Our Brains at Work, Rest, and Play – Webinar Series Pt. 2


To be happy and healthy humans, we all know we need to sleep well, eat right, and exercise. But what about our brain? We certainly demand a lot from it, as the source of all thinking and action, every moment of every day. Doesn’t it deserve our attention, too?

Science offers a promising position: our brains, like our bodies, can change and improve through exercise. Known as neuroplasticity, our brain has the remarkable capacity to change both its physical structure and its functional organization.

Through neuroplastic or “cognitive“ training, our brain can grow dendrites, form new neural connections, strengthen existing connections – all of which fundamentally change the brain’s capacity to learn and function. Further, key processes such as problem solving, memory, processing speed, reasoning, and mental flexibility – can be directly targeted.


Webinar Info

On February 15th, 2022 at 7:00 PM EST CAN/USA, join Executive Director of the Arrowsmith Program, Debbie Gilmore, as she discusses the brain’s role at school, the workplace, at home, and throughout our lives.

Meet the Speaker

Debbie Gilmore
Executive Director of the Arrowsmith Program

Gilmore’s presentation will examine the remarkable science of neuroplasticity and share some foundational principles for effective neuroplastic training. It will also invite you to consider the implications of this approach.

What would it mean, for example, to have cognitive programming within our schools, the workplace, and at home? What would life look like for you, for those you love – to have a sharper, faster, more efficient brain? Join us as we put science to practice and consider how cognitive enhancement can benefit us all.


Register for the Webinar

February 15, 2022


Click here if you missed Part 1 – The Brain: Our Most Important Asset.

The ultimate solution for students with ADHD

With approximately 2.5% of the world’s population estimated to struggle with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the Arrowsmith Program is helping students all over the world strengthen their brains and overcome their difficulties inside and outside of the classroom.

The Arrowsmith Program tackles ADHD by identifying and strengthening cognitive functions that are weak. The Arrowsmith Program has been utilized and refined over the past 40+ years, and a number of research studies have been conducted, regarding the effectiveness of the cognitive training.


Arrowsmith for ADHD

Upon a student’s enrollment, a proprietary cognitive assessment is used to identify the weak cognitive functions, then a specialized cognitive training program to strengthen those areas is crafted for that individual student.

Arrowsmith’s approach to ADHD and other cognitive difficulties is much different to traditional learning support practices and therapies. Traditional methods try to make it as easy as possible for a student to do a certain task by providing accommodations. The cognitive exercises in the Arrowsmith Program specifically targets weak areas or a student’s brain to address their ADHD difficulties. It is essentially the equivalent to “Fixing the well, and not just the sink.”

How does Arrowsmith help students with ADHD?

Here at Confident Brains, we have used the cognitive exercises in the Arrowsmith Program to help countless of our students who were previously branded as lazy, unable to focus, difficult to manage in class, etc., make life-changing progress as they go through their program. 

We hypothesize that a lot of the symptoms that arise from ADHD are the result of the brain being under so much stress by trying to compensate for weaker brain areas. Once these areas are strengthened (as they are in Arrowsmith), we believe that the brain does not need to try as hard to keep up with simple tasks, and therefore the student is able to stay more composed, relaxed and focused.

In one study, the Arrowsmith Program was shown to reduce stress levels (cortisol) in students, in comparison to their peers. This allowed them to perform better in the classroom and during exams.

Life after Arrowsmith

Our Arrowsmith Program alumni who previously struggled with ADHD are now able to live their life to the fullest. Our school-aged alumni typically see a dramatic increase in classroom performance and behavior. Our adult students report improvements in social abilities and lower stress levels.

Where is the Arrowsmith Program available?

The Arrowsmith Program is available through Confident Brains in a variety of program types, either online, or face-to-face at one of our partner schools across Asia. Get in contact with us to learn more.


ADHD affects a significant part of the world’s population. The Arrowsmith Program helps students with ADHD by identifying and targeting weak areas of a student’s brain. Through strengthening the weak cognitive functions, Arrowsmith students see a wide range of benefits related to their ADHD. The Arrowsmith Program is available online or face-to-face through Confident Brains. Parents and families interested in the Arrowsmith Program for their child may contact admissions@confidentbrains.com or click here.

Confident Brains: Helping school learning support teams harness the power of Neuroplasticity

At Confident Brains, we’re on a mission to helping as many students as we possibly can, by working with school leadership and learning support teams to implement the Arrowsmith Program. Commonly referred to as “Arrowsmith”, it is a powerful cognitive training tool proven to be effective for students with learning difficulties. Learning difficulties such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia and ADHD have profound negative effects on academic performance and mental health, leading to many challenges for both the student and staff.

By targeting and strengthening specific weak areas of the brain, based on students’ individual cognitive profile, Arrowsmith students typically see a wide range of benefits including increased academic performance, better social skills, and improvements in mood and self-confidence.

Robert Lee, Arrowsmith Teacher Liaison for Confident Brains, works closely with new schools and teachers to offer consultation and support. Speaking on why he is so passionate about helping schools and teachers implement Arrowsmith, he says, “It is always just such a groundbreaking moment when a school decides to implement the Arrowmith Program, or a teacher decides to be trained as an Arrowsmith teacher. It means that students in their area that are struggling with learning difficulties, will now have the opportunity to access this life-changing tool.”

New School Success

Even in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and government restrictions, our schools and teachers are reporting incredible progress in their students’ cognitive training. It is a common concern that online learning is not as effective as face-to-face learning. While we would agree with this statement in the context of mainstream education, we have actually seen the opposite with Arrowsmith students. One study conducted by Arrowsmith shows that online students doing cognitive training surprisingly were showing better progress compared to their in-classroom results. We hypothesize that the better performance is a result of fewer distractions at home, allowing for a more suitable cognitive training area.

A Mission for More

Confident Brains will continue it’s mission to help as many students as possible by expanding Arrowsmith in more and more schools throughout South East Asia and beyond.

Is your school leadership or learning support team looking for a powerful tool to help struggling students, while also supporting your school’s budget? Contact us today to learn more.

fMRI Research and Arrowsmith

There is a lot of buzz in neuroeducation circles these days. In October 2019 a study regarding the Arrowsmith cognitive training program was published in the peer reviewed journal: Learning.

The study is the first publication of fMRI-based studies that have been taking place over the past several years. There are many more studies that are still awaiting publication, but we now have our first official observations of why the Arrowsmith Program has been so effective since its development in the late 1970’s.

The results are very positive and they demonstrate that the Arrowsmith Program can have a profound positive impact on the ability to learn. It confirms what practitioners have known for decades—the Arrowsmith Program can fundamentally improve the ability to learn.

fMRI research confirms the Arrowsmith Program can effectively strengthen weak neurological functions that are thought to underlie diagnosis such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, processing disorders and ADHD. The brain scan studies allow researchers to observe why students who complete the Arrowsmith have such profound life changing experiences.

Decades of Independent Studies

This is the first fMRI-based study to be peer reviewed and published. However, the Arrowsmith Program has a long history of research and independent studies spanning 3 decades. Studies have shown that completing the Arrowsmith Program can increase cognitive abilities by more than 30%. Studies also show that students in the Arrowsmith Program experience a reduction in depression and anxiety, increases in academic and social abilities, and they require little or no learning support after the program is complete.

New Phase of Research

The Arrowsmith Program, based in Canada, has recently announced a global research initiative aimed at taking a deeper look into the program that is available in 100+ schools in 10 countries. This research initiative includes projects in Canada, USA, Spain and Eastern Europe. It is truly an exciting time in the field of neuro-education. Long-held notions that learning disabilities are untreatable are beginning to unravel. As we deepen our understanding of the brain and ideas about neuroscience become more accepted, options for people who suffer from learning disabilities will become even more effective and widely available. A future where specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and ADHD, are fully treatable is now on the horizon.

How to Prepare your Child for College or University

Are you curious about how to prepare your child for college? If so, you’ve come to the right place. The expectations and requirements of college students of today, is much different from previous generations. Students today are under tremendous pressure as they prepare for college. They study under a competitive education system and their expectations to learn and their workload only seem to be increasing.

We’ve put together the top 5 ways for children to prepare for college so that you have the resources to help your child prepare for a successful college education.


#1- Cognitive Training (A.K.A. “Brain Training”) To Prepare Your Child for College


By far, the most effective way to prepare your child is cognitive training exercises. It is much different from traditional studying or learning. Cognitive training aims to maintain or improve a particular aspect of cognitive functioning (e.g. attention, memory, maths abilities) through structured and guided practice carried out individually or in a group.

Rather than studying, your child would be strengthening and rewiring their brain to prepare them for college and give them a competitive advantage over their peers that have not undergone cognitive training. Cognitive training is not a “magic pill”, and students will need to work hard to get maximum benefit, but the improvement in cognitive abilities is always worth it.

So how can you get your child in cognitive training? There are a number of companies and mobile apps that offer cognitive training or “brain training” programs, but how do you know which one to choose, and how to use it effectively?

Confident Brains offer the Study Plus+ online afterschool program for students who are trying to prepare for college, and beyond. The cognitive exercises used in Study Plus+ have been scientifically proven to improve cognitive functioning. 76% of Study Plus+ students reported that they were more prepared for college. Additionally, 81% of Study Plus+ students reported having a greater capacity to memorize information. You can learn more about this student results by clicking here.

Are you interested in Study Plus+ for your child? Contact us today, and we’ll help your child get started on their cognitive training journey.

Train the Brain

A student brain training being observed by his classmates.

#2- Have Your Child Practice Time Management

As the saying goes, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. Children often don’t learn about the importance of time management until it’s too late. Not having the correct time management skills can lead you to failure before you’ve even started college. Have your child practice time management in a way that they find engaging. Perhaps you could have them manage their own schedule for a week (including school, afterschool activities, chores, etc.) , or if they want to have a weekend hangout with a friend, they have to plan out the activities that they would like to do.

Starting the practice of time management at a young age can lead to huge advantages that will help them manage their personal and academic lives in college successfully.

If you have a teenager, or younger child, with a mobile phone, you can have them utilize free helpful time management apps like Google Calendar, Apple Calendar or similar.


#3- Teach Them To Follow Their Passions

One of the most difficult things about preparing for college is choosing what to study. Pressure from friends, family and society can influence what we choose to study. Additionally, often times students don’t take the time or go through the necessary self-reflection process to choose what they would like to pursue academically.

So how can you help your child with this? At a young age (as young as possible), foster a mindset in your child where they feel comfortable to dream big and follow their passions. As a parent, this may also take some self-reflection to allow your child to follow their dreams. However, doing so will open up the door for a wonderful relationship.

Students that choose an area of study they are genuinely interested in, have a much higher chance of success in college and future employment.


#4- Teach Them How to Take Notes

When it comes to taking notes, a little practice goes a long way. College is about becoming knowledgable in your future career, by learning from experts in that particular field. The notes that you take in class are fundamental to a student’s success, not only in academics but for their future careers, as well.

Check out this awesome post from College Info Geek on how to take better notes, where he lays out the 6 Best Note-Taking Systems.


#5- Prepare Them To Do Lots Of Reading

As you are preparing your child for college, you can expect that when they do reach college, they will be required to read a lot – probably more than you or they will think. Some college instructors will expect you to complete a reading assignment frequently. Your child will also need to be prepared to read large amounts of information to “cram” and prepare for exams.

It’s important to ensure that your child has the correct reading abilities, early on. If your child struggles with reading or learning, we do have cognitive training programs designed for students with learning difficulties. Check out this page, or contact us for more information.

Eddie – Our Symbol Relations Superstar

On the last day of his Brain Training Summer Camp, Eddie, age 9, woke up and declared to his mother, Michele, that he was going to master the next level of the Symbol Relations exercise. Michele was encouraging but cautious. She’d watched her son make big gains over the last six weeks, but she could see her son was tired, and she worried this goal might be out of his reach. She didn’t want him to be disappointed. “I said, ‘Well mate, that’s a great thing to work for. I’m really proud of you but it’s our last day.” But Eddie set off for camp determined, focused, and confident, a marked difference from pre-Arrowsmith Eddie.

He was 4 and a half and heading into kindergarten when Michele noticed that he struggled to pick up simple concepts like the alphabet. In contrast, his younger brother by two years was learning at the same rate. To help Eddie cope with school, Michele started doing lots of phonics and extra learning exercises. That worked for a while but by the time Eddie was 6 and in reception she started to think, “Yikes, we’re working really really hard and it’s coming so much easier to the other children. We’re just putting in so much effort.” Michele talked to Eddie’s teacher and decided to get him assessed. Eddie’s parents are lamb farmers in rural Australia, so they traveled three and a half hours into the nearest big city to see an educational psychologist who told them Eddie was showing early signs of dyslexia.

"Let's do this!"

Eddie Farley, age 9, arrives to Phuket, Thailand to start his cognitive training with Confident Brains.

His school was supportive but they couldn’t offer a lot of extra resources, so Michele and her husband worked really hard to learn how to help their son. “We spent the next two years doing so much extra tuition at home and at school. We would go over his maths in the morning just to give him a head’s up as to what he would be doing. He might have 10 spelling words to do and he’d get really upset about them so I’d always ask the teacher for them on Friday night so we could have the weekend to get a few more practices in. It wouldn’t really make any difference but you feel like you’re doing something. We were doing so much just to get through the regular day of school… just to get him to stay there. He was just scraping by… not even really scraping by. If we didn’t do it, we just knew the situation would be much, much worse.”

By Year 2, it got worse. As school expectations increased, Eddie’s response was to zone out and stare off into space. “He just found school very very overwhelming. I think he probably found life overwhelming full stop,” remembers Michele. “We were thinking, crikey, we don’t have any more cards up our sleeves. We couldn’t think of what else we could be doing to change this scenario. My husband would say to me – you know he goes to school until he’s 18, you’re going to have to keep this up for a while. This is going to be a tough road. We’re only still grasping those basics and life gets harder…” Michele started to wonder if they just had to accept Eddie’s limitations, but she kept hoping some answer would turn up. Cue Arrowsmith.

Eddie’s father heard about the Arrowsmith Program on a podcast. He and Michele were intrigued but didn’t know how they’d manage to access the program in rural Australia, let alone fly to Canada for six weeks. They got in touch with the Toronto school and eventually learned about the Motor Symbol Sequencing Remote Program, which was introduced in 2017. They didn’t hesitate. “Sign us up! We want a piece of this!” recalls Michele, laughing. Arrowsmith sent over the material and Eddie started one hour of work a day, six days a week with a teacher in Canada. It was hard going but they started seeing changes early on.

Reading was one of the first big improvements. “He would even struggle to use his own finger to go across the page so I would use my finger to help him track,” says Michele. “But after a few months, he said, ‘Mum, I don’t need your finger!’ And he just started reading with no finger or anything and he hasn’t used any prompts to read ever since. He can just read a book perfectly. It is amazing!”

Another Level Bites the Dust

Eddie Farley, masters another level of his Arrowsmith training with Confident Brains.

It’s taken longer to see changes in Eddie’s writing, which was illegible to everyone, including Eddie. “He’d write in one continuous stream as the ideas came into his head,” said Michele. “He’d get halfway on one word and start writing the next word so there was no possible way anybody could make sense.” Michele is noticeably relieved when she explains that now, “While it’s not textbook perfect, it’s now clear, the right size, and it just looks like writing! We can all read it!” Eddie’s also remembering spelling words and spelling rules. He doesn’t fight homework anymore. “What parent doesn’t love that?” she exclaims.

While the whole family was excited about these changes, they were also aware that Motor Symbol Sequencing was only one of the many Arrowsmith exercises that could help Eddie. They had been looking at finding a way to go to Canada for the intensive program when they heard about the opening of the Phuket Campus in Thailand, much closer to home. Once again, Eddie’s parents didn’t hesitate; they signed him up for the 2019 Brain Training Summer Camp, which focused on Symbol Relations, and planned a family vacation. Eddie was excited but nervous. From doing the remote program, he knew it was going to be hard work. Students are in the class six hours a day, five days a week.

The instructors told Michele she would probably see changes in Eddie halfway through the program. “They were right,” says Michele, with a smile on her face. She recounts how Eddie’s reading transformed. “Before, Ed would just read, he wouldn’t really enjoy the story that much.” During the camp, that shifted dramatically. “He’d start giggling through the page, and he’d go, ‘Mum, stop I just want to tell you about this part of the story’ and there’d be a funny joke or there would be something amusing and he’d want to share it with us. To hear my child really comprehending and enjoying the reading process was really really special. And then the last three weeks he just read a book nearly every night.”

Michele also noticed Eddie having much more mature conversations with the family, and navigating complex restaurant menus that would have stumped him before. One night at a restaurant, they saw another camp student and his mom. “Normally, I would talk to his friends for him and he would just stand there beside me. I would have to say, Eddie, there’s so and so, make sure you look them in the eye, say hello, maybe you could ask them about so and so…” This time, without prompting, Eddie stopped and said, “Hey, your spaghetti looks really nice. Have a nice evening tonight.” As they walked out of the restaurant, Eddie looked at Michele and said, “MOM, that’s clocks!” Michele was floored. “He was totally aware that he had a whole new ability to relate to somebody. He would have never done that before. That was just amazing. And if you want nothing else for your children, the ability to be able to communicate and have relationships – that’s the only thing that matters.”

But on his last day of camp, all that mattered for Eddie was mastering another level of Symbol Relations. After Michele said goodbye for the morning he went into overdrive. With literally minutes left to spare, he completed 5 sets of his work within mastery criteria and shot up out of his chair, arms raised in joy. As he lined up to leave the classroom for lunch, Eddie was so excited he was shaking. When Michele and his brother came into view, Eddie ran towards them, shouting out that he had mastered. They met in a teary, happy group hug. “That just shows, not only does this change areas of their brain, but it teaches them so many skills – persistence, determination – that are so important for everybody. That feeling of empowerment and achievement was nearly as good as the brain training.”

Race to the Finish Line

Eddie Farley, fights hard to master one final level of Symbol Relations on his last day of cognitive training with Confident Brains.

Reflecting back, Michele sees another benefit to her Confident Brains Arrowsmith experience. “When you have a child that has a difficulty, you’re so used to advocating for and explaining your child all the time. And that was just the most amazing thing about Robert and LJ and Matt and the staff – I didn’t have to feel like I had to do anything. It was just the most fabulous school experience and clearly, Eddie picked up on that as well. Everything couldn’t have been any more different from home and yet we felt so happy, confident, reassured. You could see all the kids felt that too. They felt supported. They were all doing something new and different. They all had a chance to start fresh in a supportive environment and that was incredible.”

Eddie went back to Australia with the confidence of a superhero and is continuing with the remote program. Michele says the changes just keep on coming. She and her husband end most days sharing a story about something Eddie did that he wouldn’t have done before; how he spoke to someone or how he understood a joke or really concentrated while doing something. Michele tears up when she explains, “They might look like subtle changes but they’re actually enormous changes. I think all parents look forward and think – how is your child going to be when they’re an adult? Will they have respectful relationships? Will they be able to find a partner and have good friends? Raise their own children and hold down a job that they love? And I really had those doubts about Ed. I really was worried that wouldn’t be possible for him. It [Arrowsmith] has totally changed Eddie’s life. I no longer sit at home and think any of these things. I can just see that his life is on a totally different path to what it was. It’s phenomenal.”


Eddie Farley masters a difficult level of Symbol Relations on his last day of his Brain Training Summer Camp and celebrates with his mother and younger brother.

Michele is often contacted by other parents who are considering Arrowsmith. Her advice: “The first thing to do is to educate yourself and understand neuroplasticity and the science behind it. When you get a good grasp of that, and you do believe in that science, then you have a clearer pathway forward.” But Michele is also frank about the reality of learning disabilities. “Your child has a disability that they can’t grow out of, they can’t change, unless you want to do something about it. Anything that gives me a direction forward, that gives me an opportunity, where the science sounds plausible, that makes common sense to me, that has many reputable different people supporting these views – why wouldn’t you give it a go?”

Michele and Eddie were very much looking forward to returning to Phuket for camp this summer, but with those plans derailed by the coronavirus pandemic, Eddie will be joining the new At-Home Cognitive Intensive Program online. According to Michele, Eddie would prefer to do the program in person but he is “excited to catch up with his Thailand teachers, which is a beautiful complement to the teaching staff and Confident Brains.”

Oasis International School

OIS offers an American educational program staffed by U.S. certified teachers that is created to be academically challenging, integrated with cutting-edge technology, and centered in developing character in our students. Our K4-12 educational program is designed to prepare students for university in the U.S. and other English speaking nations around the world. Whether it be on the rugby field, in the classroom, or on a service trip, we want to see our students integrate our core values of Character, Leadership, and Innovation into their daily lives.

APEX Educate Study Plus +

Study Plus+ is designed to help students and individuals perform better on exams and in the classroom. This online program will benefit students preparing for standardised tests, students preparing for university and students seeking a competitive edge. Daily online training is facilitated by a certified cognitive instructor utilising proprietary technologies.

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