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Arrowsmith School was established in Toronto in 1980 and has operated continuously in Toronto since then and since 2005 in Peterborough. 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 (referred to as learning disabilities in North America) in 1978.

Arrowsmith School is located in two buildings at 243-245 St. Clair Avenue West, two blocks west of Avenue Road in mid-town Toronto.

There are more than 65 educational organizations throughout Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand offering the program to school-age children and adults. Please visit Participating Schools for a list of schools currently implementing the Arrowsmith Program.

Students who come to the Arrowsmith Program 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 (referred to as learning disabilities in North America) 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.

Students who come to the Arrowsmith Program 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 (referred to as learning disabilities in North America) 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 complete our checklist. While it does not guarantee your enrolment at the Arrowsmith School, 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.  For a more detailed description of typical students follow the link: http://www.arrowsmithschool.org/arrowsmithprogram-background/suitable-students.html

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 our Admissions Coordinator, Incia Zaffar at izaffar@arrowsmithsprogram.ca. Ms. Zaffar will be pleased to answer your questions and if appropriate can arrange an assessment for you/your child.

The students at Arrowsmith School range in age from six years old to adults. Parents of children less than six years of age are encouraged to contact Arrowsmith School when their child is old enough to be considered ready for school participation.

We have a population of adult students who have taken time out from their college or university studies, or in some cases, careers, to address their specific learning difficulties (referred to as learning disabilities in North America).

The Arrowsmith Program is developed for individuals struggling with specific learning difficulties (SLD) referred to as learning disabilities in North America. 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 to ensure suitability.

The Arrowsmith Program has been successful in addressing attentional difficulties. Most individuals with specific learning difficulties (referred to as learning disabilities in North America) experience attentional issues which can arise from different underlying causes. In many cases these issues are a result of a buildup of weak cognitive capacities making it hard for the student to sustain attention in specific learning situations; others are related to specific cognitive functions related to regulating attention. Both of these types of attentional difficulties will be addressed by the Arrowsmith Program as students engage in the cognitive exercises designed to stimulate and strengthen these cognitive functions.

Arrowsmith School Toronto
Please visit the Admissions page. You may also contact Incia Zaffar, Admissions Coordinator, at izaffar@arrowsmithprogram.ca or call 416 963-4962 to be forwarded to Ms. Zaffar’s direct phone line.

Arrowsmith School accepts enrolment during the year subject to availability.

All students enrolling in the full time day school and after school part time programs at Arrowsmith School are assessed. The Motor Symbol Sequencing program described on our Part Time Programs page does not require an initial assessment.  Please visit our Assessment page for further information.

The assessment identifies each individual’s profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses and provides the basis for designing individual programs for cognitive improvement. Please note the assessment is not used as the basis for determining suitability for the Arrowsmith Program; suitability is determined through the telephone Admissions discussion.

The assessment of students entering Arrowsmith School in Toronto is conducted by a member of our staff who is a trained psychometrist and the tests are scored and analyzed at Arrowsmith School.

Individuals will spend between 3 to 4 days completing an assessment which will identify their unique profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The assessment is made up of tests designed by Barbara Arrowsmith Young which measure the functioning of specific cognitive functions the impact learning. Standardized cognitive and achievement tests are also administered.  The outcome of the assessment will provide recommendations for enrolment and programming options. During the assessment period, individuals are welcomed into their peer group during the school day’s breaks and lunchtimes. Please contact Incia Zaffar, Admissions Coordinator at izaffar@arrowsmithprogram.ca or 416-963-4962.

The Arrowsmith assessment is vital in order for an individual to participate in an Arrowsmith Program as it identifies which cognitive exercises and at which level an individual would begin their program. While it is beneficial to review any previous assessment reports to learn about the individual’s learning history, a traditional psych-education report will not replace the Arrowsmith assessment.  

Arrowsmith School Toronto
The annual tuition fee for the 2014 - 2015 school year is $23,500 and includes all program and academic fees and materials for the full school year. The $23,500 tuition fee includes an activity fee of $250 that covers such things as the school yearbook, school trips and other special events. There are no other fees or charges. Tuition fees are not subject to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) or Provincial Sales Tax.

Tuition fees at private schools are not tax deductible. Parents of students enrolled in the Arrowsmith Program in Canada (at Arrowsmith School Toronto and Peterborough and at other schools that offer this program) may be able to claim the Medical Expense Tax Credit. Determination of whether an individual qualifies for the Medical Expense Tax Credit is made by Revenue Canada. We recommend that families in all cases contact their own accountant or financial advisor. Links to information on this are located under Tax Credit (Canada).

This may be available in some limited situations for families who are part of a private health and medical benefit plan. They should contact their individual benefits insurer or broker for further information.

We do not offer bursaries or other financial support for our students. There may be assistance available from certain private charities. Arrowsmith School does not receive any subsidies or outside funding.

The majority of students will usually require a three to four 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. If a student is unable to complete the three to four year program, they achieve benefit for every year they are in the program.

Upon completion of the program some students may require one to two years to gain experience using their newly strengthened cognitive capacities and some students may need tutoring initially to bring academic skills to grade level.

The student to teacher ratio at Arrowsmith School is 10 to 1.

During their elementary years (Grade 1 to 8), most students will participate in one period of English and one period of Mathematics each day in our Academic Programs.  We do not provide secondary school credits. Some adolescent students may benefit from a class per day of academic skill development during their time at Arrowsmith School. This will depend on the individual needs of each student.

Students come to Arrowsmith School because they have been struggling with the regular academic curriculum. Our cognitive exercise program strengthens their weak learning capacities to better prepare them to learn academic skills and content. Essential to these students is to first improve their capacity to learn. Learning in all academic subjects requires reasoning, thinking, problem solving, conceptual understanding, retention of material (through both visual and auditory memory), and the ability to express oneself in writing, all cognitive areas addressed by the Arrowsmith Program. These cognitive improvements lead to effective learning in all academic subjects and the students experience the benefit of having the cognitive strengths available to apply to all future learning.

English and Mathematics are offered to elementary aged students in order to develop the cumulative and essential academic skills of reading, writing and mathematics.  As their cognitive ability improves, these skills become more accessible to students, and prepare them to reintegrate into mainstream curriculum with stronger cognitive and academic abilities

Arrowsmith School Toronto offers an after school part-time program on Tuesday and Thursday where students work on one cognitive program per school year. Like the full-time cognitive program the Tuesday and Thursday Program requires an initial assessment. There is also the Motor Symbol Sequencing Program available on alternate Saturdays, which does not require an assessment. You may obtain additional information about these programs on the Part Time Programs page.

Summer programs are not offered as the two month period is not enough time to adequately address a learning difficulty.  Furthermore, we encourage our full time students to focus on applying their emerging cognitive abilities to new learning opportunities over the summer break. However, individuals are welcomed to arrange their Arrowsmith assessment during the months of June, July and August; assessments are administered twelve months a year

The Arrowsmith Program Research Team headed by Arrowsmith Program Director, Barbara Arrowsmith Young, and Research Director, Howard Eaton, Director of the Eaton Educational Group and author of Brain School, 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 study prepared by Dr. William A. Lancee in 2005 concluded that all deficit areas identified by the Arrowsmith Program improved as a result of the application of Arrowsmith Program cognitive exercises. Please refer to the full study and in particular the concluding summary for an overview of the effectiveness of the Arrowsmith Program.

Students that we have followed up to 30 years after completion of the program have maintained their cognitive improvements. Once the improvement is in place, the individual maintains this gain by using the cognitive area in everyday functioning.