New Fast ForWord Study on Language Skills

September 14, 2011 by Geoff Nixon

New Fast ForWord Study on Language Skills

Study Shows Fast ForWord Helps Brain Proficiency

A study presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society by Dr. Gail Bedi, from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and 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,  Fast ForWord that helps them acquire critical language skills in just four weeks of training.

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.

“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 building.”

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.”

The results of the first study demonstrated that adaptively training acoustic-processing rates, coupled with phonological and auditory 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.

While this study used a 4 week protocol, Gemm Learning students typically work on 3-4 Fast ForWord programs, including the cognitive series, and the programs for reading, Fast ForWord Reading Levels 1-5.