The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: Barbara Arrowsmith-Young at TEDxToronto

Published 2013-04-27

All Comments (21)
  • @bennybenny7382
    Brain change is a very real thing. I came from a bad upbringing didn't get many qualifications, never read a book, and had to have a side assistant teachers to assist me in every lesson, got diagnosed as autistic and add. This planted wrong programs in my brain and I believed it because I was only 8 years old. I was scared and felt extremely suicidal as everyone else seemed to have it easier. This made me not want to go out places and I decided to sit in doors playing video games to escape the world and because of this I somehow came across brain plasticity, this planted a new seed of hope and I decided to believe in it, because if people can change the size of their muscles, why cant they learn new skills and change other things too?.. I took a fitness course and the first week I did pretty bad because I was still stuck in that school mindset and the teachers said I should leave because I am not learning anything. This scared me because I needed to do something with my future so I put in the effort and within a few months I was literally flying through my assignments as if I had done it my whole life, students was even asking me for help and the teachers was quite shocked (I was around 23 when I finished so I wasnt exactly a child).. I managed to come out with the second best grades in my group from people who was older and more experiences than me.. I am now above average intelligence despite how disgustingly bad I did at school. Brain plasticity is real guys.
  • @lizogrady8611
    This is not just for children--the exercises work for ALL ages! My 73-year-old father is the oldest student in the Arrowsmith program and is having incredible results! These exercises need to be part of general education at all age levels. Our brains can change and grow throughout our entire lives. There is no "too old"!!
  • @courag1
    My dad died of Alzheimer's disease. In my late fifties, I noticed I was slowing down in my memory skills. I decided since there is such a connection between what the hands do and what the brain does, to work with my hands as much as I could so I went back to knitting. I was difficult for me at first. But as things got easier, I challenged myself with things which I found hard, and when that became easier, to find something more. I also learned every style of knitting so as to know how to knit each forwards and backwards. And when I knit I change my styles and work to be sure the knitting all looks the same. I have far less difficulty with forgetting anything now. My memory is better now at 66 than at 58 when I started this. Now I Europe, I have learned that they teach knitting in schools to both boys and girls. Their test scores exceed those of Americans, even those who are of the same heritage. So there is something to this. Knitting works well with attainment and advancement of mathematical understanding and also with music. Though I did not learn piano as a child, I did learn how to play by chord. Since my avid knitting, I sound very good. So there is something going on here. Perhaps we are all our own puzzle and we can create the tools to help ourselves. In the meanwhile, I have made many useful things, so I have an outlet for my creativity. One cannot put a premium on what being happy does for one's mind. But I am sure that just as children find success and become more excited about learning because they can master a hand-eye skill, so it is with adults who fear they are becoming by the day, more child-like. You can do something about it. Many find exercise is the key for them. The thing is do not give up. Perhaps it is learning to cook differently, again, don't give up. The more things you can add into your repertoire, the less bored your brain is and the more you have relish for life. But I also know this, that nutrition is key also to how we feel and how we think as well as sleeping well and consistently. Our diet, if we are not eating meat, is able to create in our gut, serotonin which is shared with the brain. Many of us have had so many antibiotics, the microbes to support this are dead. We have to rebuild this flora inside ourselves and eat what is easiest to digest especially as we age, plants. Meats do not digest well, figure into stroke and heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis, including asthma. What a price we pay to be addicted to our tastebuds and not willing to try new things. I've gone vegan and I will not look back. Lost weight and feel so much better. We need to continue to learn throughout our lives. And we are the ones who need to go after it. Trying to keep up after a spouse who won't do anything for himself is no fun. I have to get out for a few hours to be able to remember that I am not him and don't want to be. Negativity kills just as much as a loaded gun. It kills the soul. Life is too short, we have to find ways to be happy even if the spouse is sappy. Another reason I knit, I can go loads of other places inside my head even if I can't with my feet.
  • she had a painful experience as a child yet she has delivered an amazing story of overcoming her handicap... she's so inspiring, awesome.
  • I just wanna give her a tight hug. She has became her own hero, respect and salute to her
  • @bevkurtin
    Magnificent! I was a natural speed reader from the first time I learned HOW to read. My "wonderful" teachers told me that I had to say each word while moving my lips if I were to be able to absorb what I was reading. They totally ruined my ability to read until my mid-40s when I returned to college to finish my bachelor's degree. Little did I know I would wind up with a PhD in computer science. The faster I read, the more I comprehended. Now retired, I read 3 or 4 books at a time. Ahhh...
  • @TheRoarWithin
    Neuroplasticity is so exciting. And it's good news for me, because my short-term memory and ability to focus has greatly diminished after years of stress and depression.
  • What a miracle! She needs to reach the many special education teachers with her message as possible!
  • @Lelabear
    So interesting! I realize the neuroplasticity of my brain when I was in college and an excellent teacher realized I had dyslexic tendencies. She took me to the speech coach who determine which letters I automatically switched around and then taught me how to correct the mistake before it happened. Took a few years before the problems vanished, but eventually my brain corrected itself.
  • @GiniCurv
    I've read "The Man with the Shattered World" at least three times, maybe more. He was so severely disabled it exhausted him to write a single sentence and reading never failed to give him a headache, but he persevered over many years to piece together an entire book about cognitive disability as perceived from the inside. He describes the moment of horror waking up in the hospital realizing that the newspaper with the foreign alphabet he couldn't read was actually his own language.
  • @sandraheusel3769
    Having been one of the founding members of Eaton Arrowsmith School and Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre in Vancouver, BC, I have seen Barbara's work, the Arrowsmith Program, change hundreds of lives. It's definitely not easy to change the brain, but with sustained, specific practice it is very much possible. Barbara is speaking at Neuroplasticity and Education: Strengthening the Connection in Vancouver on October 25th if any of you are interested. Should be a great day.
  • I think what this testimony teaches us is that, not only our brain can change, but also us. We can be the better versions of ourselves in all possible ways.
  • FANTASTIC!!!!! I suffered a cerebral haemorrhage in my teens. I couldn't do anything, tell a buss schedule, operate a laundry machine and so on. And my doctors just like she said tried to prepare me for a life going around and avoiding my difficulties. And after 7 or 8 years I got fed up with my situation and started progress towards my problems. It took a while and since then 20 years later I have drastically change my life in a way regular treatment would have me living in a special home. Important and well spoken talk. thank you Barbara.
  • @r44time
    I could not understand the complexity of my texts in college so in order to get meaning from the texts I had to take notes as I was reading, highlight my notes, and keep reviewing my notes. Then eventually I was able to get meaning from text and complete all my classes for my degree. I think these strategies changed my brain because I did not give up.
  • @BigMaxGamer
    The problems she had were more worse than my current problems yet she lives happier than me. I wanna change my brain too and now I just need to take the right bath. Thanks for this wonderful presentation.
  • Thank you this gives me even more hope for my son who was born prematurely. It affected his brain and at one point we’re told only one side of his brain was functioning turns out it was too swollen to get a good read. We were also suggested to pull his life support because he wouldn’t have quality of life. Jump almost 19 years later this young man who went from delays in walking multiple challenges including hearing loss in one ear and sensory integration and tons of therapy (no drugs we didn’t want to mix with the brain chemistry) ended up running track, playing water polo, graduating from high school and now will be going to college. His high school counselor wanted to graduate him out in special Ed classes but he wanted the chance to go to college like everyone else. He worked hard to graduate in regular classes with only some sped provisions. He still has short term memory loss, can’t tell time on a clock and doesn’t drive yet (big potential to get lost) but one day will. I always told him he could do anything he wants in life but now I think that might have been abstract for him. Thank you again you have encouraged this mom to help him succeed!
  • @lornatough9563
    We shared the same childhood dysfunctions, we both had fathers that changed our way of thinking - our only difference she knew her diagnosis, I only learnt of mine 2 years ago and I am now 60. This woman has so inspired me - my father taught me all those games she herself used, I still do them to this day and I am sure that is why I made it thus far. This talk brought me the validation of me. I cannot thank you enough xx
  • @8acenelson
    What a humbling, magnificent talk.   The part about reading philosophy is especially impressive.  I have a BA in Philosophy with High Honors, and I've never read and understood 100 pages of philosophy in a row, whether by one or many philosophers.  Understanding two pages in a row was a real achievement for me. Philosophy's often tough sledding, even for the practiced eye. It seems to me Ms. Arrowsmith-Young had a brilliant mind before she overcame her blockage, because she figured out how to change her brain while she was still in the  strange foggy world of her youth. And obviously her brilliance has shone more and more brightly since.  The implications of brain plasticity for education are unfathomable.  I taught for 30 years and how I wish I'd know about this when I was teaching.  We have to pursue it and find out how we can literally help students mold their brains for the better. There must be so much more to her story.  I'm anxious to read her book.
  • @pinsolomons
    She just touches the surface of her accomplishments in this video. She works with kids who need to reconnect various parts of their brains that have, for whatever reason, failed to connect naturally. The methods she uses for hyperactive kids with very short attention spans was the most impressive I've ever read. Please look up her institute and whatever youtube vids of her therapies if you know someone who is struggling.
  • @ComicalDog
    "Every time we learn something new, our brain changes. With focused effort, we can intentionally rewire our brains to overcome learning challenges and reach new heights of achievement." - Barbara Arrowsmith Young