Sunday, July 24, 2011

Neuroplasticity helps children with learning disabilities

Brain School, a new book from Eaton Arrowsmith School's (EAS) founder and director, Howard Eaton, tells the amazing story of how children with learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, Nonverbal Learning Disabilities and ADHD overcame educational obstacles by reorganizing their brains.

Known as neuroplasticity, this reorganization involves a regimen of cognitive exercises. These, in turn alter the brain's neuronal structure and reorganize neural networks and their function.

Brain School explores how applying principles of neuroplasticity has helped thousands of children with learning disabilities and attention disorders improve their cognitive functioning capacities. As a result, many are able to function without additional support in school and in cases with ADHD, without medication.

The nine students featured in Brain School graduated from EAS in the past six years and then moved on to either private or public schools. Studies have shown that 90 percent of students who graduate from the Arrowsmith Program at EAS are succeeding academically and socially and in many cases these students no longer need special education support services after completing the program.

Eaton Arrowsmith Schools were founded by Howard Eaton, Ed.M., based on the Arrowsmith School principles created by Barbara Arrowsmith Young, who opened the first Arrowsmith School in Toronto, Ontario more than 30 years ago. The schools are built on Arrowsmith Young's cognitive exercises that target 19 specific cognitive areas through stimulation.

The Arrowsmith School was recently named "The Most Innovative Special Education School" by Sharpbrain's 2010 Innovation Awards. The daily curriculum at EAS encompasses 6 cognitive exercise courses, Mathematics and English courses at a child's grade level.

Eaton said he wrote the book to heighten awareness among the general public that there is a better future for children with learning disabilities and attention disorders.

"My hope is that Brain School will ask politicians, educational administrators, psychologists, psychiatrists, family doctors, educators, parents, and others involved in education to be open to the idea that cognitive functioning can improve and the brain can change," he said.

"Because there is a lack of knowledge and facts about neuroplasticity, there is a general trend in education to keep practicing the same instructional remediation methods for children with learning disabilities."

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