Eaton Arrowsmith Program In White Rock For Learning Disabilities

Can you imagine what it’s like to be in a classroom and not be able to take in information and ideas the same way as the other students? What it’s like to read and write things backward, be unable to process language concepts and be physically uncoordinated? When I was a speech-language pathologist I worked with children who had these issues, in conjunction with the disorders I was treating them for – and I know the struggle of the children and their families. Had I known about this school then, I might have recommended it for some of the children who came to mind when I toured the White Rock location of Eaton Arrowsmith.

In my days as a psychology undergrad, I learned something important: it is possible to strengthen the connections in your brain. One in 10 Canadians will be thankful to know this because they live with learning disabilities that affect their performance in school, ability to find and retain employment, and success in general life skills. There is a mainstream assumption that these disabilities have to be side-stepped and accommodated when in fact, science shows our brains have neuroplasticity. We can shape them with the right sort of training and actually enhance learning.

One Canadian woman took that fact and created a program to target weakened brain areas and bring them up to normal, and even above-normal, functioning. And she was successful – on her own brain! Barbara Arrowsmith-Young was born with severe learning disabilities and struggled through school. But she used her areas of cognitive strength and determination to persevere through graduate school where she stumbled upon some inspirational research. She used this research and the strengths she identified to develop drills that targeted her specific learning problems. And since the late 1970’s, she has expanded her work and helped thousands of individuals.

Why Eaton Arrowsmith For A Child With Learning Disabilities?

When I was greeted at the White Rock school, I immediately had the sense I was in a one-room school house (though it actually has two rooms). It was children of different ages sitting together at tables or at individual stations in the same space that gave it that ambiance. In my conversation with Principal Kelsey Hanna, I learned that this multi-age classroom is a wonderful opportunity for many levels of mentorship. Students helping students, with supportive teachers who are trained in this method of educating, contributes to the community feel at Eaton Arrowsmith.

Eaton-Arrowsmith, learning disabilities, White Rock, taslim jaffer

While I was at the school, I got to meet many of the children, and look at their specific programming while they worked.

Eaton Arrowsmith, Taslim Jaffer, learning disabilties, schools, white rock, white rock schools

Eaton Arrowsmith, learning disabilities, white rock, white rock schools, learning, taslim jaffer

Looking At The Big Picture At Eaton Arrowsmith

As you can see, the children aren’t working on the full academic curriculum like other B.C. schools, but they are strengthening the areas that allow them to access the curriculum in the future. English and Math is done in small groups and then each student follows an individualized program throughout the day. And this is really big picture thinking. Parents are asked to look past the school experience and into the future; they are asked to look at their dreams for their children. Beyond school, what do parents want their children to be able to do? There are core areas we need to thrive in in order to participate fully in life: decision-making, connection-making and social interactions. So, Eaton Arrowsmith moves beyond the curriculum to get to these core areas and strengthen them, thereby removing barriers that could hold these children back.

In this short video, you get a better feel for this school through the eyes of the staff and students at the White Rock location:

There were so many wonderful sentiments in this video but in particular these resonated with me:

I also learned that Eaton Arrowsmith in White Rock is a WE school and participated in WE Day last year, has a Foodbank Fridays program and participates in Jump Rope for Heart. While the main focus is to overcome learning disabilities and retrain the brain, there is always room for personal growth and community-building.

If your child has a learning disability and is not thriving in school, Eaton Arrowsmith could be an option. To find out more, please visit them online.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

father's day, danisha bhaloo, backstreet boys,spicy blueberry mango salsa, salsa, summertime recipes, taslim jaffer, blueberries, bc blueberries