A Look at Fast ForWord®:
1st Study Confirms Efficacy after 6 months.
[From a company press release: Keuper Public Relations]
Brain's Proficiency Increases, Children with Language-Learning Problems
Acquire Critical Language Skills
A study presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual meeting
by Dr. Gail Bedi, an adjunct faculty member of The Mount Sinai School
of Medicine and the Director of Manhattan Neuropsychology in New York,
found that children with language problems maintain gains of, on average,
1.5 to 2 years in overall language skills after six months following
the conclusion of an innovative neuroscience-based training program
that helps them acquire critical language skills in just four weeks.
This is the first study to look at the long-term effectiveness of
the neuroscience-based training program developed by Dr. Michael Merzenich
and Dr. William Jenkins of the University of California at San Francisco
(UCSF), and Dr. Paula Tallal and Dr. Steve Miller of Rutgers University.
Their work has contributed to a better understanding of brain plasticity,
which is the brain's ability to adapt its processes to create new
forms of processing, and the neurobiological bases of learning disorders.
It is estimated that up to 40 percent of all children have difficulty
understanding oral language, breaking down words, hearing or saying
words accurately, or matching the letters in words to the sounds.
These oral language skills are critical to learning to read and becoming
a better reader.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD), children who are most at-risk for reading failure are those
who enter school with deficiencies in oral language comprehension.
"A child who does not recognize and process word sounds accurately
will not be able to make the right association between letter representations
and sounds," said Dr. Reid Lyon, Chief, Child Development and Behavior
Branch of the NICHD.
In the study, Dr. Gail Bedi, a Neuropsychologist and certified Special
Education teacher, reassessed the receptive language, speech discrimination,
and auditory temporal integration thresholds of children who had received
the neuroscience-based training program at both six weeks and six
months after training was concluded. The two treatment groups studied
-- eight children in the modified speech group and nine children in
the natural speech group -- were matched for age, ability to understand
language, and non-verbal IQ. Each group went through a battery of
tests, including the Goldman Fristoe Woodcock Test of Auditory Discrimination
(GFW) and the Token Test for Children. Children who received specialized
training continued to perform significantly better 6 weeks and 6 months
after training concluded.
"The study provides further support for the efficacy of this innovative
program," said Dr. Bedi. "It also suggests that children can maintain
their gains made after completing four weeks of oral language skill
According to Dr. Bedi, these are critical findings for professionals
and teachers working with children with language problems. "An extensive
search of the literature reveals that very few, if any, long-term
efficacy studies exist for other approaches and therapies."
In creating their neuroscience-based training program, the team of
UCSF and Rutgers scientists believed that if a computer algorithm
could be developed to extend and differentially amplify the rapidly
changing acoustic cues within ongoing speech, children with language-based
learning difficulties could process speech and language better.
The scientists developed computer games designed to adaptively change
the time between the acoustic cues within various types of oral language
stimuli, as well as listening exercises designed to explicitly train
phonological discrimination and language comprehension using acoustically
modified speech. They then conducted two laboratory studies with children
with language-based learning difficulties, the results of which were
published in the January 1996, issue of the peer-reviewed journal
Science. In each study, children were trained with the acoustically
modified speech and adaptive computer games 2 hours a day, 5 days
a week for 4 weeks.
The results of the first study demonstrated that adaptively training
acoustic-processing rates, coupled with phonological and language
processing training with acoustically modified language sounds, resulted
in dramatic improvement in an individual's ability to understand spoken
language, phonological processing abilities, and language comprehension
abilities. On average, children who used the training gained 1.5 to
2 years in overall language skills in the four-week period.
The second study replicated the results of study one, but in this
study a treatment control group was added, who received the same training
regime, but using natural, not modified language sounds. Improvement
made by the modified-speech training group in the rate of acoustic
processing, speech discrimination and language comprehension was significantly
greater than that made by the natural speech group that received essentially
the same training, but with natural, unmodified language sounds.