Why ONE Method Just Won’t Work

Woman Who Changed Her Brain

I stumbled across a youtube video of a TEDx Talk from Toronto featuring Barbara Arrowsmith Young. I was originally just going to post this video to share but after watching it several times, there was so much value in her content that I could not let it go without discussing the importance of how she learned and overcame her obstacles.

Barbara Arrowsmith Young was born with learning disabilities. In her video, she describes how in first grade she was not able to read, tell time, or make relationships between concepts. She also describes how she was physically uncoordinated and she would have no clue where her body parts were in space on the left side of her body. She would bump into things and be at risk for injury because she was not able to correlate pain with location of her body. Crazy to think about that, right?

In her talk, she explains how she tried all of the traditional approaches. She saw every type of teacher and therapist. She describes how all of the methods that were used with her were ways to compensate and work around the issue versus finding the source and working through it. This is such an important concept that we see here everyday at Breakthrough with our clients. Working from the source and helping make new pathways to better function instead of ways to compensate.

Over many years, Barbara describes how she struggled through school, and even at times felt like it wasn’t worth living anymore. After an attempted suicide, she changed her outlook on life and took lessons she learned from her father about finding and creating solutions to your problems to power through. She studied psychology to find the source of her disability. Along her journey, she read a story about someone else who was living with the exact same symptoms. She discovered her source of the problem through his stories and found what part of her brain was not working properly. She began reading research and read about a doctor’s study in rats and their ability to learn. She talks about how they were able to learn so much more when in an enriched and stimulating environment.

From there she created her own solutions and exercises and literally created new pathways in her brain. She defines the term Neuroplasticity as “the brain’s ability to change physiologically and functionally as a result of stimulation”. This is a definition many of us know in the healthcare profession, especially when dealing with neurological conditions. From there on, she has taught herself things like how to tell time, how to read different kinds of materials, and how to read maps. Her potential was limitless.

Neuroplasticity is about finding a way to exercise new parts of the brain to strengthen the “weak parts”. Challenging your brain in NEW ways is so important. Creativity of treatment plans is significantly important in aiding in neuroplasticity of one’s brain.

She discusses and focuses on cognitive learning disabilities, but it is the same for physical disabilities. You must practice what you want to learn in creative ways that are challenging your brain to build new pathways!

You Do NOT Need to Learn to Live With Limitations.

The Brain CAN Change!

To all of the teachers, tutors, therapists, parents, and even if you are someone suffering from the similar learning disabilities, challenge your loved one, your student, yourself CREATIVELY.

Dare to Dream.

Your brain shapes you and who you are. We all are unique and have strengths and weakness. We do not have to live with our limitations rather we can change our brains and change our futures. Barbara has created “The Arrowsmith Program” to assist students with specific learning disabilities. She has fully overcome her own and now is able to help others realize their potential!

Watch the video and Comment to let us know what you think!

Christine 🙂

Christine Astarita
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