Fast ForWord: How Does it Change the Brain?


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Fast ForWord software was created by a team of linguists and neuroscientists at the Scientific Learning Company. Research on brain plasticity has proven that repetition and intensive practice produce remarkable changes in the brain. Fast ForWord products develop the cognitive skills essential for learning and reading success. On average, participants can gain one to two years of reading skills in 4 to 12 weeks of regular, consistent use. The products help bring participants to proficiency quickly by simultaneously building the cognitive skills of memory, attention, processing rate, and sequencing, along with the foundational reading skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

The secret to Fast ForWord's success is that the auditory signal is slowed down. The consonants and vowels are presented at a rate that is much slower than normal. We can't do this with our human voice. It can only be done with computer technology. Once the person is successful, the rate is increased slightly, so that the person gradually works toward a normal auditory signal. Fast ForWord is unique in offering this powerful intervention.

The software is not for sale in stores. It requires the supervision of a trained professional such as a speech-language pathologist, psychologist or reading specialist. Anna Krueger at Neuroplan Treatment Services is one of the few online professionals offering a package of services which includes assessment, treatment and consultation, all from the convenience of your own home.

Check out Anna's website at

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  • Fast ForWord is not sold in stores. You can’t buy it on the Internet. It is actually a language therapy program that is available through speech-language pathologists, psychologists and other reading specialists. It was invented by neuroscientists, based on astonishing results obtained in an experiment with poor readers many years ago. You can go to the Scientific Learning Website and read about it.
  • The language problems that many children struggle with are not always obvious to strangers. But parents and teachers can usually tell when things aren’t right . Do you recognize any of these problems in a child you know?
  • Or these? Teachers are especially attuned to language problems because they see the impacts on other academic areas. They know that a child who can’t follow what’s going on in class -- or can’t participate -- is going to have academic problems in other subjects. Particularly in the early elementary years, when most classroom instruction depends on spoken words, children with language problems tend to fall behind and not build the foundation they need in later years. For a child with language problems, math gets harder when you have story problems. Science gets harder when you have to read an article from the library. Any subject gets harder when you’re expected to give a presentation in class.
  • At Scientific Learning, we believe the literacy gap can be addressed by leveraging some key scientific discoveries on how the brain learns. As you can see, some of the most notable magazines have written important articles on how brain science can inform learning.
  • If children are having success working independently, the coach is till nearby.
  • Many sounds of the language, especially consonants, are produced very quickly - they last less than 1/12th of the second each." For example, how many sounds in the word 'splashed"? “Six" but that word only lasts 1/4 of a second long. You know how hard it is to figure out all the sounds when you are trying to learn a foreign language. It is difficult to hear every sound inside of a word even for adults who know one language well.
  • This illustration shows how subtle the differences are between /ba/ and /da/ for example. The part of the speech that tells us which sound we are hearing is just 40 millisectons (40 hundredths - or about 1/12th of a second).
  • Here is a picture that may help you visualize what these products are trying to accomplish. For a child with a language problem, similar sounds may not be processed with enough distinction. As you can see at the top, they can seem to overlap. We saw with the voice prints why this might be the case. If a child is not processing sounds efficiently enough, they may be missing out on the critical information that makes these two syllables different. If that’s the case, these two syllables might sound just about the same, or they might sound different, but inconsistently. By acoustically modifying the speech sounds, slowing them down and selectively emphasizing them, they are made more distinctive. They give the child a clearer signal, a better “example” on which to practice. In the most processed state, the distinctive characteristics of each sound are emphasized.
  • As a child learns to recognize the sound or word in that way, the products gradually introduce less processed versions of the sound, so that the child can “practice” — and learn — his or her way toward understanding and following normal speech sounds… this is what they experience every day in school and on the playground. The products are building up representations in the brain (neural pathways) for phonemes that were not learned well early in infancy These phonemes were not learned either because the person was not initially exposed to them or because they could not distinguish the acoustics well enough to set up distinct representations for each phoneme in the language.
  • Notice that the child is using listening to get the right answer. There are no written words in Fast ForWord Language.
  • Neuroscience research has proven that brain exercises focused on M emory, A ttention, P rocessing Rate and S equencing coupled with research-based instruction accelerates learning.
  • Innovative Learning: “Brain Fitness” exercises takes advantage of Brain Plasticity research by exercising the parts of the brain that contribute to learning – Memory, Attention, Processing Rate and Sequencing Brain Fitness: “Brain Fitness” is something that every child can benefit from – especially those who are below grade level or who require remedial or Special Education resources Improves Test Scores : Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant products have been proven to improve reading test scores on standardized tests for users who follow the prescribed protocols Evidence of improved learning outcomes following the application of neuroscience theories may be found in the 200+ studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of Fast ForWord programs. Populations impacted include English language learners, struggling readers and special education students, as well as students performing at grade level and above.
  • Fast ForWord: How Does it Change the Brain?

    1. 1. Fast ForWord How Does it Change the Brain? Anna E. Krueger, Certified Speech-Language Pathologist Director of Neuroplan Treatment Services ®
    2. 2. Fast ForWord is software that changes the brain. It strengthens the brain skills needed for listening, speaking, reading and writing.
    3. 3. Who needs Fast ForWord? Fast ForWord can help people who… • Misunderstand what they hear • Request that information be repeated • Give slow or delayed responses • Use only a few descriptive words when speaking • Seem reluctant to engage in conversations • Have difficulty reconstructing events in the appropriate order
    4. 4. Who needs Fast ForWord? Fast ForWord can help people who… • Have difficulty remembering/following oral instructions • Have difficulty with ambiguous language or idioms • Have difficulty with spelling and writing in English • Have difficulty passing SAT exams • Have difficulty finding employment because of limited English-language skills
    5. 5. We inherit a wiring diagram for our brain. Some brains are less efficient at learning.
    6. 6. Events that Damage the Brain can also make the Brain Less Efficient at Learning • During Pregnancy – Drugs, smoking, toxemia, diseases – Exposure to radiation, toxins – Prematurity – Complicated delivery • After Birth – Brain injury – Toxins from the environment or the intestinal process – Ear infections – Poor nutrition – Allergies – Stroke, Neurological Disease
    7. 7. We know that people who can process speech sounds quickly can learn quickly and easily.
    8. 8. Some People Can’t Process Sounds Quickly • Can’t process the sounds of language well • Confusion between similar sounds: “shoe, chew, Sue, zoo, two, do” • Poor ability to understand directions and sustain attention • Poor ability to link sounds to letters, resulting in reading impairments
    9. 9. Categorization of Speech Sounds Starts During Infancy and Results in a Brain Map
    10. 10. Acquired and Inherited Problems Interfere with Auditory Mapping in the Brain • Genetics: Inherited “wiring diagram” is disorganized. • Transient hearing loss because of allergies and congestion makes it hard to analyze and remember sounds. • Neuro-immune disorders result in reduced blood flow to the temporal lobe. • Toxins, injuries, diseases and aging impair brain function.
    11. 11. The Result The brain map for the sounds of the language is disorganized and inefficient.
    12. 12. Research has shown us that the brain can repair and improve.
    13. 13. . Fast ForWord starts with English-language listening games that are similar to the listening that a healthy infant does in learning a first language.
    14. 14. Children using Fast ForWord may need an adult facilitator to help them get started.
    15. 15. Children Quickly Become Independent in Using Fast ForWord
    16. 16. How does Fast ForWord Change the Brain? By repairing brain-based perceptual deficits, Fast ForWord treatment results in an organized, efficient brain map for the speech sounds of language.
    17. 17. In research studies, children with poor auditory processing couldn’t hear the difference between BA and DA. Consonants 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 0 40 250 Frequency(Hz) /ba/ /da/ Time (msec) 0 40 250
    18. 18. Normal speech is too fast for some people. The consonants are only 40 msec. Consonants 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 0 40 250 Frequency(Hz) /ba/ /da/ Time (msec) 0 40 250
    19. 19. Researchers discovered that stretching the consonants to 80 msec... Time (msec) Consonants 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 0 80 250 Frequency(Hz) /ba/ /da/ 0 80 250
    20. 20. ...Resulted in Success! • Children with poor auditory processing could discriminate speech sounds successfully when computer technology was used to slow down the consonants. • We can’t do this with the human voice. • Fast ForWord is the only software that offers this powerful intervention.
    21. 21. Fast ForWord uses Slow Sounds that are Easier to Detect Natural sounds can be confused Computer technology was used to create distinct sounds that can’t be confused. ba da ba da ba da
    22. 22. Learners succeed with Slow Sounds and then succeed with Faster Sounds and progress toward more natural language. Fast ForWord clients begin with stretched out sounds ba da ba da ba da
    23. 23. Processing Rate Improves The games all move from a slow rate to a natural speech rate
    24. 24. Memory Improves Which acorn said BA? Which one said DA?
    25. 25. Discrimination of Words Improves they – day shack - tack
    26. 26. Sequencing of Sounds Improves What did you hear first? Next?
    27. 27. The ability to hear syllable stress improves.
    28. 28. Did you notice that the meaning changes when you change the intonation?
    29. 29. Social Skills Improve After treatment with Fast ForWord, it is easier to understand jokes, sarcasm and double meanings. These improvements often result in better peer relationships.
    30. 30. Attention Improves Swing the paddle when you hear the word.
    31. 31. Fast ForWord Creates Improvements in Memory, Attention, Processing Rate and Sequencing
    32. 32. Proven “Brain Fitness” tool • Effective – This software has positively impacted the lives of over 2 million learners worldwide. • Efficient - Using Fast ForWord, participants from K to post-secondary levels have realized achievement gains of one to two years in as little as 4-12 weeks. • Enduring - Evidence of improved and sustained learning outcomes following the application of neuroscience theories may be found in the 200+ studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of Fast ForWord programs.
    33. 33. Fit Brains and the Optimal Learning Equation Intensive treatment can take various forms. Most participants can finish one program in 30 hours. • 12 weeks, five times a week for 30 min • 12 weeks, three times a week for 50 min
    34. 34. Thank you for watching! Please contact me if you have any questions. Use my website to book a phone call or free consult. Anna Krueger Director of Neuroplan Treatment Services Certified Speech-Language Pathologist