’t believe she was the same person.
The changes I have witnessed in ability and personality in our Arrowsmith students in the 3 years that we have offered the program is miraculous. It offers hope and a chance to succeed to the overwhelmed and overwrought.
Dr. Carol Midkiff, Principal American Christian School Succasunna, New Jersey