Fast ForWord for Acquired Brain Injury and Stroke

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This study involved twelve individuals between the ages of 40 and 78 years who had suffered a stroke with aphasia as a result. The participants received a total of 60 hours of Fast ForWord training for 8 weeks, 90 minutes per day. Participants also received intensive one on one speech therapy for the same amount of time.  They were tested using several measured both before and after the training had taken place.

This study presented mixed results, with some patients showing improvements whilst others did not. With further investigation, the scientists concluded that both the severity and the location of the lesion was a great predictor of whether the treatment would be successful.  More specifically they found that severe-to-moderately impaired patients with lesions restricted to the superior temporal and inferior parietal cortex were seen to improve by 5 to 18% while those with larger lesions that also encompassed perisylvian frontal lobe structures did not improve.’

See the article below featured on Research and Hope

Research and Hope for Stroke Foundation’s review of Fast ForWord programs http://researchandhope.com/fast-forword/

Fast ForWord for Older Adults

A new study led by Professor Elzbieta Szelag in Warsaw, Poland found that elderly subjects who underwent Fast ForWord training improved not only the rate at which they processed auditory information but also in other cognitive areas.

Auditory processing speed involves temporal information processing and a decline in these functions is a factor responsible for the progressive loss of cognitive function in the elderly. Doing auditory processing exercises can, therefore, play an important role in keeping the brain functioning optimally.

Szelag confirms that the results seen in older adults are not only promising but also long-lasting. “Our study showed for the first time significant benefits of temporal training on broad aspects of cognitive function in the elderly. The results were long-lasting, with effects confirmed 18 months after the training”.

The participants were divided into 3 groups:

  1. The first group received Fast ForWord training 5 days per week, 50 minutes per day for 8 weeks.
  2. The second group participated in non-temporal targeted computer games such as Solitaire and the like.
  3. The third group underwent no training.

The participants were tested on their temporal processing ability, attention (sustained attention, divided attention, and alertness) and working memory, before and after the intervention was carried out.

The results

Before training began, no significant differences were found among scores of the three groups. Whilst the results of the participants in groups 2 and 3 remained unchanged, the group who received Fast ForWord training showed improved information processing on a tone task, as well as improvements in some aspects of attention and memory. The groups were tested again 18 months later, and it was found that the Fast ForWord group had retained the benefits of the training.

On the basis of these results, the Laboratory of Neuropsychology has recently initiated an innovative rehabilitation computer program that addresses the improvement of a broad range of cognitive functions in children and adults.

Fast ForWord for Young Adults

Low performing students aged 17-21 years and attending high school in Dallas used Fast ForWord’s computer reading programs and gained two and a half grade levels in reading performance.

The students’ reading skills were tested at the beginning and end of the study using the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). The students were performing on a Grade 7 level before receiving Fast ForWord training. After receiving training the students showed significant improvements in their reading ability and they had also gained about two and a half grade levels in terms of their reading performance.

Fast ForWord for Gifted Students

Students from North Carolina and Tennessee classified as “gifted and talented” significantly improved their phonological awareness and decoding skills. The students were assessed using the Woodcock Diagnostic Reading Battery before and after using the Fast ForWord use computer learning program. The test was designed to assess the abilities and achievements of individuals in the areas of basic reading, reading comprehension, phonological awareness, oral language comprehension and reading aptitude.

More research on Fast ForWord for Gifted and Talented students can be found on the Scientific Learning website.

Fast ForWord and Cochlear Implants

Children who experience a hearing loss for whatever reason during their early years often also develop difficulties related to language and processing of auditory information. This is because the regions of the brain associated with these skills are not used for a period of time. As a result, the sophisticated neural pathways observed in students who are proficient in the language and auditory processing skills still need to be developed by students who experienced hearing loss. Fortunately, according to the principle of brain plasticity, this is not only possible but highly probable with the right intervention methods. A study on the effects of Fast ForWord training on students who had received cochlear implants following a period of hearing loss is described below.

Eleven students aged 4 – 11 years who had recently undergone successful cochlear implants participated in this study. All the students presented with language and auditory processing deficits which could be attributed to their hearing loss. The students were presented with various standardised tests measuring language and auditory processing ability including the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-3), Test of Auditory Perceptual Skills-Revised (TAPS-R), the Token Test for Children, the Assessment of Children’s Language Comprehension (ACLC), the Phonological Awareness Test (PhAT).

The study showed consistent benefits on these 5 standardised measures of language and auditory processing. In addition to these objective measures, parents were asked to complete a 45-item survey of perceived changes in communication skills after training on the Fast ForWord program. An improvement was noted on 83% of the survey items.