The Birth of Neuroplasticity Interventions: A Twenty Year Perspective

Abstract

Fast ForWord® was the first, computer/Internet delivered, neuroplasticity-based training program ever developed to enhance neural performance. It grew out of over 25 years of basic and clinical research in two distinct scientific disciplines.


One utilized behavioral, electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods to study individual differences in language development and the etiology of developmental language-based learning disabilities (including Specific Language Impairment, Autism and Dyslexia).

The other utilized neurophysiological and behavioral methods in animals to study neuroplasticity, that is, changes at the cellular level driven by behavioral training techniques.

This chapter reviews (1) how these two lines of research were integrated to form the scientific basis of Fast ForWord® and (2) the steps taken to translate and instantiate our collaborative laboratory research into clinical and classroom interventionsthat could be scaled up for broad distribution around the world, while remaining efficient, effective and enduring. In 1996, Scientific Learning Corporation (SLC) was co-founded by four research scientists (Paula Tallal, Michael Merzenich, William Jenkins and Steve Miller).

To date, nearly three million children in 55 countries have received Fast ForWord® interventions. On any given school day approximately 100,000 children log in to train on one of twelve Fast ForWord®Language, Literacy or Reading programs. More recently, Fast ForWord® language and reading programs are being used increasingly as an effective method for improving English as a second language (ESL), including success for ESL children whose first language is non-alphabetic.

Introduction

When we began our collaboration in 1993, the now rapidly growing fields of “cognitive neurotherapeutics” and “neuroeducation” did not exist, nor did the concept of using neuroplasticity-based training to improve “brain fitness”. The methods we developed, and subsequently were the basis of over 50 patents, were the first to use video gaming technologies with the explicit goal of improving human performance.

Research on Language Development and Disorders

The most basic unit of any language is the phoneme, the smallest unit of sound that can change the meaning of a word. For alphabetic languages, in order to learn how to read and become a proficient reader the child must become aware that words can be segmented into smaller units of sound (phonemes) and it is these sounds that the letters represent. This is referred to as phonological awareness. Phonemes are the basic building blocks for spoken language, as well as for alphabetic written languages.

Research on Neuroplasticity-Based Training

Neurophysiologists have mapped the features of the sensory world at the single cell level. This research has shown that within each sensory modality the features that represent the physical world come to be mapped at the cellular level in a highly organized fashion.

The Birth of Fast ForWord®: Translating Theory into Practice

Considering the amount of speech directed to the infant, it is easy to understand how important speech is in shaping the auditory cortex during critical periods of human development.

Designing Neuroplasticity-Based Training Games

For our first study we designed and developed a series of verbal training exercises ranging from speech discrimination to grammatical comprehension, disguised as “games”. Some of these games were implemented on computers, while trained professionals using tape-recorded stimuli presented others.

The First Laboratory Studies: Rutgers Summer Camps 1994–1995

Our initial laboratory studies were conducted with children who each met the criteria for language learning impairment (LLI). Two groups matched on age, IQ and language skills were quasi-randomly assigned to receive the same language intervention program.

Scaling Up: The “Neurotherapeutic Revolution”

  • Fast ForWord® Language v1
  • First Multi-site Clinical Field Trial (1996–1997)
It is one thing to obtain results in well-controlled studies in a research laboratory under the direct supervision of skilled research scientists. It is quite another to demonstrate that efficacy can be achieve in “real-world” clinics and classrooms where children most commonly receive intervention. Soon after founding Scientific Learning Corporation (SLC) our first goal was to convert the games used in our laboratory studies into a fully computerized training program (Fast ForWord® Language v1), and then to conduct large-scale field trials in clinical and educational settings to assess its “real-world” efficacy.

Independent Agency Evaluations of Fast ForWord®

Studies on the effectiveness of educational and/or clinical interventions are inherently difficult, in part because of the many skill sets and multidisciplinary collaborations required to conduct these studies in “real- world” clinics and school settings. Before introducing a new method, curriculum or product, schools have to answer a practical question: does the new approach leads to better outcomes for their students than whatever intervention strategies they currently have in place? In translating research from the laboratory to classrooms, we have found that most school administrators and curriculum directors are only willing to make important decisions for their school after they have conducted their own, internal, independent study.

Cognitive Neurotherapeutics: The Challenges of Translation

The biggest challenge we have faced along our journey to translate our laboratory research into real world settings has been negotiating the torturous path between the world of our scientific colleagues, as compared to the very different world of K-12 educators and clinicians who make the decisions about whether our products will be offered to the children who could benefit from them. Nowhere have these different worlds collided more directly than when it comes to assessing and reporting the efficacy of Fast ForWord® products.

To Learn more about The Birth of Neuroplasticity Interventions. Download the PDF Article (there is a publishers charge)  Click here

Evidence of Effectiveness – Deep Diving into MySciLEARN Reports


Deep Diving into MyScilearn Reports
Is about deep data and how we are applying Smart Technology to our products for you to understand your students’ progress better.
It is a practical session directed at educators who use Fast ForWord programs and a good overview for those of you who want to see the power of data analysis in teaching.

You should learn:

(1) The Key Indicators to monitor for student success.

(2) The identification of each student’s individual needs.

(3) How to save valuable time by automating the preparation and communication of reports!

What if you could reach every struggling reader at your school with exactly the skills they need at just the right time? What if these students started to improve quickly, were self-motivated, and worked more independently?
Learn how the new version of the evidence-based Fast ForWord reading intervention program will bring a dramatic difference to your students this year, and provide you with one option to meet the needs of multiple student subgroups.

Overview

Title: Training Webinar – Deep Diving into MySciLEARN Reports!

Originally broadcast Date:  Thursday, September 27, 2018

Duration: 1 hour

Speaker Bio

Tom Chapin

Professional Development Manager

Scientific Learning

Fast ForWord language and reading intervention allows educators, parents, and clinical providers to easily track a learner’s progress. MySciLEARN reports and Reading Progress Indicator assessments ensure every learner receives the appropriate guidance and support necessary to become a better reader and better student.

 

MySciLEARN Reports

 

MySciLEARN reports are online data analysis and reporting tools tha

[spacer t track individual learner, classroom, school, and district level performance.

  • Automatically analyzes individual and group learning progress, including diagnostic and prescriptive information, displayed in graphs and tables
  • Offers timely and specific intervention guidance, providing recommendations to maximize the impact of classroom reading instruction and the effectiveness of the Fast ForWord reading intervention program
  • Provides future forecasting with insights into the potential effects Fast ForWord can have on a school district’s performance in as little as 1 year.

Evidence Based Education

Fast ForWord language and reading intervention allows educators, parents, and clinical providers to easily track a learner’s progress. MySciLEARN reports and Reading Progress Indicator assessments ensure every learner receives the appropriate guidance and support necessary to become a better reader and better student.

 

Reading Progress Indicator (RPI)is an online assessment that rapidly measures the effects of the Fast ForWord family of products by evaluating reading performance as students progress from product to product.

RPI Combines with MyScilearn to Provide Valuable Information for Teachers on Each Student

Reading Progress Indicator (RPI) assessments correlate to international recognised normed assessments and help indicate how learners are responding to Fast ForWord.

Quickly assesses four key skill areas: phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Automatically scores assessment and report results for parents, teachers, and administrators.

Provides accurate progress information that correlates to nationally recognised normed assessments.

Automatically generates assessment reports for individuals, groups and schools.

Reading Progress Indicator (RPI) was developed by Scientific Learning and Bookette Software Company (now Pearson plc).

Established psychometric procedures were used to produce a test that is valid, reliable, and unbiased, and to generate nationally-representative norms.

See the results of 23 validation studies
Click here

Reading Progress Indicator provides four assessment levels based on the grade entered for the student:

K-1,
K 2-3,
K 4-6, and
K 7-13+

(Pre-Kindergarten students are not eligible for the assessments).
The assessments are not timed.

 

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WEBINAR: BACK TO SCHOOL WITH THE NEW FAST FORWORD

New Fast ForWord makes your life easier – while getting your students better results?

By the end of this webinar recording you will know the best ways to set up your implementation now so you save time throughout the year.

Attend to learn:

(1) What to expect from the New Fast ForWord,

(2) When to use your guided reading tool, Reading Assistant, to get reading fluency and comprehension results before winter break, and

(3) The tools available at your fingertips to make this year feel…dare we say it…Effortless!

About the Speaker 

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Ben Philpott
Professional Development Specialist K-12
Scientific Learning Corporation

Ben Philpott lives in Tucson Arizona and earned his BA in Communicative Disorders from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).

He has worked as a licenced Speech Pathology Assistant in school, clinic and home settings in Arizona and California. He currently works for Scientific Learning where he consults with teachers on how to implement Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant in their school.

Overview

Title: Back to School with the New Fast ForWord

Originally broadcast Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Duration: 1 hour

Webinar – New Science of Learning for Struggling Readers

Fasr ForWord, Neuron English

 

Fasr ForWord, Neuron English

Webinar – New Science of Learning for Struggling Readers

Presenter: Martha S. Burns, Ph.D.
Date/Time: Monday September 11, 2017, 9pm London UK
Length: 60 minutes
No Charge/Free

Updated with 2017 research, this is a must-see for those interested in how neuroscience is impacting education. See the latest research on how the brain is organized (or not!) for reading, and what’s happening with your struggling students. We’ll show how the science of learning has guided the development of technologies like Fast ForWord to improve the underlying memory, attention, and processing abilities that these students need to catch up, once and for all.

Marty Burns, Reading Assistant

 

 

Train children with autism to become better with emotion recognition and production.

Lets Face It

Train children with autism to become better with emotion recognition and production.

One of our colleagues, Dr. Paula Tallal, has shared a free app with us that some of her colleagues at the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TDLC) have been working for many years to train children with autism to become better with emotion recognition and production.    

For the child on the autism spectrum, LFI! Scrapbook is serious fun! The platform is a powerful educational tool for learning faces and recognizing emotions of the important people in their lives..

The four challenging games are free.

Click Here to Get Your Free App

Lets Face It

 

Click Here to Get Your Free App

Developed for children on the autism spectrum, the player uses the iPad’s built-in camera to take pictures and videos of their friends, family and classmates. The player labels the images and organizes them into personalized albums that provide content for the LFI! games. The app includes four challenging games (Splash, NameGame, Memory and Fuse) that have uniquely themed levels, and even a few hidden tricks!

 

 

Use 4 Key Cognitive Skills to Accelerate English Language Skills

Cognitive Skills for English Language Development

What are Learning MAPS?

Learning Maps are: Memory, Attention, Processing and Sequencing. These are the essential cognitive processes that a student needs for reading and learning.

Cognitive Skills for English Language Development

Neuron English improves cognitive skills using Fast ForWord Software




Examples in Fast ForWord ® products include:

MEMORY:  Improves the ability to retain information both short and long term. This is essential for word recognition, comprehension of complex sentences, and remembering instruction.

ATTENTION: Enhances the ability to focus on multiple tasks and ignore distractions

PROCESSING: Allows you to see, analyze and discriminate images and sounds quickly
enough to discriminate their differences; a prerequisite for phonemic awareness and reading

SEQUENCING: This is a cognitive skill that relies on memory, attention and processing and is essential for phonics, word fluency, reading and oral comprehension. Sequencing places information in a logical order which in turn allows for improved memory attention and processing