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We recently conducted a survey with Eaton Arrowsmith parents and discovered that 65 per cent of the time the decision to send a child to EA is made by both parents.

Mothers are typically thought to be the decision-makers when it comes to their children. In fact, 84 per cent of the people surveyed were women.

But that doesn’t mean dads aren’t involved in making serious decisions about their kids’ educations.

In the below video, John talks about the concerns he had before enrolling his daughter at Eaton Arrowsmith. He also shares the process that led to the decision and how it has changed his child’s life.

This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate all the dads who search for solutions for their kids’ learning difficulties and will do anything to see them succeed.

Howard Eaton’s new book, The Brain Pioneer: The True Story of How Barbara Arrowsmith-Young Used Brain Science to Help Children With Learning Disabilities, can now be ordered on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

Current Eaton Arrowsmith families will soon be able to purchase the book at a discounted rate from their schools. Watch for updates about the book’s release on our Facebook page and through our school newsletters.

Book description:

Did you know your brain is plastic?!

That’s right: because “plastic” means it can change.

This is the story of Barbara Arrowsmith-Young. As a child she was told she would never overcome the learning disabilities that made school so difficult and frustrating for her. But Barbara refused to believe that was true.

With courage, inventiveness, and resilience, she found ways to actually change her brain and improve her skills. A dedicated researcher and innovator who came to be known as “the brain pioneer” for her groundbreaking research on what’s now known as “brain plasticity,” Barbara has transformed how people with learning disabilities are perceived and educated.

Barbara created her own brain improvement program, and opened the Arrowsmith School in 1980 to bring the program to other students. Today there are over 100 schools offering the program around the world.  The program can also help adults who have had brain injuries from stroke or accidents.

Through Barbara’s passion and achievements, she has taught the world that children with learning disabilities and people who have suffered brain injuries can change their brains, and dream of a brighter future!

Read on to find out how Barbara made her incredible discovery.

Includes a history of studies in brain plasticity, amazing brain facts, vital brain health recommendations, and a comprehensive glossary.

Please join us on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 (6:00pm-8:00pm) at Eaton Arrowsmith Vancouver/Magnussen School/Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre for our annual Community Resource Fair.

This event will give you – our wonderful families and other community members – access to practitioners in our area who, like Eaton Arrowsmith, provide support to children and adults to help them grow and develop healthy brains.

Students and staff at Eaton Arrowsmith White Rock showed the Lower Mainland how exercise can boost concentration, reduce anxiety and improve cognitive development on Breakfast Television.

This winter, the school added fitness breaks to students’ days to reduce stress in the classroom and help kids strengthen their brains.

Research suggests exercise can have a postitive impact on learning and students at EA White Rock are feeling focused thanks to the fitness program.

Being on Breakfast Television was the perfect way to celebrate Brain Awareness Week, which runs from March 12-18, and promotes the benefits of brain research.

The EA fitness program was also featured in Peace Arch News.


Are you tired of coping with a learning disability?

Do education and work goals seem out of reach?

Do you feel like you have what it takes to succeed?


Stop struggling and take your future into your hands this summer at Eaton Arrowsmith.

Children and adults with learning disabilities can

  • understand concepts
  • study and do well on tests
  • problem-solve
  • participate in group conversations
  • follow instructions in class and at work
  • complete projects faster
  • and understand jokes and sarcasm




The Arrowsmith Summer Cognitive Intensive Program at Eaton Arrowsmith is for children (over the age of 10) and adults who want to be confident learners for life.

In this six-week program, students strengthen the parts of their brains responsible for logical, cause and effect reasoning and increase their speed of processing (understanding) information.




Want to enroll?


An assessment of fit is the first step.

Contact our admissions expert for more information at

admissions@eatonarrowsmith.com or 604-264-8327.



“There is an amazing difference in Tallulah since her Eaton Arrowsmith experience. Teachers who work with her, family and friends, have all noted her improved levels of confidence and concentration. She recently sang in a school production in front of 300 people! She also received a high grade for a research project, which has never happened before!

– Raquel Smith, EA parent

On May 15th 2017  Eaton Arrowsmith Vancouver cognitive and academic staff members came together, along with some of our alumni parents and students for our first ever round table discussion about life before, during and especially after Eaton Arrowsmith! Everything you’ve ever wanted to know and more about the transition to and from Eaton Arrowsmith, from the perspective of those who know it best – our wonderful teachers and families – can be found here!

Join us online via our YouTube channel for our first ever round table discussion with current Eaton Arrowsmith cognitive and academic teachers, EA alumni students and their parents as we discuss life before,during and especially after Eaton Arrowsmith! Everything you’ve ever wanted to know and more about the transition to and from Eaton Arrowsmith, from the perspective of those who know it best – our wonderful teachers and families! Have a question that isn’t being discussed? Feel free to write in during the conversation and we’ll do our best to answer it!

*Please note that the link to this conversation will not be available on the YouTube channel until just before the conversation starts, so do not worry if you check there earlier and it is not available. Also, should the timing of this conversation not suit you, that’s ok! We’ll be recording every last minute and will send it out to everyone in the coming weeks.

To get you all into the spirit and theme of our upcoming conversation, last week we had the pleasure of a visit from one of our very first EA students, Justine! She’s a Douglas College graduate and is working as a support worker with children with special​ needs. She said to us that the Arrowsmith Program’s impact on student achievement still amazes her – she couldn’t read before she came to us and now she can read a book in a day! She’s a big advocate for early intervention, so students do not have to struggle their whole lives and experience the emotional trauma and isolation that academic and social learning difficulties can cause. It was wonderful to see you again, Justine, and to witness how you have flourished – even though we feel old!!

Looking forward to ‘seeing’ you all online on Monday May 15th!

Sandra Heusel, Admissions and Marketing Director, for all of us at Eaton Arrowsmith

Have you ever wondered about some of the reasons why it is so hard for students…and grown ups…to pay attention? Thanks to our friends at VancouverMom.ca for sharing our thoughts and the experiences of our students so clearly. Have a read! http://www.vancouvermom.ca/school/paying-attention-school-difficult/

Resource Fair-THURSDAY_LargerFileSizeprint


Are you a parent or student interested in learning more about professionals in the Lower Mainland who support students with learning difficulties? Or, are you a professional in the field yourself who would like to network with others and meet potential clients? Join us on March 2nd between 6:30pm and 8:00pm at Eaton Arrowsmith Vancouver/Magnussen School for this free Community Resource Fair event! Register here. Contact Sandra Heusel at sheusel@eatonarrowsmith.com if you are a professional interested in exhibiting at this event.

Click on the link for a video message.

All of us at Eaton Arrowsmith, Magnussen School and Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre wish you the happiest of holidays! See you in 2017!

Hello everyone!

Thank you so much to those of you who joined us this past Monday (or Tuesday in other parts of the world) either live in the audience or via our live streamed presentation. If you did you would have seen some pretty remarkable students speaking about their experiences with the Arrowsmith Program and Eaton Arrowsmith/Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre. Our school principals, Emily Lunney and Simon Hayes and founder Howard Eaton completed the presentation by sharing their knowledge of the power of brain plasticity to change lives. An update on the ongoing research taking place on the Arrowsmith Program was also discussed.

The weekend is upon us, so grab yourself some popcorn, relax, and prepare to be inspired! If, after watching, you are interested in learning more about us and our admissions process, we’re always here to help. Feel free to email us at admissions@eatonarrowsmith.com or call 604-264-8327 (Canadian schools/centres) or 425-861-8327 (Redmond, Washington school/center).

*Please note that due to technical difficulties at the very beginning of the presentation the first 2-3 minutes was not recorded. Additionally, due to the fact that our UBC Arrowsmith Program research is pending journal submission there is one visual that we were not able to record.

Reserve your ticket TODAY for our next amazing event!

Less than a week to go until The Future of Learning Disabilities Education: Eaton Arrowsmith’s Live Cognitive Classroom Experience will be presented by the founder of Eaton Arrowsmith, Howard Eaton, along with the principals and students at our schools. Register to save your spot today!

Howard will speak to recent research findings, as they pertain to the UBC Arrowsmith Program Brain Research Study, as well as a brand new study that has just begun on working memory and the Arrowsmith Program.  Our principals and students will show you what life at Eaton Arrowsmith is all about, complete with demonstrations of our cognitive exercises and recounts on their lives before and during the program regarding noted cognitive, academic and social changes.  Truly not a presentation to miss!


Live Streaming Available!

This event will be live streamed via our You Tube channel. The streaming link will be available the day of the presentation.

Please tune in on Monday November 21st at 6:30pm PST if you are local (Vancouver area) or at 9:30pm EST

For our Australia and New Zealand viewers this presentation can be viewed on:
Tuesday November 22nd at 1:30pm (Sydney and area – AEDT)
Tuesday November 22nd at 10:30am (Perth and area)
Tuesday November 22nd at 3:30pm (New Zealand)


Don’t miss out! Reserve your spot today!

Learning Disabilities Education

Dear Eaton Arrowsmith Community,

We are excited to announce our 2017-2018 scholarships and bursaries for new and continuing students!

Bursary allocation will be based solely on financial need and amounts offered will vary according to need.

Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on a persuasive presentation by the student or parent (500 word essay or three minute multimedia presentation, as outlined in the application form). Please note that, to apply for a scholarship or bursary, a student must either be enrolled or officially offered a place at an Eaton Arrowsmith site.

In order to find more information about this opportunity, as well as application forms, please see the Scholarships and Bursaries page on our website: http://www.eatonarrowsmith.com/scholarships-bursaries/ New this year is a part time program scholarship!

Applications for scholarships and bursaries for the 2017-2018 school year are due at noon on December 5th, 2016. Recipients will be notified by December 14th. Students receiving financial aid will have until January 20, 2017, to accept their scholarship and/or bursary by confirmation of enrolment for the 2017-2018 school year.

Please note that all new students applying for bursaries and scholarships must first have been assessed for fit by our admissions team and been offered placement. For an assessment of fit, please contact us at 604-264-8327 or admissions@eatonarrowsmith.com.

Thank you for your continued support of our community! Our goal is to continue to enable more students to access this life-changing program and we appreciate the donations that have allowed us to offer additional financial assistance to our students. If you have any questions, please contact me at any time.


Rose McLachlan
Eaton Arrowsmith

Can you imagine growing up with a learning disability, but not knowing you have one?


Michael Harley doesn’t need to imagine the experience. He lived it for decades – suffering in silence.


“I always felt out of place and very anxious,” he said. “I had no idea what was wrong with me for the majority of my life.”



While Harley excelled in school, he struggled socially. As a child, he only had one friend. The thought of hanging out with several people at a time made him anxious. He never knew what to say or how to act.


“I couldn’t bridge the gap between talking to someone and truly connecting and developing relationships,” he said.


Harley felt confused for his entire childhood and through most of his teen years. He coped the only way he knew how: by avoiding social situations and dedicating all his time to school.


“I relied on my strengths,” Harley said. “I focused on school and got all A’s, but the social aspect of my life was entirely missing. I felt anxious and depressed.”


Clarity after Confusion


Harley didn’t find answers until his first year of university when, at the age of 19, he met with a learning specialist who told him he had a non-verbal learning disability. He describes the diagnosis as a major aha moment.


“It made complete sense and put my life in perspective,” Harley said. “Having that place as a jumping off point was the first step to addressing my learning disability and becoming the person I knew I was, but couldn’t access.”


Individuals with non-verbal learning disabilities often struggle to read social cues like body language and facial expressions and find planning and organizing difficult.


Like Harley, many people reach adulthood without knowing they have this disability.


“It’s a painful thing,” said Adriene Oelmann, director of the Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre (EA Adults) in Vancouver. “When someone has this difficulty, they often don’t know they have it. They’re always walking into social situations and not understanding what’s going on around them. It makes life pretty confusing and scary to navigate.”


Oelmann believes non-verbal learning disabilities are more common than most realize. They just aren’t that understood or acknowledged.


“Many of EA Adults’s students who have a non-verbal learning disability are in their early twenties. Their parents don’t understand what it is. They don’t understand what it is,” she said.


Unless someone is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Asperger Syndrome, people tend to label individuals with this learning difficulty “awkward” or “weird”, according to Oelmann.


The Glass Ceiling


While a non-verbal learning disability doesn’t always interfere with a person’s success in elementary and high school, it becomes a bigger problem for adults when socializing extends into the work world.


For example, imagine having to do a job interview when you can’t read facial expressions and other non-verbal cues, Oelmann said.


Adults have years of being traumatized and scared. They have a history of trying with teachers, peers making fun of them, teachers thinking they’re dumb and families not understanding what’s wrong. – Adriene Oelmann


“Interviews can be terrifying for someone with a non-verbal learning disability,” she said. “There is so much information communicated through facial expression and body language.”


As a result, individuals with a non-verbal learning disability have a tendency to sell themselves short by applying for jobs they’re overqualified for. Similarly, in university, students might avoid asking professors’ questions or struggle to understand what instructors are asking of them.


“These can all be stumbling blocks,” Oelmann said. “They can close a lot of doors and prevent people from going after their dreams.”


Emotional Scars


When a non-verbal learning disability goes undiagnosed until adulthood, it can take a huge emotional toll on a person.


“Adults have years of being traumatized and scared,” Oelmann said. “They have a history of trying with teachers, peers making fun of them, teachers thinking they’re dumb and families not understanding what’s wrong.”


Harley can relate. He was 21-years-old by the time he enrolled at EA Adults and had endured too many mortifying social situations, bouts of depression and anxiety to count.


But he will always remember one experience he had during his first year at Northwestern University. A group of students were hanging out in a girl’s dorm room. Harley was beginning to think he was fitting in until someone called him out for being too quiet.


“I think she said I was being really awkward or something,” he said. “It just reaffirmed all the negative beliefs that I had about myself. I was finally in this friend group and not only did I not know how to deal with a big group of people, but I could see everyone connecting and I was still on the outside.”


Harley left Northwestern twice to try to deal with his non-verbal learning disability. The first time, he attended a program for students with learning disabilities in his hometown of New York. The second time, his mom recommended EA Adults.


Having tried other interventions without success, Harley decided to move to Vancouver. By this point, he could no longer separate the social and academic sides of his life and even his grades were suffering.


A Place of Refuge


Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre offers Barbara Arrowsmith-Young’s Arrowsmith Program, which uses targeted cognitive exercises to strengthen weaknesses in the brain that cause learning disabilities.


EA Adults doesn’t give students workarounds to cope with their challenges. Instead, the Arrowsmith Program focuses on building neural pathways and strengthening connections in the brain so that teens and adults can achieve their academic, career and social goals.


“Students with non-verbal learning disabilities work on exercises to specifically target the part of the brain that uses non-verbal and is also part of planning,” Oelmann said. “They have to figure out what is happening in different situations.”



But EA Adults isn’t just about cognitive exercises. It’s also a supportive and safe community where teens and adults traumatized by past experiences can open up and feel accepted.


“They don’t feel like outsiders anymore. You start to see some really deep and awesome connections form,” Oelmann said.


Students are also encouraged to take on leadership roles by planning social activities within the community. This gives individuals with non-verbal learning disabilities the opportunity to practice socializing in a safe and supportive environment.


Reaching New Heights


Harley noticed some pretty significant changes after his first semester at EA Adults. For example, when he returned from winter break, he decided to join an improv class – something he would have never done before EA Adults due to his social anxiety.


“I wanted to step things up outside the program,” he said. “That’s how I found myself 3,000 miles away from home doing improv with random people of all ages and feeling more comfortable than I have ever felt in my life.”


Harley completed one year at EA Adults and now studies neuroscience at Columbia University and lives with three roommates. He regularly meets new friends and feels a lot more comfortable in his own skin.


“I know my life wouldn’t be the same today without EA Adults,” he said.


Oelmann has witnessed countless transformations in students with non-verbal learning disabilities over the years.


“Some students’ confidence is so heavily impacted after the program that they literally stand up taller,” she said. “They look like they’ve physically grown. They hold their heads up, pay attention and the cues they get from other people start to make sense.”


For students, it’s as if a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders. For parents and families, it’s a relief.


“Parents realize, ‘My kid’s not going to be alone and isolated for the rest of his life,’” Oelmann said.


Key Dates
  • Keydates for this location TBA
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September 2018

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Eaton Arrowsmith sends monthly emails with details on what’s happening at EA, EA Adults and Magnussen. These newsletters have important information for all students, parents and prospective families. If you’ve missed a newsletter, view our archive below for links to past newsletters to help you stay informed. If you would like to be added to the email list, please contact admissions