Over 120 Australian families have trekked across the globe leaving their family, friends, jobs and everything familiar behind to change their children’s lives for the better. Are you hopeful and open minded too?

The Trailblazers celebrates the sheer desperation and courage of Australian parents and the invincible determination of their children who have struggled with learning difficulties all their lives.

This story recounts what it’s like to take a chance on an adventure of a lifetime and fully experience a richer life thanks to unlocking the abilities of a malleable brain.

This book has grown out of a community of passionate, hardworking individuals, and has been created for those among us that have been told all our lives that living with learning difficulties is a life sentence. This book IS for you.

Spearheading Educational Change For Australian Children with Learning Difficulties Through the Canadian Arrowsmith Program

By Howard Eaton, Ed.M
& Antoinette Commins

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About the Book

In 1980 Barbara Arrowsmith Young began her lifelong mission in creating a cognitive capacity changing program for children with Learning Difficulties. Her one room school on Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada was where her efforts to assist young adults and children in accessing their cognitive capacities was born. This process was focused on by Barbara’s passion to change an educational paradigm of seeing learning disabilities as lifelong and was worked at for over 35 years. To this day, in 2017, over Ninety Public and Private Schools worldwide are implementing this program in various parts of the world such as Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, now, all using the Arrowsmith program to better lives every day.

In The Trailblazers, Howard Eaton and Antoinette Commins focus in on Australia and how Twenty-Three different schools from Brisbane to Perth, Melbourne to Sydney all chose to adopt the program and why it was so vitally important to do so. This story is a remarkable one, we journey with these Australian families, who realise that no school in Australia is going to implement the program in time for their child to benefit from and thus decide that Canada is the only choice. These Australian families were truly pioneers in their country, and through their experiences and advocacy helped initiate educational change in their own Homeland. The children and families who benefited from this program upon thier transition back to Australia shared their stories, sufferings and eventually successes with the people around and close to them. Over time, Public and Private schools started taking a serious look at the program as Advocacy groups in Melbourne and South Australia also started to form. The results have been positive and more schools in Australia are now looking at the program for their students with Learning Difficulties.

Howard Eaton and Antoinette Commins bring their unique backgrounds and experiences to the pages of this book. Howard was diagnosed with Severe Dyslexia in 1972 and struggled through school eventually overcoming exceptional obstacles to start his own schools for children with Learning Difficulties. Antoinette Commins was diagnosed with multiple Learning Disablities in 2009-2010 ranging from Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia as well as a Non-Verbal Learning Disability. She journeyed to Vancouver Canada with her family who made many sacrifices so that she could attend the Arrowsmith program. Antoinette made significant progress in her cognitive capacities in just Eighteen months and for a child who was told she would never even pass High School, graduating in the the top 12% of the state, was accepted into the University of Melbourne to further her studies.

Through their own personal experiences and insights into Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, they bring these stories to life. If you are someone interested in Educational Neuroscience, Paradigm Changes, Stories of overcoming obstacles and have an open-mind for Scientific Discovery, then this book is for you.

The Authors

Antoinette Commins is an innately passionate and enthusiastic individual. In 2018 she will be commencing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology at Melbourne University, Australia. Antoinette has always believed that the best learning any individual can acquire is through the life changing experiences life spontaneously yet beautifully throws our way. At one point in her education, Antoinette’s parents were told she may not get through High School.

After completing her Arrowsmith Program at Eaton Arrowsmith School in Vancouver, Canada, Antoinette’s cognitive capacities, self-image, happiness and assurance in her independence sky-rocketed. Upon her return to Australia, Antoinette spoke to advocacy groups, teachers and principals from across Melbourne about her journey and encouraged the implementation of the Arrowsmith program in Australian schools to help change the education system for children like her.

Currently, Antoinette is taking a year off her studies and is working with Eaton Arrowsmith School in Canada. Antoinette enjoys sport and helping people. She boxes on a regular basis and is a ski instructor who spends her free time teaching Skiing and Snowboarding to children.

Howard Eaton, Ed.M., founded Eaton Arrowsmith School (EAS) in both Vancouver and White Rock, British Columbia. These schools have been working with children with learning difficulties for over twelve years starting in 2005.

He also founded Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre that is designed to work with adults with learning difficulties. These educational institutions use the Arrowsmith Program developed by Barbara Arrowsmith Young.

In 2015, Eaton Arrowsmith Academy was started in Redmond, Washington also serving children with learning difficulties.

Howard Eaton is the author of Brain School: Stories of Children with Learning Disabilities and Attention Disorders Who Changed Their Lives By Improving Their Cognitive Functioning.

He has presented at various events and conferences in Canada, United States of America, Australia and New Zealand on topics related to the Arrowsmith Program, Learning Disabilities, and Attention Disorders.

He has worked as a Sessional Instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, teaching courses on Learning Disabilities. He has been a high school and elementary teacher in the United States and Canada, and has trained as an Orton-Gillingham Tutor working at the Kildonan School summer program (Camp Dunnabeck) in Amenia, NY.

Currently, he is also involved in bringing the Arrowsmith Program to the Brain Injury community through co-founding the Watson Centre for Brain Health in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He earned his B.A. in Psychology at the University of British Columbia, and his M.Ed. at Boston University in Special Education along with a Kindergarten to Grade 9 Teaching Certification.

More about Howard Eaton

In Brain School, Howard Eaton explores how, applying the principles of neuroplasticitiy, Barbara Arrowsmith Young developed cognitive remediation exercises, founded the Arrowsmith Program and opened the first Arrowsmith School in Toronto, Ontario over 30 years ago. Mr. Eaton then discusses how difficult it was for him to move from traditional remediation methods for learning disabilities to seeing the new possibilities that are due to the ability of the brain to change itself. The lives of nine children are discussed as they start the Arrowsmith Program and then move on to either private or public schools. More info

This is an AMAZING book!! Reading this book both saved and changed my daughter’s life. Because of this book we enrolled her in an Arrowsmith school in VA. Before we started Arrowsmith my daughter was in a reading program for 4 years without much progress. One night at age 7 she said to me, “Mommy if they could give me the shot they give the animals at the shelter, I would take it. Because maybe if I came back to this life I could read.” That statement scared us. And luckily we found this book and an Arrowsmith school. She is now in her second year of Arrowsmith and reading at grade level. Not only that, she reads chapter books for fun!! This book changed our entire family.

More Reviews

For anyone interested in learning more about the schools and programs developed by Howard Eaton, Ed.M. here are the links:

  • Eaton Arrowsmith School (Vancouver and White Rock, British Columbia)
  • Eaton Arrowsmith Academy (Redmond, Washington)
  • Eaton Cognitive Improvement Centre (Vancouver, British Columbia and Redmond, Washington)


Watson Centre for Brain Health (Arrowsmith Program and Brain Injury Intervention)