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The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: Stories of Transformation from the Frontier of Brain Science

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  484 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Born with severe learning disabilities that caused teachers to label her slow, stubborn, or worse, Barbara Arrowsmith-Young read and wrote everything backwards, struggled to process concepts in language, continually got lost, and could make no sense of an analog clock. But through her formidable memory and determination, she made her way to graduate school, where she chanc ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Free Press
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(showing 1-30 of 1,947)
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Diane
This book should be read by *ALL* teachers! And anyone with an interest in learning disabilities. It is biography of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, a brilliant Ontario girl with severe learning disabilities who through sheer dogged persistence acquires a university education and in the process comes across what appears to be the key to "learning problems" -- using the brain's natural "neural plasticity". The traditional way to remediate learning disabilities is to find ways of coping with them, worki ...more
Liz
Never have I read a book that makes me both so hopeful and so sad. The author describes her experience as an individual with severe learning/cognitive disabilities and how she was able to not only overcome them, but actually retrain her brain to free herself. She then applied these exercises to others and developed additional ones to focus on other cognitive deficits. The basic premise is that these cognitive deficits are what is preventing children with a variety of learning disabilities and di ...more
Susan
I read this book in a week and found it absolutely fascinating along with identifying 3 learning disabilities that I have but have grown into adulthood just thinking I was stupid because I couldn't do some things that came so easily to other people. I realized right away that she might be promoting her school but this kind of teaching and learning needs all the promotion it can get. I have told numerous people about the concepts discussed in this book and if I had Bill Gates' money I would make ...more
Michelle
The concept behind this book is really amazing. I loved how it highlighted the changing understanding of the brain. The first third of the book was really fascinating. the stories got to be a little tedious because they were all formatted the same and there were a lot of them. I was interested in finding out more about their techniques of brain change but some chapters didn't even address technique. I was looking more for information and sometime felt like I was being sold a ticket to Arrowsmith ...more
Arminzerella
Barbara Arrowsmith-Young suffered from multiple learning disabilities as a child. She was told to compensate for these deficiencies by relying on her strengths. Determined to overcome them, she began studying psychology and the brain, eventually discovering in the works of Aleksandr Luria a clue to her own condition. Additional research suggested to her that brains are not static, as was once believed. They can be altered. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change itself. Barbara beg ...more
Della
Extremely interesting about the brain. Barbara Arrowsmith-Young gets very detailed about the brain but then she changed her own brain and has a school in Toronto to help others so she knows the latest findings and information. She has so many interesting case histories and personal stories which help soften the hard scientific parts. It is such interesting information and what it all boils down to is that we are all the same, some just have higher or lower functioning areas of the brain. It isn' ...more
Phredric
I really wanted to like this book but I found it very frustrating. It's partly Barbara Arrowsmith's biography, partly 'brain science' but mostly it's an extended advert for her program, which I'd be okay with if she gave anything more than a hint of what the program is about. Instead it's a series of case studies which invariably end with how the person's life was dramatically improved after the program - which gets a little boring after a while, a bit like watching an extended infomercial for a ...more
Cecile
I'm still a little bit sceptical, but intrigued enough that I am looking further into her program. The book sounds too much like an extended brochure on her program, but then it's been her life's work. It's quite likely that because I am not the target market that I am unable to appreciate this as much, finding some parts repetitive. Nevertheless, a fascinating read and quite the insight into the lives of those that are learning disabled.

Update [2013-Feb-16]: Now that I've started reading quite
...more
Pam
Barbara Arrowsmith-Young is obviously a fascinating woman who is dedicated to her work helping children and adults with learning disabilities. This book is an amazing introduction to pioneering techniques of training people to overcome their brain issues. While the book was insightful, I strongly feel that that Arrowsmith-Young was providing a strong sell of her specific methods rather than providing a balanced view. Individual people are featured throughout the book but she provides mostly befo ...more
Andrew Marshall
There is a lot to recommend about this book. In particular, the idea that you can change your brain. All to often, clients worry that they can't change or their partners can't change. This book and the idea of brain plasticity ends that fear for once and for all. The other plus is that Barbara's story is really inspiring. However... and it's a big however. She gives little or no insight into how she changed her own brain and nothing away about the programme that she puts other people through. It ...more
Edwin Heartfulsoul
Because I identify with the Arrowsmith's story,
I came to appreciate how my brain (and every one's) is so different and unique.

For example, I now have a deeper appreciation for my love of music, having seen a documentary showing how some may not 'hear' anything at all (a condition known as amusia)..

Even our "personality" and eccentricities may have roots in brain structure.

And, of course, her story shows how careful self observation and strong intention can change who we are in terms of actual
...more
Stormy
Nov 22, 2014 Stormy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
AAUW Adelante Book Recommendation for Oct. 2014 by The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And Other Inspiring Stories of Pioneering Brain Transformation
By Barbara Arrowsmith-Young and Norman Doidge, M.D.

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young was born with severe learning disabilities that caused teachers to label her slow, stubborn — or worse. As a child, she read and wrote everything backward, struggled to process concepts in language, continually got lost, and was physically uncoordinated. But by relying on her f
...more
Abigail
You know how you go to WebMD to look up your seemingly innocuous symptoms and end up convinced that you have a terminal illness? Well, this is a book all about brain deficits, so I'll leave you to guess how I felt through most of the book. :)

It's an interesting combination of genres. The stories about people, especially the author, who identify and overcome learning disabilities by exercising neuroplasticity are compelling and give you lots of pro-underdog satisfaction. The detailed explanations
...more
Lisa Biskup
This is one of the most inspiring books I've read in a while.

The author, Barbara Arrowsmith Young, overcame a variety of learning disabilities that she had suffered with during her childhood and into her 20s, and then went on to help both children and adults overcome their own cognitive deficits with methods she developed by herself.

In the book, she describes how her learning disabilities affected her own life and explains the methods she created to retrain her brain to function properly, base
...more
Jennifer
As a teacher of children with disabilities, I have always been interested in brain functioning. This nonfiction book was encouraging, as it spoke of re-training the brain and forcing neurons to fire and wire together, bringing dramatic improvements to people's quality of life. It makes me want to visit an Arrowsmith school!
Bojan Land
I was real interested at the start of this book about how this woman changed her brain. And this is explained that she did a simple exercise to get her juices going. But then the book stops all explaining, and simply goes into a sales pitch. One customer success story after another. It wouldn't be bad if these success stories had anything more than "I couldn't do things, after this program, I can". If the success stories were used as mechanisms to convey how they succeeded, so that the reader ca ...more
Ollieb
I thought this was a blatant advertisement for the school run by the author - full of case studies which were very repetitive, and with no real information on what the patients actually did to improve their situation.
QaaEmes
Apr 30, 2015 QaaEmes is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I have only read up to the part where Barbara discussed similar problems faced by students attending her school. In earlier parts of their lives, students faced with disabilities could not blend in a group of people. They could not even comprehend simple instructions or words. With cognitive exercises that slowly enhanced their neurons, they managed to overcome the social complex or inferiority, trouble of understanding and focusing on simple terms. Interestingly enough, I have also experience t ...more
Dani (The Pluviophile Reader)
Full review at The Pluviophile Reader: http://wp.me/p3VFNP-7r

3/5 stars.
Paperback, 288 pages.
Read from November 26 to December 07, 2014.

This book was given to me as a gift and it is a book that I wouldn't have normally picked up as I don’t have any learning disorders (that I’m aware of). However, this book is inspirational for anyone that underestimates the power of their own brains and is proof that we are more capable of rewiring our brains to change our thoughts and even behaviors.

Barbara st
...more
Laura
Fascinating! Absolutely fascinating. When I saw this title, I knew I wanted to read it. Part memoir and part educational and resource book, The Woman Who Changed her Brain, is about the story and work of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, a remarkable woman and Canadian pioneer in the practical application of “neuroplasticity.” Not only was she born with severe learning disabilities that had her struggling with language, spatial awareness, and symbolic thinking, but she overcame them after she came upon ...more
Carrielynn
pg-29- Mark Rosenzweig - rats in enriched environments had heavy brains. more glial cells, larger capillaries, an increase in enzymes involved in the sythesis & breakdown of neurotransmitters. desnser synaptic connections. a better brain

31- cell pic

32- pic +

69


72-

91-

96- wayne gretzy- you'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.


102- narrative art

104 ***
thought to govern face recognition is a network of areas located primarily in the occipital temporal regions of the right hemisphere-
...more
Siobhan
A great book for anyone to understand the full diversity of of people with learning disorders and the effects on their lives, self esteem, work and relationships. Also a great book for people to learn that the brain is plastic(changeable/moldable/adaptable) and that learning disorders are not hard wired and permanent but can be worked directly with rather than worked around. Great for teachers of all kinds, for people with learning disorders and the people close to them.
Sarah Laing
I thought this was a compelling, well-written book - part neurology, part educational psychology, part memoir. But I didn't finish it. I read it for the specific purpose of figuring out my own child's learning disability, and it didn't seem necessary for me to read through all of the case studies. I was quite interested in Arrowsmith-Young though. I wanted to know how her marriage fell apart - I'm not sure if she ever divulged this, but she certainly hadn't 3/4s way through. In some ways it was ...more
Alida
Very interesting book of a woman's self discovery of her own learning disabilities, her innovations to overcome them, how she helped others to do the same, and then started a school which implemented her methods with great success. http://www.barbaraarrowsmithyoung.com...
Flewts
This is a radically different approach to working with learning problems. Rather than teach coping strategies, they identify what part of the brain is not working properly, then use training exercises to retrain the brain to function the way it is supposed to. So that the disability goes away.
Marijke
Wow. This book was on a bedside table of somewhere I was staying and I went out and bought a copy that day so I would be able to read the rest of it. Stories of people with amazing disabilities and how an ingenuous teacher developed exercises to help them train themselves out of it. It didn't feel like non-fiction to me, I stayed up till 2am reading. And each chapter reminded me of myself, my spouse, or a close friend! We are all flawed in some aspect I guess, but most of us manage to compensate ...more
Neuro Bookaholic
Non-fiction. Barbara is president of the Arrowsmith school in Toronto. She works with people who have learning difficulties by identifying the part of the brain that appears to be not functioning properly and stimulating the area to break through the disability. Super resource for tutors.
Lisa
I felt the descriptions and examples of the different learning disabilities were spot on, but I ended the book more frustrated than encouraged. I expected the book to have practical suggestions but there were none. There wasn't even a "go to this website to find out more."
Art
May 04, 2015 Art added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
What a terrific book by a Canadian researcher & teacher! I work with adult literacy, with many older people who have "fallen through the cracks". Now I have another tool to use in my teaching, and another avenue to recommend. Great writer!
Kathy
Fascinating! I think every parent & teacher should read this book. How many of the children out there have these learning disabilities & we just think that they are problem kids? There should be an Arrowsmith program in every school....
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Diagnosed in grade one as having a "mental block", which today would have been identified as multiple learning disabilities, Barbara Arrowsmith-Young read and wrote everything backwards, had trouble processing concepts in language, continuously got lost and was physically uncoordinated.

Barbara eventually learnt to read and write from left to right and mask a number of the symptoms of her learning
...more
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