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    #237374 - 03/23/17 07:15 PM Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program?
    RRD Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/16
    Posts: 278
    Hi all parents of 2E kids,

    I've been reading a book entitled The Woman Who Changed Her Brain by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young that I thought might be worth bringing to your collective attention. In it, she describes her own personal experience with learning disabilities, the Arrowsmith Program (and the school she founded) as well as the experiences of some of the kids who have participated in the program. It almost sounds too good to be true. The program essentially builds up relatively weak brain areas with targeted exercises, and apparently it can work on a number of LDs.

    Have any of you ever heard of it? I searched for references to it on here but only found a few mentions from 2010/2011. It might be worth looking into for some of you?

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    #237377 - 03/23/17 08:31 PM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: RRD]
    aeh Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3663
    No, I had not previously heard of the Arrowsmith Program, but it concerns me that a review of their own research citations does not include any peer-reviewed journal articles, with the closest thing to peer-reviewed research consisting of two poster presentations and a doctoral dissertation. The schools have been running since the late '90s, and would be expected to have accumulated at least one respectable journal article in two decades.

    I have mentioned elsewhere that the conventional institutional research on brain training has been marginally supportive (though appealing enough that Pearson, the educational publishing monolith, has thrown its marketing heft behind a particular product).
    _________________________
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    #237378 - 03/23/17 09:08 PM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: RRD]
    KJP Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/29/12
    Posts: 756
    I know a family who sent their son to one. Their experience was not bad but their son didn't have any huge breakthroughs and it was really really expensive.

    I think overall they'd probably not do it again. He had an ASD diagnosis.

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    #237383 - 03/24/17 06:39 AM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: RRD]
    RRD Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/16
    Posts: 278
    I'm glad you've both weighed in, aeh and KJP. This is about as far off from my own field as it could be, so I have no way of evaluating how effective/legit it might be.

    Though from my understanding, I'm not sure that ASD would be one of the LDs principally targeted by the program. It looks to me to address more mechanical-type issues, such as dysgraphia, dyslexia and the like.

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    #237411 - 03/25/17 04:54 AM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: RRD]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 669
    Loc: Canada
    RRD - I did a wander through the Toronto school website, and I must admit my spidey senses also tingled. You are correct, though, that they explicitly do not recommend their program for ASD.

    In addition to aeh's comments on the research, I was also disconcerted that they seem to have invented their own types/ descriptions of LD, presumably to match their own approaches to address them. There are no links to standard LD descriptions or resources. They offer assessment, but it's not done by or with a psych (despite charging the going rate for a full psycho-educational assessment).

    It's true that the research on most LDs is limited, and frustrating in the lack of clarity on what you should actually DO about it. Dyslexia is the exception, however: it's pretty clearly defined, and has a gold-standard treatment - an Orton-Gillingham-based reading remediation program. There is no mention at Arrowsmith of using O-G based remediation for reading, or actually of using assistive technology for any LD. Perhaps the site simply doesn't include these kinds of details, but given the unusual definitions and approaches Arrowsmith lists, these kinds of omissions make me nervous.

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    #240169 - 10/18/17 11:47 AM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: RRD]
    Pemberley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 734
    I recently asked about the Arrowsmith program and was directed to this thread so I will add on here. I was sent this article with the explanation that it was a "peer reviewed article on the benefits of Arrowsmith in a 3 month pilot study". It looks at adults with TBI not kids with LD. I am not scienc-y in the least. Does this give any more information to those of you who might be?

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S240584401731592X


    Edited by Pemberley (10/19/17 05:46 AM)

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    #240170 - 10/18/17 12:33 PM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: RRD]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    I attended an Arrowsmith program a couple years ago. I was somewhat disappointed. Steven Tyler's voice has not held up well over the years.

    Hope this helps.

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    #240176 - 10/19/17 08:51 AM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: Dude]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 669
    Loc: Canada
    First, Duuuuuuuuuuuude!!! [Insert aggrieved tone and moan of pain]

    Second, I am not a researcher, let alone a neuroscientist, just someone who reads this stuff as part of my work. So this is just a summary of the the thoughts/ questions I would have reading a paper like this, not a scientific assessment. The short answer: interesting paper, totally irrelevant. If you just tripped over this, cool. If a school is sending you this to prove that Arrowsmith works for LDs, problem.

    If you're interested in where I'm pulling that view from, here's the long answer:

    Source: The first thing I look at is who funded the research and who published it (which can be a lot easier to judge than who did it). In this case, the publisher is Heliyon, a new web source which does not yet have a reputation or impact factor, positive or negative. At this time, it is considered a legitimate place to publish with peer review, if not a particularly prestigious one. The funding source suggests the research was a grad student project, part of an 4-month external internship. The longish list of authors suggests the project was likely part of a larger piece of ongoing research. About half the authors look like students, the other half come from a well-regarded research university, and seem to be cited by other researchers pretty often. All that to say, the research would appear to be legitimately sourced.

    Participants: The research involves a pilot study. Basically, they are seeing if it is feasible to measure what they think they want to measure. There were only 10 research subjects, which means nothing can be generalized from this other than whether the methodology seemed to work well enough to try it with a real group. The test subjects were compared to normal controls, not people with the same kind of brain injury, which means you can't make any kind of conclusion as to whether there is a relation between the intervention used and any changes. In other words, if there actually were measured improvements, would those improvements have happened anyway? This study can't tell us that.

    Findings: Even with this tiny group and no-one to compare them with, the authors still had trouble finding statistically significant changes post-intervention. They were picking and choosing bits and pieces among the data to find pieces that moved, as the overall picture did not. That doesn't mean the intervention didn't work, but rather that if there are effects, they are much too small or too infrequent to jump out in such a tiny sample.

    Relevance: The biggest question is always, do the findings have meaning in the real world? In this case, if the intervention caused changes in the brain, and those changes related to improved scores in the research testing, would those improved scores relate to actual improved function doing everyday tasks in the real world? These are questions way, way beyond the remit of this pilot study. It just doesn't go there, and has many years of work to do before it could.

    Relevance to you: The study has nothing whatsoever to do with LDs. It doesn't refer to or build on any research that has anything to do with LDs. Even if it proved that the intervention restores function after a brain injury, it would then need to make an evidence-based case that this is the same as remediating a healthy mind that's wired differently. There's nothing here that makes any kind of attempt to do that.

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    #240183 - 10/19/17 02:02 PM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: RRD]
    Pemberley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 734
    Thank you SO much Platypus! Your response was very, very helpful. DH has reached out to a couple of neuroscientists he knows so maybe we will get additional input before we have to make a decision. Prospective school sent this to parents, one of whom sent it to me. But yes it was sent to "prove" it works.

    As you said above spidey senses tingling... It would be awesome if this program worked but there seem to be more questions than answers at this point. Thanks!


    Edited by Pemberley (10/19/17 02:03 PM)

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    #240200 - 10/23/17 07:43 AM Re: Have you heard about the Arrowsmith Program? [Re: RRD]
    aeh Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3663
    Adding this reference, with critical reviews of a number of dyslexia treatments:

    https://www.ldaustralia.org/client/docum...0Arrowsmith.pdf
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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