Welcome Change

Dear friends of CEC,

Like many of you, we at CEC are excited to begin our winter break next week and we’re particularly looking forward to connecting with friends and family from around the world. We’re also especially happy to know that for Arrowsmith students and families, the winter break often marks an important milestone in their cognitive journey.

CEC advises that the first noticeable changes to a student’s self-confidence and cognitive abilities often occur after three to four months of participation. As a happy coincidence, this time frame coincides perfectly with the holiday season. As families begin to notice that something very special is happening with a student’s development, it’s great to know they will be welcoming cognitive change in the New Year.

For students, parents and teachers who have seen one another almost every day, cognitive change is a gradual process and its effects on a daily basis, whilst poignant, may be subtle. However, for family and friends who’ve known a student intimately for years but don’t see them as regularly as parents and siblings, the changes produced by three to four months of cognitive exercises can be dramatic when reconnecting for the first time.

Often, the first and most evident change is in terms of personality. Many students who live with the symptoms of a learning difficulty suffer regular knocks to their self-esteem, falling behind classmates’ academic progress and insecurity born from a lack of understanding simple things like jokes, movie plots or other people’s feelings. Those who know them well understand their reticence to interact freely is caused by a fear of making mistakes and that shyness is a safety mechanism. So on meeting a student for the first time in a while, who is now noticeably more open, easy going, relaxed, has a broader smile and a newfound confidence to engage in conversation is something that’s impossible to miss.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and close family friends are often pleasantly shocked within a few minutes of meeting the new version of a loved one they already know so well. Moments relayed to me later by beaming parents describing the shaking heads of disbelief and expressions of amazement accompanied by the inevitable question “what have you guys been doing!?”

Please don’t get me wrong, kids are kids and none more so than teenagers. The lure of the digital world is strong and I’m not for one minute suggesting that putting down the electronic device for 5 minutes to chat with grandma is any more popular with an Arrowsmith student than any other young person. But take the time to ask them a few questions and give them the opportunity to express their newfound confidence in family situations and you too may be amazed at what happens. If so, then please be sure to let us know as we’d be delighted to hear about it.

Wishing you and your families all the very best this holiday season,

Hugo Moore