Special Education Services

The ears play the part of sending raw information on for further analysis where, all being well, it is eventually deciphered by the hearing centres in our brain. How well the raw information is interpreted by the brain depends on our level of Auditory Processing skills that are primarily developed during the critical periods of language learning, between the ages of 0 to 3 years. This is the period when the brain is most prepared to map information from sounds or spoken words onto its language centres.

People with APD (sometimes referred to as central auditory processing delay CAPD) have difficulty understanding instructions and sustaining attention, particularly in the classroom environment where there is frequently competing background noise.

The reason why they experience difficulties processing information is because the sounds of the English language have not been sufficiently imprinted on the language centres of their brain. While there may be different causes for this, often children have experienced multiple middle-ear infections (including “Glue Ear”) during the period of critical language development of 0 to 4 years old, whether or not these ear infections were recognised at the time.

Despite the prevalence of APD, its symptoms are still frequently misinterpreted as signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a hearing deficit, general learning difficulties, or even depression.

“The study supported the idea that for some children, getting training on just simply processing rapid sounds is a route to becoming much more fluent and capable readers. In addition, activation of the children’s brains fundamentally changed, becoming much more like that of good readers.” – John Gabrieli of Stanford University

Reading and the Link to Processing Speed
“Some children with dyslexia struggle to read because their brain isn’t wired properly to process fast-changing sounds. Sound training via computer exercises literally can rewire the brain, correcting the sound processing problem and improving reading, a new study has found…”– Article in Advance Magazine for Speech and Language Therapists and Audiologists published in 2007 Read the full article >

Indigo Learning programmes can help individuals with Auditory Processing Disorder

Parents may have tried various programmes and tutoring, with limited success and this may be because the intervention is not addressing the underlying processing deficit. It is as though the builders are trying to stabilise the roof before the walls are completely built. It is essential to establish fundamental oral language skills before learning to read and write.

Click here to see how our Fast ForWord programs have helped individuals with Auditory Processing Disorder:

Watch: What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is defined as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that is more frequent or severe than expected for a given level of development. Children with ADHD the inattentive type, is characterised by experiencing difficulty paying attention to details, failure to focus attention and follow through with instructions, impaired ability to organise tasks, misplacing items, becoming easily distracted, and forgetfulness. On the other side, a child with ADHD of the hyperactivity type is characterised by the child’s inability to stay seated in class, increased fidgeting, blurting out answers, talking excessively, interrupting conversations and games, and have difficulty waiting turns.

How Fast ForWord behavioural intervention helps children with ADD/ADHD

The Fast ForWord cognitive training program was developed by neuroscientists to develop the cognitive skills of memory, attention, processing and sequencing. Fast ForWord exercises have been specifically designed to increase production of the neurotransmitters we need to pay attention and learn efficiently.

Click here to see how our Fast ForWord programs have helped individuals with ADHD:

Dr. Martha Burns on Understanding and Treating ADHD

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) need to develop skills in their sensory system (sight, touch, taste and hearing). They require particular support with their auditory (hearing) sensory skills. Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder often have difficulty perceiving the differences in sounds (an auditory processing disorder), and this is a core component of their attention, memory and language difficulties.

The Fast ForWord programs address auditory processing difficulties by slowing sounds to allow children more time to listen and comprehend. A child using Fast ForWord begins to make connections in his or her brain for their underdeveloped language skills (e.g. understanding the difference between big and little). As the child becomes more competent, Fast ForWord increases the level of difficulty by speeding up the sounds towards the rate of natural speech. This helps the child use these skills in everyday situations and provides a basis for expanding on these skills.

“Accessing” Fast ForWord

Fast ForWord software requires a certain level of processing speed and bandwidth to be able to start exercising. Clinicians and scientists are finding that more children than expected on the spectrum have been able to do the Fast ForWord program. This allows them to access the on-ramp of the program and to benefit from the shaping the tiny, incremental steps that the brain requires to be able to change itself. If a child is able to get started, to access, Fast ForWord, the gains outlined in the chart above are indeed possible.

Dr. Michael Merzenich on Autism and Fast ForWord

Dr. Martha Burns on Understanding and Treating Autism

Dyslexia in children and adults is caused by a weakness in one or more of the fundamental cognitive skills required for reading and learning. New research is showing that auditory processing difficulties lie at the heart of Dyslexia. Cognitive skills learning skills  are not fixed. Like muscles, they can be changed, strengthened, if exercised appropriately. This means that dyslexia should no longer be thought of as a permanent diagnosis, although it is a lifetime affliction if not treated.

It is not an issue of intelligence but rather how someone processes information. And not just written information but spoken information as well. And the problems identified in reading can often be reflected in other aspects of life as well.

Watch: What is Dyslexia?

Indigo Learning can help individuals with Dyslexia

Indigo Learning uses Fast ForWord programs to develop the required auditory processing skills. The program identifies the student’s current processing skill level and builds from there, using adaptive exercises that build speed and complexity in tiny incremental steps.

More efficient auditory processing creates the ability to hear the individual sounds inside words more clearly. This improved listening accuracy improves word memory integrity and makes it easier for the brain to make automatic matches to the text when decoding, thereby making reading less exhausting, and a lot faster.
Once a cognitive foundation is in place, our individualised protocol aims to rebuild a student’s reading mechanics. Bad habits are eradicated and the fundamentals of spelling, language structure and vocabulary are revisited as needed.

Our goals are reading fluency, reading comprehension and finally, reading with metacognition. This is the ability to read and think about what you are reading and self-correct as you go. This critical skill cannot even begin to develop until reading is automatic.

The effectiveness of the program has been verified by many studies including Harvard and Stanford Universities.

Click here to see how our Fast ForWord programs have helped individuals with Dyslexia:

“There have been great strides in the field of neuroscience and education in the past few decades. I am very blessed to be involved in this field and cherish the opportunity to be able to work with students of all ages, ranging in abilities. I wholeheartedly believe that this is the future of learning and education. To date I have not come across any neuroscientific programme that offers the range of cognitive intervention that Fast ForWord does and has the scientific evidence to support the efficacy of the programmes. “

– Loren Leclezio, Clinical Director Indigo Learning
Msc (Med) Neuroscience, Ph.D Scholar, Neuroscience, UCT.