An Arrowsmith update

It is high time for an update about the Arrowsmith program! I am thrilled to be able to report that there are currently more than 1700 students enrolled in the program with 73 educational organizations in four countries offering the Arrowsmith Program. There are 25 sites in Canada, 32 sites in the United States, 11 sites in Australia and 5 sites in New Zealand.

The reach of the Arrowsmith program is extending and I know that all of those students will be benefitting in ways which are hard to describe adequately, we parents watch with joy as our children (whatever their age!) blossom with this program. I have seen, in Simon’s case, a previously unimaginable growth in his confidence and his self esteem as well as in his academic and social abilities. This time last year we could never have conceived of him living in a student Hall of Residence with me being here in Sydney leaving him for weeks on end. He is not only managing but thriving with his new-found independence – it is so exciting to see!

I am sharing the words Matt wrote to Simon at the end of his latest report as they reflect, to me, what Arrowsmith is all about, full of encouragement but challenging at the same time.

Simon: This progress report represents the culmination of a very successful year. Some of the highlights from this past month include putting in a big effort in your Broca’s exercise to ensure that you met Benchmark expectations and a dramatic increase in your Predicative Speech scores. In your Predicative Speech exercise you went from falling below expectations last month to exceeding expectations in April!  Your efforts behind your Broca’s and Predicative Speech accomplishments do not go unnoticed. The people around you value hard work and it resulted in you earning the most recent Brass Hammer award! You have worked hard and challenged yourself, and it has paid off with the discovery of new abilities.  As we enter into the end of the year, it will be important to stay focused on the big picture. It has been a long and productive year, and now is your opportunity to think about putting your new strengths into practice. You have new powers—remember to use them. When you leave for the break, don’t undersell yourself. You are capable of a lot. Be brave. Use your courage to try new things, and work hard to become better at the things you need and want to be better at. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t fall back into old habits. You have a good sense of how much progress you have made and how far you have truly come.  Put a lot of energy into everything you do—it will always pay off and help you to build good habits. We are looking forward to a strong finish to the year, and we also know that you are looking forward to a well-deserved break in June.

It is almost the end of the academic year with the two week assessment period starting next week, after a long weekend. Simon is off to Ottawa with one of his fellow students and looking forward to spending a weekend in a family home, a change from Argyle. Whilst he is not exactly looking forward to testing, he is keen to have a measure of how far he has come in this last two years. We are keen to see his results too but we don’t really need them as we can see for ourselves the immense gains he has made. He is no longer in the no man’s land, floundering somewhere between special ed and the mainstream, where he was overwhelmed by fast flowing conversations amongst his peers or by too many instructions, unable to remember the names of his fellow workers on his work experience days. Excitingly, he is reading and has been reading every day for over 100 days now! There is so much more I could mention but that is enough from me for now! If you would like to find out more about our Arrowsmith experience please email me – wise words 3

And perhaps in my next post I will tell you what I have been up to (sorry Richard!).


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