Nice confirmation of the efficacy of Fast ForWord by an auditory processing specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Alice Jarrey
" I have seen firsthand the dramatic improvement that is possible when auditory skills are exercised, strengthened and made conscious"
Here is an extract of her article and the link to her site below.
What do you know about the program called "Fast ForWord" published by the Scientific Learning Corporation in Berkeley California?
Fast ForWord (I am referring to Fast ForWord Language) is a computer-based therapy program that teaches what I have called 'fast listening' elsewhere at this web site (temporal auditory processing). It is very effective for strengthening certain fundamental auditory skills. For children who need this, it can make a critical difference. It is not a cure-all, and once children have this improved foundation, they still need to apply the skills to areas of learning--such as reading. The improved foundation just makes it easier to learn.
As children learn language, they need to hear subtle distinctions in speech sounds, such as the difference between /b/ and /d/. These distinctions may be a short as 40 milliseconds or less, but children who learn language normally are able to tell the difference. However, neuropsychologist Paula Tallal of Rutgers University, found that language-learning disabled children typically need a speech signal more than twice as long in order to discern these subtle distinctions.
Tallal, along with a bicostal team of researchers, used a stretched-out, emphasized speech signal to train language-learning disabled students. After a few weeks of intensive training, they were able to listen effectively to normally-rapid speech and, with cross training at the same time, made great gains in language. The result of this ground breaking work is the Fast ForWord Language program.
Another computer-based tool is Earobics, by Cognitive Concepts. Earobics consists of a range of listening activities that speech and language clinicians may use to good advantage as part of a therapy program. Earobics is not as intensive and does not have the same adaptive training features as Fast ForWord .
During more than two decades of clinical experience, I have seen firsthand the dramatic improvement that is possible when auditory skills are exercised, strengthened and made conscious. I am convinced that effective clinicians have in fact been teaching some 'fast listening' in the course of speech and language therapy. We exaggerate, emphasize and stretch the speech sounds, so that the language-learning impaired child 'gets it--' then fade the extra help until they are hearing normally-rapid speech more accurately.
With the Fast ForWord Language program, researchers Tallal, Merzenich and their teams have taken that art, improved upon it, and turned it into a science.