Fixing My Brain
Saturday August 21 at 7 pm ET/PT & 10 pm ET/PT on CBC News Network
Fixing My Brain tells the dramatic story of Barbara Arrowsmith, a woman who fixed her own brain, and the journey of three learning-disabled boys who spent a year at her "brain bootcamp" in an effort to change the brain they were born with. The film examines the question: Are we stuck with the brains that we're born with, or is the brain a highly intelligent muscle, able to change itself through specific exercises?
Barbara Arrowsmith was born with a "broken brain". Although her brilliant memory had propelled her through a graduate degree, she still couldn't read a clock, tell right from left, or understand conversations in real time. Exhausted by the stress of hiding her weaknesses, she contemplated suicide. But she was ferociously determined to discover why her brain was "broken".Barbara Arrowsmith.
Credit: Bruce Zinger
With extraordinary diligence, Barbara Arrowsmith fused several different strands of brain science and by using herself as a guinea pig - she fixed her own brain. Putting herself through a "brain boot camp" for twelve hours a day over many months, she used her self-created exercises to stimulate the weak areas of her brain and achieved extraordinary results. Finally, she was able to tell time, understand logic and understand conversations in real time. When Barbara tried to share her success with educators they branded her a charlatan - because at that time, (the late 1970s) people believed that the brain was hard-wired and the brain's abilities could not be changed. So Barbara opened her own school, Arrowsmith School, to help students with learning dysfunctions. Fixing My Brain also follows the courageous journey of three learning-disabled boys as they face the challenges of re-wiring their brains.Group shot of the boys after graduation ceremony.
Credit: Bruce Zinger
"Fixing My Brain challenges our preconceptions of who we are, how we learn and how we teach our children. It examines the exhilarating possibility that we truly can change our destiny by learning how to change the pathways of our brain," says award-winning writer and director Christina Pochmursky.
Barbara Arrowsmith's training system is still the only one of its kind in the world and her role as a visionary leader in education is only now being acknowledged.
Fixing My Brain was directed by Christina Pochmursky and produced by Vanessa Dylyn of Matter of Fact Media (Toronto) in association with CBC Newsworld.