New Arrowsmith Program Comes to Brehm Prep School


By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Andy Shofstall

CARBONDALE -- A local school is breaking ground with its use of a cutting-edge technology. Brehm Preparatory in Carbondale is the first boarding school in the world to use the Arrowsmith program.

Arrowsmith uses cognitive therapy to rewire the brains of those with learning disabilities to increase their learning capacity. The people at Arrowsmith say it helps everything from reading, writing, and math, all the way to memory, logical reasoning, and comprehension.

Brehm started the program last fall, and teachers say they've seen tremendous results. They're already planning to expand it this coming school year.
Arrowsmith teacher Shelby Pals explains one of the activities. "What they do is they read a clock. I know that sounds simple, but there are so many relationships. It goes from two hands, and I teach up to ten hands."
Another activity requires kids to cover their left eye with an eye patch. By drawing patterns, the students are training the right hemispheres of their brains.
"The theology of it is that Arrowsmith targets the root of the problem. Most programs for kids with learning disabilities give them strategies, accommodations, modifications to work around it," explains Pals.
"I like the tracing, I think it helps us with words and handwriting, and all that," says student Sebastien Bradford.
This summer is Bradford's first time at Brehm Preparatory School and already, he says he's doing a lot better than in his former St. Louis classroom.
"At school, I wasn't doing too well. Our teacher would sometimes tell us what to write, she'd give us time to write it, but she went a little too fast sometimes," he explains.
The benefit of Brehm is twofold for 7th grader Aaron Wood from Dongola. He no longer has to deal with bullies, and his reading has dramatically improved in just one year.
"It's helped on my reading, because I was at a 2-point-something level, and now I'm at a 4-point-something."
Pals says these exercises are mentally challenging, but the results are hard to argue with.
"We had just some of the scores shoot through the roof. So, you're really seeing that not only are they progressing in the Arrowsmith, but they can apply that to academics as well, and that's what more of them want."
Pals says the school already has 30 kids signed up for the Arrowsmith program this fall, and they haven't even officially started class registration yet.
And Pals says anyone at any age can benefit from these exercises. They're designed to make your brain more agile.
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