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

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  596 Ratings  ·  111 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
Nov 10, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 04, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Phredric
Apr 13, 2013 Phredric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mohamed Ghilan
Dec 08, 2015 Mohamed Ghilan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neuroscience
This is a fascinating book that I think every parent and teacher should read. I was introduced to Barbara Arrosmith-Young in Dr. Norman Doidge's 2007 book "The Brain That Changes Itself" and found it impressive that despite having learning disabilities she managed to not only diagnose her cognitive problems by reading A.R. Luria's books, but she also designed cognitive training exercises that ultimately allowed her to overcome her learning disabilities. This formed the basis of the work she now ...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
Sep 16, 2012 Della rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amber Myott
2.5 stars if I could , as I don't think it is particularly well written. I read this book for educational purposes ...the author has founded a school in Canada ( The Arrowsmith School ) where the program is reportedly achieving amazing result. The whole subject of neuroplasticity and 'retraining ' the brain is fascinating.
Cecile
Feb 16, 2013 Cecile rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 08, 2014 Pam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edu
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
Mommalibrarian
Jul 06, 2016 Mommalibrarian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Neuroplasticity is a theory born in the mid-1800s and heavily researched more recently. This is a very inspirational book. Reading it and having heard several other prominent neuro practitioners talk about brain plasticity and specific instances when it has been used to effect big changes makes me want to proselytize. Every child should be tested for neurological areas of strength and weakness in kindergarten or first grade. Those with weaknesses should be actively enrolled in efforts to improve ...more
Fu Sheng Wong
May 08, 2016 Fu Sheng Wong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt skeptical initially, that some may label this as a sham or shameless advert. One can only be skeptical for so long without reading this book through and making a fair comment.

This book is a little journal documenting various types of learning deficits and incidentally serves as a mini-biography of the author. Neuroplasticity has been supported in recent years to fit hand in glove with the author's proposition and thus allowing a re-tuning of the brain. The author devises exercises to hel
...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
Apr 04, 2015 Lisa Biskup rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mussie  Zemikael
Dec 27, 2015 Mussie Zemikael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As most people, I came to know about the author through her TED Talk video on YouTube. I was enthralled by her speech and decided to read the book. What I found was even more fascinating than her TED talk.
Armed with Luria’s books and through her determination, hard work and strong will, not only she managed to overcome her learning disabilities but she also established Arrowsmith schools and helped a lot of people by designing various exercises and therapies to overcome their learning disabiliti
...more
Jennifer
Sep 17, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Well, this was fabulous. Due to new learning about neuroplasticity, it *is* possible to help the brain learn to learn.

"And once brain function has been augmented, that gain is permanent. My own hypothesis is that once this brain function is in place, normal use offers its own stimulation. I have tracked individuals thirty years removed from the Arrowsmith Program, and there is no loss of function. The changed brain stays changed" (34).

"Italian has 33 letter combinations for its 25 phonemes. Eng
...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
Ollieb
Jun 04, 2012 Ollieb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Amy Allen
This book is basically a series of case studies about people who went to the author's school with severe learning disabilities where they worked on developing targeted sections of their brains so that when they graduated they fit into the "normal" category. The main theme of this, and many other psychological books, is the idea of neuroplasticity, meaning the brain can change and develop throughout one's life based on how and where it is stimulated. People who are bad with directions can become ...more
Daniel Wood
Oct 25, 2015 Daniel Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neurology, biog
The title doesn't do it justice. More accurate would be "The Woman Who Changed Her Brain And Thousands Of Others" or "The Woman Who Changed Her Brain And Thousands Of Others, Developing The Most Important Programme In The History Of Education" ...but those are a little long-winded.

A brilliant book about an exceptional woman, who overcame crippling learning disabilities (largely on her own, without "professional" help!) to develop amazing techniques for improving the mind and healing many learnin
...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
Aug 12, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
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
Apr 17, 2015 Siobhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ruth Poproski
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get there. The first bit was fascinating, as the authour described her own trajectory, and introduced some of the principles behind her work: it's exciting to think about the possibilities for improving our brains through simple activities and whatnot.

Unfortunately, the rest of the twenty-three chapters in the book got repetitive and annoyingly vague: story after story of individuals with specific learning disabilities, struggling through li
...more
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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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