Fast ForWord: A Brain Workout
There is a revolution happening today. Neuroscience and technology are beginning to reform educational techniques by specifically targeting key learning centers of the brain. Using brain imaging techniques scientists can identify the areas and neural pathways employed by successful readers. The best discovery is that we can now build stronger and more efficient pathways to help the struggling readers.
What is Fast ForWord?
Fast ForWord is a computer based program that can strengthen the auditory pathways in the brain, dramatically increasing their capacity to learn. Children that have completed the program are able to pay closer attention, absorb information faster, and remember what they are taught. Fast ForWord not only works on language and reading, but also develops cognitive skills, such as memory, attention, processing, and sequencing. Fast ForWord sends each student, with specific protocol for grades K-12, on a differentiated learning path based on age and assessment results. It then continues to adapt to the learner as they progress through the program.
Based on more than 30 years of clinical research, the Fast ForWord program accelerates learning for students across a wide spectrum of ages and abilities, including those working at, above or below grade level, by applying proven research on how the brain learns. By building cognitive skills in the areas of Memory, Attention, Processing, and Sequencing, students who have completed the program have demonstrated achievement gains of up to two years in as little as three months and maintain an accelerated rate of learning much after the programs end.
How do we learn to read? The development of reading skills begins with the baby hearing stories and nursery rhymes. The nursery rhymes prepare the brain for the sound structure and later language, which will build into phonemic awareness. 80 % of instruction is oral. Clear and sharp sound differentiation is crucial for brain sound development and the comprehension of written word. An efficient reading-ready brain coordinates sound to language, language to reading, and reading to comprehension.
How does the reading brain work? Reading is a complex process. Just like an orchestra, different areas of our brain coordinate sounds and rhythm to maximize our ability to decode information. The temporal lobe is the area of the brain responsible for sound discrimination. Misperception of phonemes can completely change the meaning of the words or sentences.
The difference in consonants in syllables “ba” and “da” is a few milliseconds, and is crucial to differentiating “bash” from “dash”. Children that have problems in this area will struggle with phonological awareness. The frontal lobe is responsible for speech production, reading fluency, grammatical usage, and comprehension of grammar. Children with frontal lobe deficiencies will have difficulties with prefixes, suffixes, and complex grammatical sentences. The angular gyrus is an important reading integrator. It is the hub; the area of the brain that converts visual input into comprehension. If this area of the brain is not well developed, a child may not be able to link the letters C-A-T to spell or read the word, even though they may have used it many times. None of these areas work in isolation. The brain acts as a network, so that when you strengthen one area, it improves the entire network.
Using Fast ForWord cross-trains all areas of the brain. Just like a muscle, brain fitness starts with frequency and intensity. Continuous and repetitive practice strengthens the brain. Adaptivity keeps the brain engaged in learning. Carefully escalating test difficulty maintains the success rate that is rewarding and challenging at the same time. Simultaneous development of the cognitive skills strengthens the development of auditory and language reading skills. They cannot be developed in isolation, not unlike the multiple senses that are used in riding a bicycle. Fast ForWord research base of over 250 scientific studies demonstrates unprecedented results in improving the auditory pathways and influencing children worldwide.
As pediatric audiologists, we often encounter parents that are frustrated by barriers their children face in a variety of developmental domains. Children arrive at our office, suspected of hearing loss due to certain behaviors that they demonstrate that are typical of a hearing impaired child, only to have us discover that they are normal hearing children. They frequently present with learning disabilities, attention deficits, speech/language/articulation deficits, auditory processing disorders, and difficulty achieving grade level reading skills.
Does your child Have history of early otitis media (ear infections or fluid in the ears)?
- Have early speech and/or developmental delays?
- Have family history of “late talkers”?
- Have trouble learning to read?
- Have trouble with understanding what they read?
- Get distracted easily?
- Have trouble following complex directions?
- Get frustrated with school?
- Need questions repeated?
- Have trouble finding the right word?
- Get confused in noisy places?
- Have trouble paying attention?
- Have trouble sounding out words?
- Give slow or delayed responses?
- Have trouble telling you the events of his/her school day?
- Have trouble understanding long sentences?
- Have trouble reading, understanding, or spelling?
- Lack self-confidence?