Testimonials: Children With Autism

How our programs have made a difference in the lives of children with autism

“He has experienced dramatic gains in his oral language abilities … simply amazing results, with language scores increasing from what we consider to be low average for him (31st percentile two years ago) to now high average levels (86th percentile of peers his own age). We actually knew that his language skills were immediately improving during the Fast Forword program, but improvements were confirmed during more formal testing conducted privately (almost five months ago now).

“Also, where there was no progress made in his reading a year ago before the program, our son has progressed significantly during this past school year. He has improved his reading level by a little more than one whole grade, and he is currently reading on grade level. Story recall and understanding directions were also significantly impacted.

“We see the results of the program and we can show that it has contributed significantly to his overall success. We cannot say enough about Gemm Learning and the Fast Forword program but we can say from experience that it has been a life-changing experience for our child and we will be forever grateful.” (Parent of 4th grader, ASD with auditory processing disorder)
Autism treatment details

“He is so much more engaged and attentive; he is more confident both at home and school. His autism impacts his expressive language and now that is so much better. Vocabulary also. His reading fluency is now much improved. It’s all wonderful.”

“After losing interest in reading in 2nd or 3rd grade, I am very happy to report that he is reading for fun again! I believe that your program helped him achieve this milestone event! Thanks for your Fast ForWord program as it worked with his brain to help retrain his pathways and improve his skill levels. Autistic children face many challenges in every day life. Anything that I can do as a parent to help better equip him to face these challenges is worth it. Thanks, again.” (5th grader)

“We are seeing all kinds of gains now. His focus is so much better, he is taking his time over tasks and is less impulsive. We are also noticing he is asking more questions and has a better, more direct interaction with people. He is a much more confident and better behaved little boy and we think your program is what made the difference. So, we could not be more pleased.” (1st grader)
How Fast ForWord helps autism students

“Your program has made a tremendous difference for my autistic daughter especially in her spoken language. She banters with the best of them now!”

“My husband and I are so pleased. Whatever you have planned for him after this program, consider us signed up for! The difference from last year is tremendous, and we’re grateful.”

Communication Skills

Dreaming over a book“Despite a diagnosis of autism and severe learning difficulties, word decoding was never a major struggle for my daughter to learn. However, even aged 17 and after numerous special interventions and reading programs, her communication skills were below her chronological age.

“Through research, I found out about Fast ForWord and made it possible for my daughter to work on the program from the convenience of our own home. It was easy to set up and user friendly. The results were pretty interesting, and became encouraging within a few weeks of starting the program.

“I am a believer in the fact that the program stimulated creativity. My daughter started experimenting with different sounds on her keyboard, listening to different music, started drawing the characters from the activities and even told us she was going to make her own Fast ForWord!

“Comprehension and communication also improved; my daughter started asking for the first time in her life “what did you say?” and began asking the meaning of some words that she read or heard.

An emotional moment for me was when she said to me spontaneously “bless you” after she heard me sneezing; a short interaction, that most of us take for granted. It was a result of her new ability to distinguish sounds and respond accordingly. Her improvements in reading comprehension were a bonus that came along with her progress in the autism program.

“She definitely achieved the most results in the least amount of time!”

A Story About Twins with Autism

William and Francis are 12 year old twins who had autism symptoms as toddlers. They had all of the classic symptoms: loss of language, erratic, obsessive and compulsive behaviors. Over time with aggressive diet, behavior, sensory and academic assistance, the boys have managed to come close to catching up to their peers. The school system has helped minimally, doing only what was required legally and over the long run, inefficiently and ineffectively. After I got over the shock of their diagnosis, I plunged into research about autism, biology and brain function, and over time was attempting to teach the boys multiple executive brain functions via trial and error, since I knew that was what they needed to come down the home stretch to average functionality to survive in this society.

Amazingly, I stumbled upon Gemm Learning on the Internet. The Gemm Learning website explained how it used programmed games from a company called Scientific Learning, which developed products from years of brain research, including autism studies. These products modify brain function through rudimentary associations of shapes, language sounds, colors and word sequences, building in complexity as skills are mastered. In other words these products re map or reprogram the internal electrochemical processes of the brain necessary for normal or typical brain function and development. For those children whose neurology has been damaged, like kids with autism or learning disabilities, for whatever reason, this brain re mapping is analogous to putting a splint on a broken bone and then providing appropriate physical therapy to get the limb functioning properly again.

After I got the boys working on the games, within three weeks I could see improvement. The improvement was not manifested yet in their academics, but rather in their generalized behaviors that normal children display as toddlers. The boys could follow three-step instructions without prompting. Of course, since the guys are at the threshold of puberty, some of the behaviors associated with pre-teens were becoming increasingly more frequent. It became very important for me to discern when they were vacillating about executing requests because of normal preteen recalcitrance or lack of ability to intellectually sort out the instructions prior to execution. Their ability to process words, when each focused on the word sequences, actually was increasingly becoming more rapid and precise. And when I followed the guidance from the Gemm Learning Tutor on how to assist the boys in mastering their programmed tasks, their abilities would quickly generalize into multiple areas.

It was as if the programmed games were like a pebble thrown into a pond, and the ripples generated were the generalized intellectual and behavioral results, eventually being integrated into their regular thought and behavior processes. For example, I could show them elemental parts of an academic skill, like carrying in subtraction, and they would follow through and complete the other parts of the subtraction problem and come up with the difference. Their grasp of elemental concepts and integrating those concepts into more complex aggregate associations has accelerated, and when they concentrate, they get it. Their comprehension of sound sequences and groups of words has accelerated when, of course, they each listen and focus.

There are so many pieces to remedying autism (for I believe that it is possible to help a person live a normal life) that I am always observing their emotional and attentive states, and accommodating for those conditions. But in isolation, when each of the guys is involved with the task or challenge at hand, the speed at which they get it has accelerated. Of course there will always be something, the exception that poses an obstacle, which currently is their maturation into adolescence and the resulting mood swings. Here I have learned that persistence and consistency is the key to helping these guys achieve their potential. I have learned to distinguish personality and mood from ability or inability to do something. And I have also learned to modify my own behavior to adapt to the children’s needs in the moment so that they can continue to improve.

Each of these boys will always have their autism to contend with, just like a person with a broken leg must be careful in doing physically active tasks for the remainder of his/her life. But if these guys can think better and achieve their potential, then their handicap can be just an added dimension to how they view and function in the world rather than an impediment to contributing and surviving in our society.