What is the goal of this program?

The goal is to access as  many affected cognitive areas, to bring students as close to average functioning as possible and as fast as possible, so that they no longer have to struggle in school or require modified programming.

How does it all work and how does it differ?

Access is both a school offering scholastic and clinical options. The school provides a thirty-year-old program called Arrowsmith, designed to stop single or multiple learning disabilities, which are directly related to cognitive weakness.

The program removes cognitive impairments and stops learning issues altogether. Its method is NOT DONE by intensifying academic remediation, but rather by using a neuroplastic training technique specifically designed to recondition the brain, so that the brain corrects itself, and therefore begins to work correctly.

Each student receives a 4-5 hour assessment to identify the disabilities and the associated level of severity. As part of the program, students can correct one or several cognitive areas at once. With the Arrowsmith Program, the school has access to 30 years of research and expertise. In order to administer this program, administrators and teachers must be trained by the Arrowsmith Headquarters in Canada.

Who is an appropriate candidate?

The program is appropriate for students with average to above average intelligence who show signs of auditory processing disorder, dyslexia, fine motor, auditory memory, non-verbal learning, executive functioning and attention.  

What about Autism?

The Arrowsmith Program does not address the underlying causes of autism spectrum disorders, but can remediate learning issues, depending on the autistic severity

What about A.D.D.?

Most students with learning issues have an attention problem.

Access finds that students are able to sustain focus and concentration when working on Arrowsmith cognitive programs because it is designed  for their current level of ability.

However students with untreated severe ADHD are not appropriate for the program because we cannot achieve sufficient engagement with cognitive exercises. 

How many years do students spend in this program?

Most students will spend at least 2 years in the Arrowsmith Program and an additional year of dedicated academics. Some may require 3 years of full time programming, at which time they will be able to return to a regular academic curriculum in a public or private school, without the need for further support or program modification.

Are students anxious about the transition into this program?

No, since the academic stress is mostly removed, the students tend to be happier. As academics are introduced, students face fewer frustrations as they see or feel an immediate ease with learning and processing which leads to a more positive attitude.

Are the students really there for 2 to 3 years? Why does it take so long?

 Most students have 6-8  areas that are below average in functioning. The program allows students to firstly work on the most important areas. Once they reach an average range in one area, new exercises are introduced. As such, it takes 2-3 years to address the majority of problematic areas, which remain critical to improve brain function. 

What about the assessment process?

Access does not require that students have a prior assessment. The school provides their own assessment which differs from the traditional Psych-Ed evaluations, in that it identifies which cognitive areas are causing the learning problems. The Arrowsmith assessment specializes in determining a person’s current functioning in order to create a specific improvement program for cognitive exercises. 

How does Access School motivates its students?

There are multiple levels, which a student can master, and this motivates students to continue. Access works with individual students and families to determine what works for them in terms of motivation and provide positive feedback. Within 3-4 months the majority of students see changes. As a result of seeing changes students become internally motivated. Teachers relate the changes students are observing to the cognitive programs they are working on. At Access students are asked to do tasks that are just slightly above their capacity and they quickly see that their efforts yield positive results in terms of mastering levels of the program and observable changes in their ability to learn. Students learn that effort leads to success.

How does the school report progress?

Reports are created for academic classes only. There are no report cards for the Arrowsmith portion of the program. Instead, a 4-5 hour assessment is produced at the end of each year, to show summative results and major cognitive changes. However progress is regularly reported, given that students must meet specific goals daily, for every cognitive area. Data is then collected daily, with every period, then weekly, and monthly before it is sent to Toronto for revision.


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