Current advances in neuro-science and technology now make it possible to end dyslexia quickly and with lasting results. No longer does anyone have to suffer with the stigma of being dyslexic and miss out on opportunities as a result of reading difficulties.

Fast ForWord Is A High Gain Program

The Nevada Department of Education and The Leadership and Learning Center. (March, 2010). Innovation and Remediation Interim Report: A Collaborative Project between The Nevada Department of Education and The Leadership and Learning Center. Englewood, Colorado. Source

The Nevada Department of Education commissioned the Colorado-based Leadership and Learning Center to conduct an in-depth analysis of programs purchased with Nevada State Bill 185 funds. The report concludes that the Fast ForWord products increased student reading achievement by an average of 22.2 percentage points. This was the greatest increase of all the programs reviewed, and qualified Fast ForWord as a “High-Gain Program.”

Struggling first and second graders improve early reading skills by 1 year and 1 month

Marion County Public Schools, Florida

Students in sixth through ninth grades were evaluated with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The students were all FCAT Reading Level 1 or 2, and most were eligible for Exceptional Student Education services. In order for students to meet their Annual Learning Gains (ALG), a component of a school’s grade, the Florida DOE sets criteria. To make ALG, students in this study needed to improve their achievement level, or improve their Developmental Scale Score, by more than the state determined expected gain, which varies by grade. Sixty percent of the students made their ALG with an actual improvement of 173 points, which was statistically greater than the expected gain of 115 points that was set by the state. Source 1, Source 2

Hamilton County Department of Education, TN

Hardy Elementary is a school where 99% of the students come from economically-disadvantaged families. A group of first and second graders took part in this study (average grade level of 1.2). At the beginning of the study, the students’ reading skills, as measured by Reading Progress Indicator, were at the beginning kindergarten level. Four months later, after using the Fast ForWord products, the students’ skills had improved by more than one year and were at the early first grade level. Source

Improved reading achievement for struggling middle and high school students served by ESE Services

How can we be sure this works?

Over 20 years, numerous behavioral and neuro-imaging studies have demonstrated that the foundational auditory processing and language skills known to lead to reading failure are highly modifiable and can be brought into the normal range within months using intensive neuroplasticity-based training exercises, disguised as computer games, inside a set of programs developed by Scientific Learning called Fast ForWord, followed by Reading Assistant.

The changes are relatively fast and enduring when used according to the protocols prescribed, which requires well-trained and motivated program facilitators, ideally SLP’s.

Traditional tools for teaching reading, regardless of how expertly and how often they are applied, WILL NOT WORK for most struggling readers, until the brain’s slow and inconsistent auditory processing system is remediated.

Fast ForWord directly targets this and evidence from Functional MRI studies supports it.

Testimony Before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, United States House of Representatives

The really good news: Science is there for those who are dyslexic. As my colleague, Dr. Sally Shaywitz from Yale University stated last year in her testimony to this committee, ” In dyslexia, science has moved forward at a rapid pace so that we now possess the data to reliably define dyslexia, to know its prevalence, its cognitive basis, its symptoms and remarkably, where it lives in the brain and evidence-based interventions which can turn a sad, struggling child into not only a good reader, but one who sees herself as a student with self-esteem and a fulfilling future.” -Paula Tallal, Ph.D Professor, Center for Human Development, University of California San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Co-Founder and Director, Scientific Learning Corporation Click here to read the full testimony

Fast ForWord®: The Birth of the Neurocognitive Training Revolution

Click here to read the full chapter as published in Changing Brains-Applying Brain Plasticity to Advance and Recover Human Ability. “In 1996, I cofounded Scientific Learning Corporation (SLC) with Drs Michael Merzenich, William Jenkins, and Steve Miller. I coined the term “Cogniceutical” to describe the new type of company we envisioned. SLC was the first company cofounded by academic scientists with the mission of building neurocognitive interventions. Fast ForWord® is the registered trade name of the platform SLC built to translate basic neuroplasticity-based training research into clinical and educational products. Fast ForWord® was the first cognitive neurotherapeutic intervention, the first to be individually adaptive in real time, the first “brain fitness” program that collected data over the Internet, and the first to use computer gaming technologies to change brains and enhance human potential. We included lofty goals in our first business plan for SLC. These included: using neuroplasticity-based training to improve language, literacy, and other academic skills; helping seniors maintain and recover function; helping people learn English as a second language; helping patient populations with neurological or mental disorders. SLC’s first focus became improving language and literacy. Mike, Bill, Steve, and I began this journey together in 1994 with a laboratory-based research study that included seven children. To date, over two million children in 46 countries have used Fast ForWord® products. On any given school day, approximately 60,000 children log in to train on 1 of 10 Fast ForWord Language, Literacy, or Reading programs. We did not know at the time that we were creating what became a “disruptive innovation.” This chapter chronicles this transformational journey.” -Paula Tallal, Ph.D Co-Founder and Director, Scientific Learning Corporation Fast ForWord® grew out of over 25 years of basic and clinical research in two distinct scientific disciplines. One utilized behavioral, electrophysiological, and neuroimaging methods to study individual differences in language development and the etiology of developmental language-based learning disabilities (including specific language impairment (SLI), autism, and dyslexia). The other utilized neurophysiological methods in animals to study neuroplasticity, that is, changes at the cellular level driven by behavioral training techniques. This chapter reviews (1) how these two lines of research were integrated to form the scientific basis of Fast ForWord® (and subsequently its sister product Posit Science Corporation’s Brain Fitness Program®), and (2) the steps taken to translate and instantiate our integrated laboratory research into clinical and classroom interventions that could be scaled up for distribution around the world, while remaining efficient and effective. When we began our collaboration in 1993, the now rapidly growing fields of “cognitive neurotherapeutics” and “neuroeducation” did not exist. The concept of using neuroplasticity-based training to improve “brain fitness” in humans did not exist. Few clinics or schools had computers and fewer still had Internet access. The methods we developed which subsequently were the basis of over 50 patentswere the first to use video gaming technologies with the explicit goal of improving human performance. Over the past 17 years since inception, Scientific Learning Corporation (SLC) has developed a large series of perceptual, cognitive, language, literacy, and early math training exercises, “disguised” as interactive, individually adaptive, computer games, trademarked Fast ForWord®. SLC products, now delivered over the Internet, include a wide variety of individually adaptive assessment and intervention exercises that provide real-time feedback and rewards as well as ongoing, electronic data analysis and detailed reporting to the end user. A sister company, Posit Science Corporation, cofounded by Dr Michael Merzenich, delivers similar products to aging adults and adult patient populations. Posit’s first product, The Brain Fitness Program®, adapted several of the original Fast ForWord® auditory processing, verbal memory, and language comprehension exercises, including the use of acoustically modified speech.

Dyslexia: A widespread issue in need of support

Developmental dyslexia, the most common learning disability, affects approximately 5-10% of the population. It is defined as an unexpected difficulty in learning to read among children and adults who have received access to reasonable reading instruction and otherwise possess adequate intelligence and motivation to learn. Often first indicated in their school years by this pronounced difficulty in learning to read, write and spell, dyslexic children are often devastated by their poor performance. The social costs resulting from low self-esteem and failure to matriculate create enormous social and psychological costs for their families and for the public school system, as well as a large financial burden for the healthcare system and the government. Solutions: At global issue, huge strides have been made internationally in dyslexia treatment with the implementation of interventional non-invasive brain training programs on over 2-million children in over 45 countries. Here in British Columbia, Dr. Ribary who contributed to the translation of these programs, has further collaborated with the BC school system to facilitate the implementation of such an interventional training platform in more than 119 schools across 21 school districts since 2008. “Fast ForWord” is a series of computer-delivered brain fitness exercises designed to produce dramatic language and reading improvements in children by improving memory, attention and processing skills. In addition to measurable gains in language, anecdotal evidence suggests that children who have completed the Fast ForWord Language program are better able to interact with parents, teachers and peers. As a result of this work, positive outcomes have already been seen in the more than 6,000 BC students who have received training, with an overall gain of 0.7-2.0 years in reading-grade level. Read more about Brain Based Interventional Training Programs and BC Study here.

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