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

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  381 ratings  ·  75 reviews
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. She could make no sense of an analogue clock. But by relying on her formidable memory and iron wi...more
Audio CD, 10 pages
Published May 24th 2012 by Post Hypnotic Press Inc. (first published May 1st 2012)
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
Blue Mountains Library
I heard the author interviewed on the radio; what an amazing person, I admire her determination and courage! I hope that in the future, her programmes will be available worldwide in all schools and education institutions to help the many people out there who struggle with learning disabilities.

ANON
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."
Anntonette Alberti
This is an important book that every parent and educator should read. But beyond that, it is a study in the power of every person to reshape potential, capability, and life. Very empowering.
Elizabeth Bailey
Excellent book - everyone should read this. Before I read it I knew you could improve some things like memory but I had no idea you could actually completely fix a learning disability. And even if you don't have a diagnosed disability everyone has areas of weakness that can be improved. I think a lot of people are dealing with at least minor learning disabilities they may not even be aware of. Also if you have young children this book is an excellent tool in learning to recognize the areas of we...more
Mandy
I found this completely fascinating but I would have loved to get more specifics about the exercises involved in correcting the many brain deficiencies. I would have also liked more information on how these deficiencies are diagnosed. Some of the students' diagnoses are explained but most of the time, it's just glossed over. I'm so intrigued but this way of teaching and thinking and I really think they need to engage a neuroscientist to explain exactly what these exercises and activities are doi...more
Janet Greenwell
I really enjoyed reading this book. i am intrigued by the author's premise and program. I read this along side the Willpower book and they complimented each other nicely.
Jada Roche
I picked this up because I'm interested in the idea of neuroplasticity and "hacking" my own brain in an attempt to get rid of the math fence I've had for a nummber of years. I would have enjoyed this a lot more had it either focused solely on the author's hack of her own brain, or on the solutions used. Granted, if she just wrote about what they do to fix the brain, no one would pay to go to their school I suppose....the book felt like it was 80% "look what we did!" stories without any real scie...more
Aleesha
Amazing book, similar to The Brain That Changes Itself
Nancy
Brilliant, inspiring,the author was able to be so motivated to use her innate intelligence to dig deeper,see the connections between her difficulties, and those of someone who was injured, and then taking this knowledge into the world to help others.What is now being known about the brain, and and it's functions,it should be treated as other body organs,and when testing, as available,without any stigma. Thank goodness for Ms.Young and other pioneers,helping to make it so.
Jinty
The brain is fascinating. This book explains a variety of learning disabilities, and the struggles people have living with challenges. The examples bring to light individual struggles and how they compensate or correct their deficiencies/weaknesses. It is a very informative book, and sometimes pretty heavy reading, but that's what I would expect from this book. I am sure the Arrowsmith exercises and programs will be busy with plenty of people seeking more information.
Khawla


Loved the book! It is a bit of an advertisement to the Arrowsmith schools. However, it is a much needed advertisement! Never knew of such disabilities and wouldn't have predicted that they could be all overcome with the right teaching method. Loved to learn about the wide range of disabilities as each chapt introduced a different kind of disability and how it affected the lives of the disabled ... Glad to know that such school exist :o)
Ian Bull
If you or anyone in your family has any kind of learning disability or deficit, you will find an anecdotal story of someone who overcame it with Barbara's methods. I am waiting for the DVD of the Canadian documentary of her methods to be available in the States. Her own story is inspiring and triumphant. The book was reassuring and enlightening. Whether it works, I have no first hand experience with her school, but I recommend the book.
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Audiobooks: GiveAway 1 48 Aug 09, 2012 05:52PM  
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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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