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

  • Published on Apr 27, 2013
  • Barbara Arrowsmith-Young is the Creator and Director of Arrowsmith School and Arrowsmith Program, and the author of the international best-selling book The Woman Who Changed Her Brain ( She holds a B.A.Sc. in Child Studies from the University of Guelph, and a Master's degree in School Psychology from the University of Toronto (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). Arrowsmith-Young is recognized as the creator of one of the first practical applications of the principles of neuroplasticity to the treatment of learning disorders. Her program is implemented in 54 schools internationally.
    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Comments • 766

  • 5G will kill us unless we dont stop it

    The only problem with this was her ending statement. She wants a world where schools teach us to strengthen our abilities and become smart independent thinkers. No government wants that, they want obedient workers. They don't want independent thinkers capable of critical thinking. They want you dependent on the failed system that we all live in.

  • Ave Crux
    Ave Crux 7 days ago


  • Madelyn Gates
    Madelyn Gates 8 days ago

    Bravo Barbara..u did it..u changed ur exciting!! I pray ur vision comes to fruation in our lifetime. .🐝🐳🌝

  • Gerald Martin
    Gerald Martin 16 days ago +1

    The courage, will and determination this lady has is awesome. KUDOS to you.
    (Makes me especially happy because I obtained my BA at the U of Guelph.)

  • Myra Harrell Fleming
    Myra Harrell Fleming 16 days ago

    This is exciting news. Kudos to her struggle and courage to conquer challenge in thinking.

  • Ole Lindell
    Ole Lindell 18 days ago

    You can Google Study Tecknology, Have a nice future. Best Wishes Ole

  • Joyful Murray
    Joyful Murray 20 days ago

    Awesome,inspiring and hope giving.

  • Rico Camacho
    Rico Camacho 23 days ago

    She is describing me. I have many of the same symptoms.

  • Lenard Durand
    Lenard Durand 24 days ago

    Hope is often all that people are clinging to and the cruel words of - sometimes professionals - of: " with it!" are not helping anyone. Your message brings hope and hope is where all good starts.Thank you for a brilliant presentation.

  • terri Snyder
    terri Snyder 25 days ago +1

    Fantastic presentation. Thank you for sharing.

  • Charlene Alderman
    Charlene Alderman 28 days ago

    Most fascinating speech. Really makes you think. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention.

  • Trapper
    Trapper Month ago

    How did she have a friend, while she did not understand relationships? How did she learned anything from her father, and how did she study psychology, while she was unable to understand concepts and anything abstract?? I wish it was true, but it doesn't sound like it is.

  • bhram
    bhram Month ago

    Why is it that TEDx speakers only tell the WHAT and never the HOW !!!
    THAT is what i hate about such talks and they are a time waste !
    Come to the point and explain neuroplasticity . Enough of telling your struggles in tedX !!!

  • Linda Rosenthal
    Linda Rosenthal Month ago

    Great info. Thanks.

  • Michael B
    Michael B Month ago

    Welcome to living with ADHD! School was and still is a place of harm. But, like this women, in the end we are stronger!

  • Bad Habits
    Bad Habits Month ago

    what a beautiful woman!

  • M Tanner
    M Tanner Month ago

    While her story was interesting, in the end it is an advertisement for her school/program, rather than a talk to share her ideas--the purpose of Ted Talks. Plasticity is not a new concept--butbmsybe four years ago, more so. "I created this exercise and this one, but you have to purchase my program/attend my school to access my knowledge" is of no benefit to the listener. I'm surprised this talk was accepted as-is. An insight into the thought process that led her to approach brain development in her unique way, that led to her profound changes, should have been required.

  • Sally Kaley
    Sally Kaley Month ago +9

    This is so me...still fighting...
    thank you...I will be 66 this year 2019.

  • John Klimek
    John Klimek Month ago

    This was heart-touching. Thank you for this. I believe this and I am happy it is here and there are countless people who know this.

  • Sheena Couture
    Sheena Couture Month ago

    how do we help kids who are not motivated to improve? I work with many special need children and some show great progress following my programs and others will not engage no matter what motivation is given. They are are either combative or uninterested in cognitive exercises even if I include their favourite things. Anyone have advice?

  • Lizzie Lane
    Lizzie Lane Month ago

    Your findings are fascinating . Thankyou Barbara

  • Agneta Persson
    Agneta Persson Month ago

    Barbara arrowsmith Young

  • Agneta Persson
    Agneta Persson Month ago

    Barbara arrowsmith

  • Paul Ianni
    Paul Ianni Month ago +4

    This is an inspirational video, Barbara discovered the plasticity and power of her brain and turned her life around. I was also a slow learner but nothing like what Barbara went through. My turning point came when I discovered how powerful our brains are and how they can be moulded through brain plasticity.
    My learning problem was nothing compared to my anxiety and panic attack problem. My anxiety and panic attacks almost had me beat. Over my lifetime I had moulded my brain into a negative fearful brain. When I discovered that I could reshape it into a positive brain that could turn around my panic and anxiety I did.
    Now Im very pleased with my level of intelligence and I am over the moon with not having panic attacks, and the anxiety is 99% gone. And now I love my brain, I treat my brain with love and respect. Which is something I didn't do in the old anxiety and panic days.
    Thanks Barbara , cheers from Paul Ianni

  • Lynda Faye
    Lynda Faye Month ago

    What a great SINCERE and HONEST speaker and "teacher". Bless her heart-took allot of SELF-ESTEME AND CONFIDENCE to get out and tell others of her experiences. She reminds me of my friend Karen, whom, because of her poor eyesight, her parents put her into a school for the (then referred to as) Retarded-i.e., handicapped! Karen persevered, and by high school was playing classical piano with two microscopes planted in front of her eyes! Goggles we called them! And she became a CHAMPION CHESS PLAYER competing with all the top players in Hollywood-and held it, for years! What part of Barbara's brain WAS questioning and self-conscious enough to persevere-Kudos Barbara! What a sweetheart of a speaker you've become! I shall also think of Barbara whenever I relay the story (again-told it many times), of the taxi i driver, who was listening to his GPS advice, pulls into an exit he's told was an entrance! I KNEW the "entrance" the "next right" was NOT an entrance- as I could easily picture it in MY mind-and saved a couple of lives that night! (They're still trying to fix that GPS lady!) Barbara gives new meaning to "Think FOR yourself", I'd say, and she's speaking it so eloquently too! May God Bless you Barbara-and give you the energy and OPPORTUNITY to explain YOUR story to many many others! YOU GO GIRL! I am WONDERING, If you aren't ALSO involving yourself in some "natural, preventative health" advise too? Did your DIET play a part in your experiences at all ? I'd love to hear that lecture! Thank you Barbara!

  • Amy Kel
    Amy Kel Month ago +3

    This video helped me rise out of my bed easier this morning. I too have been noticing a decline in my memory and mental processing time from depression and anxiety. I try to keep doing things within environments that keep me intellectually enriched but I don't see an improvement. I have heard of the theory of neuroplasticity but have never heard of any personal stories about how someone was able to improve their cogitive functioning, until now. I feel more hopeful and so would like to plug my brain away to the exersizes that will strengthen my individualized cognitive needs. But like I said, what I was doing before was not working? Any suggestions that actually works for people in my shoes?? The arrowsmith school looks like it is just for kids

  • Wander Women
    Wander Women 2 months ago

    Wow this is soo cool! I never heard about this! I want to know more now

    INDERVIR HUNDAL 2 months ago

    stimuli changes your brain - grow - I didn't know that

  • Barrett Haynes
    Barrett Haynes 2 months ago

    The Neural-Nova is coming .

  • Madhu Premchandra
    Madhu Premchandra 2 months ago

    I have short memory due to which people are taking enormous benefits in office as well as in personal life. The relative of no use to us always haunt as and demotivate and suppress in life because of short memory.

    DAILY UFC HIGHLIGHTS 2 months ago

    "Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."

  • Michael Mallal
    Michael Mallal 2 months ago +1

    Amazing story. I felt like I had concrete poured into my brain until I recovered from Still's Disease.

  • Agneta Persson
    Agneta Persson 2 months ago

    Love to her your story of life! I have just begin training my brain with DNRS and after only two months I already can Do things I couldent before!!! I am changing my brain! It can be done!

  • Janice Faye Hardesty
    Janice Faye Hardesty 2 months ago


  • pinsolomons
    pinsolomons 2 months ago

    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.

  • Loreal L.
    Loreal L. 2 months ago


  • pa777billy
    pa777billy 2 months ago

    GOOSE BUMPS !!! YEH !!!

  • Hillary Anderson
    Hillary Anderson 3 months ago

    This is a wonderful talk. I am currently working on rewiring my brain through a process called Dynamic Neural Retraining System, based on the work of Annie Hopper. Like Ms. Arrowsmith-Young, Annie studied, read, and developed herself the strategies to re-wire her brain while dealing with a significant brain impairment. It is sad to me to read some of the comments where people see Ms. Arrowsmith-Young as withholding when she does attempt to tell people how to do something it took her years of hard work and research to develop during an 18 min. TED talk. Rather than focusing on the hope she extends they resent not being passively FED the answers. Instead of complaining about her presentation, go read her book, look for a brain changing program. There are ones like Annie Hopper's that you can do at home through the use of CDs. Yes, you will have to put some skin in the game. You will need to spend some money and then devote the time, energy and commitment it takes to change your brain but you CAN do it!

  • david perez
    david perez 3 months ago

    Your dad sounds like mine

  • Annet Dengeri
    Annet Dengeri 3 months ago

    I have been told the same for my 5yr old son and i will not stop trying for his best. thanks

  • Mary Adamson
    Mary Adamson 3 months ago +1

    I admire your tenacity and persoference. How awesome you are!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom. 😊

  • Raskolnikov Samsa
    Raskolnikov Samsa 3 months ago

    Really touched my heart. I suffer from depression and wish to use the concept of neuroplasticity to change my brain.

  • Thomas Mulroney
    Thomas Mulroney 3 months ago

    Of no use without the exercises.

  • Athena Athena
    Athena Athena 4 months ago

    What an incredible woman, person, overcomer I am speechless as to how amazing you are Barbara Aarowsmith -Young!! I learned a lifetime of explanations in this video you have shared with us and me personally.. Thank you beyond words, beyond dyslexia, beyond learning "disabilities" Thank you soo much.. Time has always been an issue and I suppose as long as were here on earth it will be lol The human brain what a beautiful entity, creation potential limitless!! Thank you... God bless all your efforts to educate and communicate new ways to harness and conquer and improve our brains hence living a much more functional life! Grateful that you decided to be transparent with all of us even about your most sensitive past learning and educational struggles.. Thank you for sharing that there IS hope, you were never alone after all and they did NOT define you !!

  • Kellie Drayton
    Kellie Drayton 5 months ago +1

    You need to work with neuroscientists and connect theory with practice. You have done something worth spreading

  • Narendra Daga
    Narendra Daga 5 months ago


  • Christina
    Christina 5 months ago

    The way she describes her early thinking has a lot of over lap with common characteristics of people exposed to alcohol in the womb. Not saying that was her problem, just raising awareness. There's no known safe amount of alcohol consume while pregnant, don't risk it.

  • Cheryl Ann
    Cheryl Ann 5 months ago

    She's a very good presenter.

  • Jane Bacon
    Jane Bacon 5 months ago

    Watch 1.5 speed nice

  • soultrail7
    soultrail7 5 months ago +2

    So how to learn if you have problems learning (which I had my whole life)? Not even a glimpse? C'mon. Am I the only here to feel like I've wasted 14 minutes of my life during which I could learn something important that actually works?

  • Prof Anand shukla SLARC
    Prof Anand shukla SLARC 5 months ago +1

    Excellent Experts changing world in Harmony and Happiness. CEO SLARC Academy Prof Anand Shukla Sims India 91-9990081788, 9350228959, 7836877777
    Thanks Vinesh Lakhaini Estonia Mind Valley.

  • Cynthia C. Castellano
    Cynthia C. Castellano 5 months ago

    I really wish that the speaker would have gone into detail about her strategies. I think more professional developments in school need to educate staff about neuroscience and strategies that students could use in terms of life skills and cognitive exercise. It should be toward all learners and levels in k-12. It’s sad that it’s all about performance and not personal growth per child.

  • Екатерина Антропова

    She is amazing person!I am admire so brave and persistent people!This performance get hope for future

  • goulnaz galieva
    goulnaz galieva 5 months ago

    I read about her story in a brilliant book "The brain that changes itself". Nice to hear it from Miss Arrowsmith herself

  • Peter Music
    Peter Music 6 months ago

    wow, you have tremendous amounts of emotion and love. amazing speech , very touching

  • Rosemary Stevenson
    Rosemary Stevenson 6 months ago

    This is so interesting. As a retired teacher and later lecturer in education l have had to try and change my brain to be able to help my young grandson who is on the autistic spectrum, to shape his brain and also, learn to speak. I am still learning but he is now helping me though he does not speak yet, by wanting to communicate what his needs are to me.

  • Rabab Shalaby
    Rabab Shalaby 6 months ago

    So inspiring👍💓

  • SleeplessinOC
    SleeplessinOC 6 months ago +1

    So you can’t even benefit from her talk and less you attend her school which is in the thousands.

  • Steve C
    Steve C 6 months ago

    My own issues (in first grade) pale in comparison, yet I believed sentenced me to a limited and lonely life. After 50 years of following that incorrect default program, I started to question it. In finding new and True answers, I am regaining the confidence that was long ago lost. My current belief system is reshaping my innermost thoughts toward social connection and success. It has taken me a decade to reach the point where rapid improvement is mine. I believe that my adaptable brain is increasingly on board with realigning itself to my new belief system. Constant fear and worry are giving way to excited exploration of new possibilities. At 11:12 it breaks my heart have lost so very much of my life's potential...and to feel such anger that current understanding is not universally applied. I have no such anger for my childhood 'directors', for they did what they thought best without malice. To ignore better ways is malicious, contemptible, and must be addressed. Thanks for this very inspiring talk.

  • sam john
    sam john 6 months ago

    I have some problem when I studied something it can remember for long and after sometimes it can be remember

  • Mahfuz Ramadan
    Mahfuz Ramadan 6 months ago

    Jesus will set you free belive in him

    • Theresa Geiger
      Theresa Geiger 3 months ago

      You can shape your brain as well as be with Jesus!!

  • Lisa Nicholls
    Lisa Nicholls 6 months ago

    Thank you, wonderful plan and inspiration ☺️

  • khaled mahmoud
    khaled mahmoud 7 months ago +3

    Easily the most useless ted talk I've ever seen. She talks about a process,exercises, a procedure all very vague and not helpful.Most of the other ted talks I watch summarize the main ideas and provides example or real life procedures on what they did.If you want to read the book for those ted talks sure why not always aim for self improvement.This on the other hand leaves me with no idea on how to do what she did.Inspiring story sure useful not really

  • Nursing Learning Channel

    Why does she keep using the word "learnt"?

  • Xactech Ordserv
    Xactech Ordserv 7 months ago

    Wow! "Ellie's world" - selection of healing tapes. So this is the best one.

  • George Skomorowski
    George Skomorowski 7 months ago

    way to gooo

  • Thuý Nguyễn
    Thuý Nguyễn 7 months ago

    She so great

  • Roman Nagel
    Roman Nagel 7 months ago

    Awesome !

  • Princess Jauregui-Hansen

    Amazing woman

  • Thumb Print
    Thumb Print 7 months ago

    A great talk, thank you. Many so-called 'special needs ' children today suffer from the stigma and humiliation of being unable to undertake basic tasks through a lack of cognitive stretch. Many average children however also find maths and clocks challenging.
    I would like to have been given even one example of the exercises she devised - did she have help in devising them? In other words, did she understand the process by which she could repair her brain or did she simply rote learn how to read a clock?
    Did she know that conquering one challenge would have exponential benefits in other cognitive challenges?
    There is a lot more to be known and understood about her recovery process.