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The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And Other Inspiring Stories of Pioneering Brain Transformation

4.3 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1451607932
ISBN-10: 1451607938
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Arrowsmith-Young's poignant and uplifting book about her transformation from a child born with severe learning disabilities to a dynamic pioneer in cognitive education offers hope to anyone who has ever struggled with a learning disorder, brain trauma, ADD or stroke. By her own fierce determination and passionate desire to learn, this remarkable woman changed her own brain and has since helped countless others to change theirs. This is an important book.”
—Mira Bartók, New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Palace

“This is a poignant book about two people who connected across continents and generations—a Canadian woman with an unusual cognitive makeup, and the great Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria whose writings gave Barbara Arrowsmith the tools to change her own life and the lives of her many students. Moving, insightful and empowering!”
—Elkhonon Goldberg, Ph.D., the author of The Wisdom Paradox and The New Executive Brain

"If you have a son, a daughter, a parent, a spouse, or a brain, this is a must-read book. It will open your mind to new possibilities on how to deal with 'traffic jams in the brain.'"
—Alvaro Fernandez, CEO & Co-Founder, SharpBrains.com

About the Author

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young is the director of the Arrowsmith School and Arrowsmith Program. She holds a BA Sc. in child studies from the University of Guelph and a master’s degree in school psychology from the University of Toronto (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451607938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451607932
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is mostly composed of inspiring stories of people (including the author) who have overcome various learning and cognitive disabilities using techniques developed by the author.
Most chapters begin with a detailed and heart-wrenching description of the person's problem and how it made their life an abject misery, followed by a brief description of the dramatic improvement brought about by the author's remedial methods.
The main problem with this book is that it contains virtually no specific information about these methods. When they are even discussed - and in most examples they are not described at all - it is in a vague, generalized and very, very brief way. All the discussion of actual remedial techniques in the entire book could easily fit on one page.
Typically, after many pages of recounting the subject's terrible problems, there will be a passage like this (quoted from the book):
"Much has changed for Nathanial. Two years of cognitive exercise to address the artifactual thinking deficit have induced a remarkable change in Nathaniel himself and the family dynamic."
Unfortunately, just what those two years of cognitive exercise actually involved is not explained.
There is no discussion of the scientific methods used to assess progress (especially with reference to a control group), or the process by which the author's training techniques (whatever they are - who knows?) are developed, tested, refined or rejected.
It seems unlikely that this omission of key facts from the book was a simple oversight.
Presumably this information gap is designed to encourage people to pay for training or treatment provided by the business associated with the author.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The woman who changed her own brain is an interesting and eye opening book. It discuses many learning disabilities and how people using the arrow smith school of learning were able to overcome them. Which in turn I have to say seems like she is advertising the school through out the book. The book hints at cognitive exercises that can with practice develop new neural pathways and or help activate the parts of the brain that are having a hard time functioning. As some one that suffers from a learning disability I was very excited to learn that there might be something I could do about it. However, i do not have the kind of money it would take to go to her arrow smith academy. In short, read this book if you want to read inspiring and interesting stories about people who have overcome their disabilities, but not as a book that will give u information on what to do about those disabilities other than go to her school. Im giving this book 4 stars because she does not list any options for the low budget person to get some help.
6 Comments 79 of 82 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I think Barbara Arrowsmith-Young is on to something important. I wish she'd had a more helpful editor.
The voice speaking in the book is confusing. (A lot of the book is confusing.) At times Arrowsmith-Young sounds authentic and personal, especially when she's describing her own struggles and her feelings about the students she's helped.
But a lot of the time she sounds like a neuroscientist. It's as if the book were written by two people.I wish she had explained more about her own life and how she acquired this knowledge.
Much of the book sounds like an advertisement for her school. Other reviewers have noted that there's very little information about the life-changing exercises that students do, with near-miraculous results. There's not much practical help here for a parent whose child is struggling with a learning disability.
Details are confusing. There's a story about a Toronto doctor, Mary Arlington, who "had difficulty with time and numbers..." Imagine, says Arrowsmith-Young, "trying to run a busy medical practice when...the numbers 8, 80, and 800 all mean pretty much the same thing to you."
How did Arlington get through organic chemistry, which requires such difficult math that even very bright students have enormous difficulty with? It's a required course for every pre-med student.
And how did she get through medical school?
This is an inspiring and heartening book - but I had lots of questions when I finished reading it.
4 Comments 53 of 55 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank you Barbara!

I have been researching the Arrowsmith School since reading Doidge's "The Brain That Changes Itself" and it has been very hard to actually find out the nuts and bolts of each exercise for each learning area. Unable to access the school for my son (in Australia), I read Eaton's Brain School with no luck as what to do and then Barbara comes along and writes a profound and ground breaking complete book that empowers the reader in first identifying weakness and what exercise to apply to strengthen that brain area. She provides exercises for each of the 19 functional areas, except: Lexical Memory, Narrow Visual Span, Mechanical Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning and Primary Motor.

This is a book that empowers the reader to change their life or someone around them by being open and forthcoming with information. By the end of the book I am left with no doubt that Barbara is a courageous woman of integrity, on a mission to open options to those with cognitive weaknesses. As a mum with two boys who need additional cognitive support, this is a breath of fresh air and makes connections that have left our Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and Educational Staff stumped.
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The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And Other Inspiring Stories of Pioneering Brain Transformation
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