Parent of Student, Eaton Cognitive Improvement Center
I dare to dream of a time when my young adult son is accepted socially and blends in with ‘the normal’. Like it or not, our society, myself included, does not readily accept a loud speaking self-absorbed man with no impulse control. I genuinely fear for my son’s safety any time he ventures out. People may mistake his loud voice for aggression. His lack of insight could lead him to associate with harmful characters.
I have wondered over the years how I could contact every bank in the world to stop them from ever issuing a credit card to my son who has no concept of math whatsoever, and as previously mentioned no impulse control or inner voice. I dare to dream of a time my young adult son can understand numbers and dollars and risks and limits.
I dare to dream of a time when my young adult son can live autonomously, safely and productively. At present he has limited working memory or processing skills. To make a piece of toast is bewildering to him. To take the grapes from the fridge, wash them and then eat them is boggling, much easier to open a packet of pretzels. Tying his shoe lace involves two ‘bunny ears’, tying the ‘normal’ way is presently inconceivable.
Until we discovered the Arrowsmith program we sometimes thought our son and brother was inept and lazy. We assumed his constant interrupting was rude. We now understand that he processes differently, and speaks incessantly in order to try to comprehend the incomprehensible. We judged him harshly at times because we knew that he is intelligent, he ‘gets’ things, yet we couldn’t understand why he didn’t share that insight in a proper manner by articulating it with words both spoken and written. We now understand he can’t verbalize, or write about the many things he knows. I dare to dream of a time my young adult son can properly articulate the many things he knows or will one day learn.
There is many a disconnect in my young adult son’s brain. Until we discovered the Arrowsmith program we thought this would be a life sentence.
I dare to dream that my young adult son’s brain will change for the better. For a better life, for a fuller life, for a safer life, for an easier life.
Parent, Eaton Arrowsmith School Student
After only one year, she has already completely come out of her shell and is now doing things we did not ever thing would be possible. Firstly, she has a large group of friends, feels incredibly safe and respected within the school community, and each day jumps out of bed to go to school. Secondly, she now seems to understand so much more about the world around her and all of the former anger, frustration and anxiety has completely disappeared. And lastly, and quite incredibly, recently she eagerly volunteered to join a girls’ softball team with people she did not know in an unfamiliar, competitive environment. Instead of giving up after the first game when it was obvious her skill level was quite low, she showed great determination to persist and learn new skills, not letting minor failures like dropped balls and missed hits upset her. This newfound determination and resilience clearly shows to us that she herself is now daring to dream of a life where she can do what she wants and be who she wants to be, uninhibited by all of the learning difficulties she has lived with for so long. We are amazed at this extraordinary will power and focus, and every day count our blessings and are grateful to Barbara Arrowsmith Young for developing such an amazing program.
Oliver, Student, Eaton Arrowsmith School
Dare to Dream means having ideas for future jobs/projects. Dare to Dream means to be adventurous and have hybrid ideas, to fight for human rights, save the sharks, and score a goal in hockey, etc. Dare to Dream for the future because school is only the beginning. “Teachers plant the seeds that grow forever!”
Emily, Student, Eaton Arrowsmith School
I dream about having a job I love and can manage well with the help of the program at this school, I feel like this dream of mine will succeed, “walls” have been put up in front of me, and trust me they have been difficult to pass. I feel confident that these “walls” will crumble so that I can pass. In other words, there were many academic challenges for me in high school, but I feel like the program will greatly help me and improve my life for wonderful things to happen. I dream to have a profession in the word of culinary arts. I am glad that there are exercises to help with math at Arrowsmith School. I will have to know some math for measuring out ingredients in baking and/or cooking. I dare to pursue my dream. I dare to work hard, be steadfast, and strive to complete my goals.
Student, 18, Arrowsmith School Peterborough
Things were rough and hard before Arrowsmith. I was just not good at school. I’d always get bad grades. I did have bad dreams all the time but wasn’t sure how close I would come into doing them. Three years at Arrowsmith has changed it all. It’s completely polished me up. The program has helped me so much. I know I will get through education in an easier and more efficient way. My dreams as well I know I can actually pursue them further on. I feel I have more opportunities around me and newer paths have opened up for my future. In the years being here one of the improvements were in my actions and manners which have become better, building a new more responsible and kinder character in me. I know now that whatever comes in the future will be easier and exciting because of Arrowsmith.
Student, 26, Arrowsmith School Peterborough
I don’t want to be the same person anymore. I want to do remarkable things or be noticed for anything respectful or loving. That’s up to me to decide. My dreams have changed since then. In fact I’m not sure. Facing reality just seems more important now with what I know. Sometimes you can’t just ask for things to happen and little by little you must do things on your own. I will strive to honor what people have given me in this short time. I believe and feel what this place has done so many little things that are added up to a single great change.
Student, 16, Arrowsmith School Peterborough
I dream on becoming a zoologist when I grow up. In order to become a zoologist I need a college degree, and before I came to Arrowsmith it felt so hard for me to make good grades in school where it felt impossible for me to get accepted into University and pass my final exams. Now after doing some work at Arrowsmith things are starting to feel easier where I’m able to pass my work on my high school courses and also it doesn’t feel hard for me to get into university so I’ll be then able to become a zoologist which will make my dream come true.
Student, 64, Arrowsmith School Peterborough
One of the drawbacks I have faced in life is the “wall syndrome”; when you come to a wall, you stop and don’t get to the other side, at least for a long time or until adrenaline panic push somehow gets you over or through or around the wall. I have had this experience in study at tertiary level trying to do assignments or study for exams, in relationships, in business decisions and in many other aspects of my life that required a decision. Study courses on decision making are helpful, but they don’t necessarily give you the capacity to make decisions, but once you develop the capacity to make decisions, these courses can be spectacular.
I feel that I am in the position now to deal with issues of decision making as well as issues involving auditory and visual memory in a way that was not possible before. When I look back on my life and recognize how I have been held back by cognitive issues, I resonate with Barbara Arrowsmith Young’s dream to make the Arrowsmith program available to all children at Elementary school so that they avoid the obstacles as well as the accompanying emotional and social issues.
Maybe we all need to buy lottery tickets in the name of Arrowsmith School. Or better yet, find cooperative, enthusiastic governments and maybe even private enterprise.
Student, 13, Arrowsmith School Peterborough
When I was about 11 I wanted to be a teacher, but then I remembered that my multiplication was terrible. I didn’t even know what 8×2 was, but now that I went to Arrowsmith I know most of my times tables like: 8×8=64 7×3=21 9×9-81 9×4=36. And some with clocks. I didn’t know what the hands meant. I didn’t know what the hour hand was and same with the minute hand. But look at me now, it takes me 2 seconds to look what the clock in front of me and it’s only been my first year at Arrowsmith and I am already on 10 hands! All of this from Arrowsmith, it’s a life changing school.
Student, 32, Arrowsmith School Peterborough
What I dream about is the competence to keep a job. To remember the instructions given to me for more than five minutes one needs a life to live and grow. A job, a career, or a purpose is a cornerstone of life, something to drive you, to fire you, to give you a course for your ambition. I would like to work with people towards a goal. I have never had the competence or the confidence to really try to reach for anything. Whether to have a lover or career or much of a life at all, Arrowsmith helped me with my dreams in two ways. First it gave me the kick in the ass I needed to get out of the status I was in. Second it gave me a purpose and achievable goals to reach for. I will reach for the goals from Arrowsmith and afterwards I will look for something that sparks my interests.
Student, 11, Arrowsmith School Peterborough
The Arrowsmith program made me dream again because now the things I can do are endless. I could be a CEO of a company or I can get a PHD in robotics because I can read and write and understand things I could not before. Before Arrowsmith I could only remember a couple of things but now I can remember anything. If someone is having trouble then I would say come to Arrowsmith. The best part of Arrowsmith is the people I have made some new friends. I have only been here for 9 months but the changes that have happened are life changing and like I said before just come to Arrowsmith.
Louise, Eaton Arrowsmith School
At the moment, the things that are much closer to now that I really want to do first and foremost is graduating high school. It just wasn’t going to happen before coming here and now I’m pretty sure I can do it. I’ll be sure to send you guys a photo of my little certificate in two years. I never expected I could be so excited about school, but I genuinely cannot wait to prove myself that I can do it. I’m pretty sure I can. The next thing after that is I want to go to University in Scotland.
I want to be a nurse but Dyslexia was getting in my way then I came to Arrowsmith and it got easier and easier to accomplish my dream of being a nurse. I want to be a nurse because I want to help people, it’s my dream to be a nurse and Arrowsmith has helped me accomplish it. Thank you Arrowsmith. The end!
-Student, 10, Arrowsmith School Peterborough
Pete, Arrowsmith School Toronto
When I was a kid I’ve always wondered: why do planes fly, what is space and why are we here, what is it like to fly. It was an ongoing thought in my brain that kept running in a cycle. Every plane I saw, heard, and flew in, I was in love. The thrill, existence, time, speed and the unknown is what drives me to this day. But there is something in the way. The two letters L.D. Ever since I was a kid I had a learning issue, behavioural issue and social issues as well. School was simply impossible for me. No one understands me, I didn’t understand them, and they did not know what was wrong with me. Throughout the years I was put in special tutor to help me, which helped me a bit, but not in everything. Throughout time I did improve and get into high school. I’ve always enjoyed it at high school, but not my marks so much. I would spend nights saying to myself why can’t I memorize a single thing from math. Throughout high school I lived with the pain. I was afraid about talking about my marks. I felt embarrassed and different. But then the day came when I go to go to Arrowsmith. After I found out that I had a few issues that really effected learning in school that was when I knew I would fit in.
Throughout the year I went to Arrowsmith and did many exercises, which were hard but worth it in the end. By the end of the year I saw many changes. I’ve started to notice that reading and writing has improved a lot. I was able to write a topic faster and not have any mistakes that I had before. I am able to read a passage much more quickly without needing to stop. The next thing I noticed was my social life, that I am more appropriate around people. I can have long talks with people and be socially acceptable. Somehow I feel like this is something in my brain that goes off now before doing something that might seem off to people. I noticed my reaction time is much better. If I would stop something I would be able to get back to it quicker than before. The biggest change I’ve noticed is in learning material. I am able to use info in my head and not forget it. I can sit down and study without being distracted. Things just simply seem better.
Now you are probably wondering what this relates to. That is, in being a pilot. All of the training, learning, and multitasking required all relates to the 19 areas of learning. If it wasn’t for Arrowsmith I probably wouldn’t have gotten closer to my dream. But it is not a dream anymore, its reality. I have already started my flight training and it is going well for me.
Matthew, Arrowsmith School Toronto
The Arrowsmith program has allowed me to dream big, and there are a couple of things that are my dreams like my career or my future school or getting better at every day stuff, like homework.
My career when I get older I want to go to Med School because my dream job is to be a surgeon, and this school has opened up this possibility.
Chris, Arrowsmith School Toronto
After Arrowsmith, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I might be a paramedic, an accountant, or even a lawyer. Now I can set up a target and shoot for it, and if I miss I can just aim for another. While my arrow is in flight, the target might move or shrink, so I’ll have to aim straight. Before, I would aim for one shot, and miss, every single time. It was more like throwing an arrow. Arrowsmith has become a bow for me to use accurately to fire towards my goal with ease.
-Student, 14, Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan
The Arrowsmith Program helped me in a big way because now as I get older I can accomplish things and dare to dream. I can read and understand humor and can have better conversations with my friends. When I get older I want to travel and go to college to become a teacher, get married, and have a family. And I will have a great life. I can have those dreams now because I am confident and I can read my level of reading. Before I did not know who I was and I had trouble with friends bullying me.
I can stand up to them because I can understand where they are coming from. And I don’t care what they think about me. All that matters is that I care about myself. Now I can stand up to them now. Arrowsmith has given me these tools that I needed to be able to achieve my dreams.
Student, 12, Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan
Now that I am in the Arrowsmith Program, I feel that now I can have a family after high school, go to college or university. Now I Dare to Dream because my self-esteem is better and I am more confident in myself. When I grow up I think I want to be a Dance Instructor, Baker or a Teacher.
Student, 11, Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan
Now I can Dare to Dream about becoming a better dancer because Arrowsmith has helped me remember the routines and I am not as clumsy. I plan to take more and more dance classes when I get older. Arrowsmith has also helped me to dream about a better school life. The subjects were easier and not as hard as before. I will Dare to Dream about having closer friends.
Student, 15, Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan
Before I came to Arrowsmith I couldn’t read social situations very well and now I can tell what people are feeling just by walking into a room. When I first came here I hated talking and being talked to. Now I am the complete opposite of that. My lifelong dream was to be a teacher, but what teacher can teach and hate talking to being and being talked to, and who couldn’t do math. EAS has prepared me to go out in the world and do what I want to do. Now I can dream again and face fewer obstacles and be less controlled by them.
Student, 30, Eaton Cognitive Improvement Center
Very slowly I’m starting to remember contexts of conversations, things that have happened to me in chronological order and feel less stressed remembering events. I trust myself more to give a good answer to a question.
Student, 21, Eaton Cognitive Improvement Center
Through doing “R” think my ability to interpret my own emotions more accurately has improved as well as my ability to regulate them. Memory of things like authors, events, things I’ve researched, what I did years or days ago has noticably increased. Tracing has dramatically improved my motor control for EVERYThing, I had trouble even talking befor Eaton, let alone writing. Writing was actually a living Hell, but now they’ve both increased I can talk way more fluently and it doesn’t feel like I’m breaking my hand when I write.
Student, 26, Eaton Cognitive Improvement Center
I have noticed a lot of positive improvement in my cognitive abilities. Because of tracing and word writing is a much more pleasant experience. My grip is much softer and my writing much clearer and more consistent for me to read and others. I also noticed more sensitivity in my hand grip all together. Touch in my hands is more sensitive and my motor movements are more subtle and precise. I notice this when I play guitar, hold object such as keys and try and open the door or even holding dishes while I wash the dishes. Predicative and phrases have really enhanced my cognitive abilities. I can now sit in a conversation with one or many parts and be present and engaged to every word they are saying mostly. This is something I had great difficulties in.
Following instructions and holding information in my head has improved drastically. My ability to be in a loud environment such as a coffee shop or a bus is so much better. Auditory stimulation does not tire me out as much as it used to and I can now go back to a task also after I’ve been engaged in conversation more easily. Watching TV, movies, Documentaries is a pleasure now. Auditory talks and speeches are not a strain. I have noticed that I remember words to a song much quicker. My memory for street names and directions has improved and the anxiety around remembering information is much better. Understanding different accents is also better.
I have more passions and more awareness that things are a process and take time. I can see the improvements that time and practise give me now that I don’t feel constantly over stimulated, and When my nerves are not aggravated from trying to stay focused I can achieve things that are really difficult cognitively or being over stimulated in all my senses then I’m able to be in my higher self and not in my limited self. This is ultimately my greatest wish.
Student, 23, Eaton Cognitive Improvement Center
Clocks comes to mind first obviously as I have come a long way and made massive progress in this area. I have gone through all the levels and am now working on ten hands here mostly due to determination and spending a great deal of time ( perhaps too much for my instructors liking) in this exercise. Back in May when I was first taught clocks, I struggled greatly with learning this concept. despite it: simplicity. To sit down and do the exercise took almost to much focus and left me feeling a little anxious and overwhelmed to do the full 35 minutes uninterupted. I remember 6 hands gave me headaches trying to learn the concept. When I finally got to 8 hands, I was shocked by how simple it was to learn the concept. Like a block had been removed from my mind, it was now so easy to understand the relationships. By the time I got to 10 hands it was even enjoyable to learn and caused me no anxiety at all to learn, like my mind had been given a new flexibility. To sit down and do this exercise causes me little to no frustration now and is actually quite fun for me. When I used to step into enviroments before, even benign ones like a grocery store, I would sometimes feel overwhelmed. There was simply too much going around me, too much information for my brain to process that it would be far to overstimulating to me. Now most situations I step into, I feel more calm because my brain can process more information and it phases me less. I belive I read thing faster and visually scan things much better now due to this exercise. In conversations I feel more fluid because I can understand concepts better, I can respong and process everything to a greater degree than before. I can also integrate different kinds of information much more and relate facts, and even figure out basic mechanical things in a way I could not do as well before.