Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions about Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre.

What age are the students?

Students are elementary and high school age. There is also a Young Adult Program for individuals ages 19 to 30 at EAS Victoria. In Vancouver, the Young Adult Program is available only at Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre. This program is designed for young adults that struggled throughout high school and may also be experiencing difficulties either in employment or college/university due to learning disabilities.

What types of students can benefit from the Arrowsmith Program?

Students with specific learning disabilities among those described in the Descriptions of 19 Dysfunctions section of this website. Please also see the Admissions page.

How long is the program?

Most students will require a three to four year program.

What academic subjects and school credits are available?

Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre offers English and Math throughout all grades (Grades 1 to 12). In addition, the English program incorporates Social Study concepts. Students entering the Arrowsmith Program in Grades 9 through 12 meet with administrative staff to decide the best cognitive and academic program to achieve their personal goals, whether that is immediate employment or postsecondary training. It is important to note that the focus of Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre is cognitive remediation of neurodevelopmental weaknesses, and thus the majority of the academic day is spent working on cognitive exercises.

Do students have to repeat grades if they attend Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre?

Students re-entering public or private school prior to the start of Grade 10 do not need to repeat grades. Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre covers curriculum requirements for the most significant subjects such as Math and English. When students attend Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre during their Grade 10, 11 and/or 12 years, planning meetings are conducted to determine the best course of action after completing the Arrowsmith program. This could include Distance Education classes in order to receive credit for courses taken in Grades 10, 11 and 12, or deciding to take the GED or Adult Dogwood after completion of the Arrowsmith program. Additionally, some students and their families may decided to repeat Grade 10 or 11 at public or private school, knowing that the significant cognitive improvements gained at Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre will result in better academic outcomes and more opportunities for postsecondary education. Upon completion of the Arrowsmith Program students may require 1-2 years time to gain experience using their newly strengthened cognitive capacities. Students will now have stronger cognitive capacities but will not have had experience using these newly strengthened areas effectively. Before graduating from the Arrowsmith Program parents and students should be told that students will not necessarily learn all the academic subjects as quickly as their peers, when they first mainstream into a full academic curriculum, as they will not have had as many year experience using the cognitive areas effectively as their peers have had. The same may be the case for social learning. Students with a newly strengthened Artifactual Thinking area may require time and training to learn how to interpret and respond to social situations. To further explain this concept, teachers could compare the Arrowsmith students to new students entering an intermediary dance or music class without having had any prior practice; the new students will not be as proficient as the experienced students as they will not have had the hours or years of practice that the intermediary students have had. However, ultimately, Arrowsmith students will be able to accelerate their learning as they gain experience using their newly strengthened cognitive capacities.

What kind of help will my child need after the Arrowsmith Program?

The Arrowsmith Program works with students who have multiple learning disabilities and academic skills below grade level. While the majority of students do not need help following the completion of the program, some may need extra tutoring to bring the academic skills to grade level given the limited amount of time within the program to address these academic skill deficits.

Is the initial assessment a requirement for all incoming students?

Yes. These tests make it possible to identify specific learning dysfunctions and design individual programs for each student.

What types of tests are used?

The majority of the tests were designed at Arrowsmith School in Toronto and are used to identify levels of strength and weakness in each of the 19 learning areas that are described in the Descriptions of 19 Dysfunctions. Standardized achievement tests are also used to evaluate academic achievement.

Can assessments done elsewhere be used in place of the initial assessment?

While prior assessments are useful in providing background information, the Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre assessment consists of a number of tests and one-to-one assessments that are unique to the Arrowsmith Program.

Research and Program Effectiveness?

The results of recent studies strongly support the Arrowsmith Program as instrumental in changing the developmental course of the majority of children with learning disabilities in this sample.


Please visit the Research page of Arrowsmith Toronto’s website to read the reports referred to below and other studies on the effectiveness of the Arrowsmith Program.

A study prepared by Dr. William A. Lancee, Head of Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, that was funded by the Donner Canadian Foundation and completed in 2005 concluded that all deficit areas identified by the Arrowsmith Program improved as a result of the application of Arrowsmith Program cognitive exercises.

More recently, Arrowsmith Toronto completed a Report on the Effectiveness of the Arrowsmith Program in the Toronto Catholic District School Board which showed that students improve in their rate of acquisition of academic skills as a result of their cognitive improvements.

Program Effectiveness

The study prepared by Dr. William A. Lancee referred to above concluded that all deficit areas identified by the Arrowsmith Program improved as a result of the application of Arrowsmith Program cognitive exercises. Please refer to the full study on the Arrowsmith Toronto website, and in particular the concluding summary for an overview of the effectiveness of the Arrowsmith Program.

Do students maintain their improvements?

Students that have been followed up to 20 years after completion of the program have maintained their cognitive improvements. Once the improvement is in place, the individual maintains this gain by using the cognitive area in everyday functioning.

Is the Arrowsmith Program available elsewhere?

Yes. The Arrowsmith Program is offered in other public and independent schools in Canada and the United States. Please see Arrowsmith in Other Schools.

What is the cost of tuition?

The 2010-11 school year annual fee for enrollment in Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre is $26,650.

Is there a Tax Credit for enrollment at Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre?

Yes, please read the following information regarding the Medical Expense Tax Credit as it applies to the Arrowsmith Program.

The Medical Expense Tax Credit under the Income Tax Act (Canada)

A decision of the Tax Court of Canada that was released on November 21, 2005 has held that the services offered by schools to students enrolled in the Arrowsmith Program will qualify as a medical expense for the purposes of the Medical Expense Tax Credit under the Income Tax Act of Canada. Justice Paris concluded as follows:

“The purpose of the medical expense tax credit provisions, of which subsection 118.2(2) is a part, is to provide tax relief to a person suffering from a medical condition for additional costs associated with treatment of that condition. A travel expense that is incurred in order to obtain treatment which is not available to the taxpayer locally is one such additional cost.

To hold that the services received by the Appellant’s daughter in the Arrowsmith Program were not medical services would, in my view defeat the intention of Parliament, especially in light of the fact that Parliament has recognized the cost of the services themselves as a medical expense. I think it would be unduly restrictive to interpret the term medical services in such a manner as to require that these services be performed by a medical practitioner. As the Federal Court of Appeal stated in Johnston v. The Queen,[3] a provision of the Act “… must not be interpreted so restrictively as to negate or compromise the legislative intent.”

In conclusion, I find that the services provided in the Arrowsmith Program are medical services. The activity undertaken by the participants in the program is a form of neurological therapy designed to treat a medical condition. Such therapy was provided specifically for the purpose of strengthening weaker defective cognitive capacities at the root of the participants’ learning disabilities. According to the uncontradicted evidence led on behalf of the Appellant, the techniques used in the program have a basis in neuroscience, and involve the diagnosis and treatment of the Appellant’s daughter’s disability. As such they are related to the science of medicine and are medical services.”

This decision involved a student who was enrolled in the Arrowsmith Program at Colin Macdonald Community School in Hamilton, Ontario. The family claimed the cost of driving her every day from their home in the town of Simcoe to Hamilton and back, a distance of approximately 80 kilometers each way.

The Canada Revenue Agency allowed the tuition fees as a medical expense under paragraph 118.2(2)(e) of the Income Tax Act, but denied the portion of the claim that related to the travel expense. The family appealed the disallowance of the claim for the travel expense, which may qualify as a medical expense where, as here, the school is located more than 40 kilometres from the family’s home.

The decision has established that the tuition and other eligible expenses incurred by a family whose child is enrolled in the Arrowsmith Program will qualify for the Medical Expense Tax Credit if the other conditions of the Act are met.

This credit, as an example, will result in a tax saving of approximately $3,500 for a two parent family with two children, one of whom is attending Arrowsmith School, and having a combined annual family income of $100,000 based on a claim for a tuition in the amount of $18,750. The actual amount of the tax credit for a particular family may vary depending on the family’s individual financial circumstances. Travel expenses may also be eligible for this credit. It is recommended that all persons applying for the Medical Expense Tax Credit consult with their personal financial advisor.

Parents will need to establish by way of a letter from a qualified medical practitioner that their child has been diagnosed with a learning disability and requires the Arrowsmith Program.

The Medical Expense Tax Credit should be distinguished from the Disability Tax Credit which may be claimed where there is evidence of more severe impairments.

Please refer to the website of the Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons that was appointed in April 2003 by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Revenue to address issues related to tax measures benefiting persons with disabilities and its Report released in December, 2004.

The Medical Expense Tax Credit should also be distinguished from child care expenses, which may be claimed in certain situations for the cost of an after school care program.

Share on Facebook