“Fast ForWord has fit so seamlessly into our lives. Jamie has had such fantastic improvements over the last 3 months in his communication, attention and enthusiasm. We are really impressed with the results.”
– Jamie’s Mum, Claire
“The changes in Jamie are just phenomenal since using the Fast ForWord program. I had no idea how big the changes would be.”
“Jamie wasn’t able to keep up with the pace of learning in his classroom. It was all too quick for him and he became bored and disruptive.
We knew enough was enough and something had to be done when Jamie started to experience social issues; he was losing friends because his learning standard was below his peers. He felt different and the worst thing was, he thought he was dumb.
It was frustrating because we knew he was a bright kid, but the teachers kept telling us that Jamie’s issues were unfixable and that he’d always fall behind.
We tried tutoring, speech pathology, occupational therapy and dietary changes to name a few but nothing seemed to make much of a difference.
It was such a breath of fresh air to finally be using a program that was addressing the underlying reasons as to why Jamie was struggling at school. We felt a huge weight lifted off our shoulders.
I didn’t expect to be able to see the changes quite so quickly. After only a month, Jamie was communicating so much better; we were amazed by the improvements in his sentence length and structure.
And he’s made an amazing turnaround in other areas too, his teachers can hardly believe it. He’s now reading for fun and understanding what he reads. He’s listening better, remembering more of what he learns and is able to pay attention in class.
We used to have to remind him to get dressed and brush his hair and teeth, but he’s now taking pride in doing these things independently, without prompting.
The Fast ForWord program has been phenomenal for Jamie. It has allowed him to blossom and mature, and I encourage other parents to consider this amazing program for their children.”
“Matilda’s Speech Pathologist recommended we do Fast ForWord to improve her auditory processing and literacy skills. Being able to do something every day to help train the brain is important. I would absolutely recommend this program – it works!.”
-Megan, Matilda’s Mum
At the beginning of last year Matilda started year 2 and she was having trouble listening, so her Speech Pathologist recommended we do Fast ForWord to improve her auditory processing and literacy skills. Being able to do something every day to help train the brain is important and we were keen to retrain Matilda’s brain when it came to processing sounds and words.
Overall it was very easy to use, and straight away we could see the benefits of the program and how it was guiding Matilda to gain confidence and ability to follow instructions.
Matilda enjoyed her 6 months on the program. Sometimes she got a little bit tired but when this happened, we would split exercises up each session. After a little rest between exercises she was keen to get back into it.
Making sure that we were doing the training at a time when Matilda wasn’t feeling stressed was important. I would make sure that Matilda had a rest between school and completing the Fast ForWord exercises. We would wait until I came home from work and then we would get into it together straight away. We would sit together to do the exercises and the routine just become easy.
We have great results. Matilda has always had enthusiasm for learning. Since doing the Fast ForWord program, her overall confidence has improved, and this is something that Matilda’s teachers also noticed during class. Matilda has the confidence in herself to be able to achieve what she wants to.
Matilda’s teacher initially pointed out that she though Matilda would need more guided help when reading and since doing the program she too noticed the improvement in Matilda’s reading fluency and her ability to have a go at reading harder words.
I would absolutely recommend this program – it works!
Megan, Matilda’s Mum
Kylah, 8 years old, Western Australia
“It seems like a really big task in the beginning, but it is amazing to be here at the end of the year of Fast ForWord and see the results!”
In this interview, Kylah’s mum Cara explains why she decided to enrol Kylah in the 3 step reading program, describes their experience and provides tips for other parents.
Why did you consider this program for Kylah?
Kylah was diagnosed with central auditory processing disorder. In year 2, she was noticing that she wasn’t picking things up like her peers and saying, “I just don’t get things like the other kids.” We wanted to get some help and support for her to improve her overall confidence and help with her negative thinking as she had started saying some very negative things which were heartbreaking to hear.
How did you discover Sonic Learning?
We took Kylah to see a Kinesiologist to get some support for her anxiety. The Kinesiologist mentioned that she had seen one of Sonic Learning’s online webinars and suggested it might interest me. I enrolled to watch the webinar “Identifying and helping students with learning difficulties” and I realised that Kylah presented with many of the characteristics discussed in the webinar. It really hit home that yes, there is a difficulty there and we can do something about it. That was very reassuring.
We did the Sonic Learning screening assessment online and the support team contacted us back the very next day. We then went to an Audiologist to confirm that Kylah did in fact have Central Auditory Processing Disorder, then we contacted Sonic Learning and decided to go ahead with the program. After chatting with them we decided to go ahead with the program because we could see that it was going to address Kylah’s difficulties and was very suitable for her.
What was your experience with the Fast ForWord program?
We initially really struggled to decide as to whether to enrol Kylah in a 12 month course. We initially enrolled Kylah for 3 months and we could already see some good progress, so we extended her course as we felt we were going to see even greater benefits over 12 months.
Routine is important! It’s not easy to do the program regularly for a such long period of time but it does get easier if you implement a good training routine. It was difficult at times to keep Kylah’s motivation levels up but we just had to step up and be the parents and say “no, you are doing this.” Things improved and after a while we would just ask Kylah to do her lesson and she would simply go and do it without any argument. It just became a way of life.
How has Kylah benefited from the program?
In the first 3-6 months of training Kylah struggled to see how the program was helping her – like everyone it’s hard to see improvements in yourself and she couldn’t see how her own behaviour had changed.
We definitely saw the changes though. Kylah made great progress. For example, when given instructions she used to just say “huh?” or “wait, what?” We made a point of continuing to point out her improvements in little ways and reinforce to her that the program was helping and encourage her to continue.
In week 10 of term 3 (year 2) we received Kylah’s NAPLAN results and she was sitting in Band 6 for her reading which just blew us away! Even though we don’t put emphasis on NAPLAN, it was great feedback for us to show Kylah how much she had improved in such a short time. I said to Kylah, “this is because you have been doing so well with your Fast ForWord lessons” and she was very excited! So, towards the end of her 12 month course she could really see the benefits of her hard work.
What other changes have you seen?
Kylah is now much more willing to read. She now lays in bed before she falls asleep and just reads.
Kylah previously would say “what” and “huh” and lot and ask for instructions to be clarified or repeated. She is now doing this a lot less.
We have seen a boost in her overall confidence and positivity, and the negative comments that we were hearing earlier have stopped.
What did you like most about the program?
Instant feedback: I like the immediate feedback that Kylah got at the end of each lesson. She could see her progress and we could celebrate her high scores and progress together.
Accessibility: The program is easy for children to navigate. At 8.5 years old Kylah can log on herself and complete her training. I don’t have to prepare it or time it.
Educational and fun: It is great that the program is presented in a game format which helps make it fun, but it also allows the kids to know that it is important and that they are learning.
It seems like a really big task in the beginning, but it is amazing to be here at the end of the year of Fast ForWord and see the results!
Rosie, 9 years old, Western Australia
“Rosie’s teacher at school has attributed her outstanding improvements to the Sonic Learning Fast ForWord program.”
We spoke to Toni, Rosie’s Mum, to learn about her experience with the 3 Step Reading Program over the past 18 months.
Why did you decide to enrol Rosie in this program?
From kindergarten it became noticeable that her working memory and processing speeds were a concern and teachers recommended immediate intervention to help her catch up to her peers. Despite repeated interventions implemented at school and at home, I wasn’t noticing an improvement and Rosie hadn’t moved from the lowest reading group at school. Rosie now has a diagnosis of Dyslexia.
I first heard about Fast ForWord when I read the book “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. I enrolled my older daughter in the program first, and the improvements in her language and listening skills were very noticeable to everyone around her. We saw improvement in her speech, how she constructed sentences and decoding of words which contributed to an improvement in her overall grades.
I have been with Rosie every step of the way to keep her motivation levels up and provide encouragement. It’s been hard work, but it has absolutely been worth it.
What benefits have you seen?
The biggest improvement has been in Rosie’s memory. Rosie is now able to remember her peers’ names and clearly recall events. Her reading is better and her focus, attention, motivation and determination have also improved to the point where she gets up and completes all of the assigned exercises by herself and likes to read independently.
Rosie’s teacher at school has attributed her outstanding improvements to the Sonic Learning Fast ForWord program. Rosie is no longer considered as one of the “special” kids and is no longer in the low reading group. At the start of year 2 Rosie was at a Reading Level 5. 18 months later she is now at Level 21!
Pippa, 5 years old, South Australia We have seen the benefits!
We had a chat with Pippa’s Mum Bernadette about the benefits she has seen from the Fast ForWord Program within the first two months of training and the achievements that Pippa has made.
We had a chat with Pippa’s Mum Bernadette about the benefits she has seen from the Fast ForWord Program within the first two months of training and the achievements that Pippa has made.
What prompted you to look into Fast ForWord?
Pippa was eligible for a mid-year intake and started school June last year. She was really struggling with her reading and trying to sound out words. Her writing was very messy and her concentration levels were low – it was very hard to get her to sit down and do anything which of course didn’t make starting school easy.
I initially thought that starting school might help Pippa improve in these areas however after 12 months of school I hadn’t seen any improvement. She was reading but well behind her peers. After 12 months of school she had only completed 5 levels of reading. I realised that something was not right, so I started googling and the Fast ForWord program came up. I wanted to give Pippa the best opportunity at school, so we signed up.
What results have you seen?
After only 2 months of training on the Fast ForWord program, Pippa’s Reading has improved out of sight! Although Pippa has not been focusing on practising reading on the program, she jumped from a level 5 to a level 13 in reading in just two months. The training that Pippa has been receiving through the program included the foundation skills needed for reading and this has helped her immensely. I realised that she hadn’t grasped these yet but now that she has we have seen a big improvement.
What tips do you have for other parents?
Commitment – fit it in by being determined. Don’t let it fall by the wayside. Although this program has been completed with 2 other children in the house, we were determined to make it work and it has been amazing to see such a huge success.
Do it together – Sitting with Pippa and doing the program together helped a lot to keep her focused. This is time consuming and to start with this required effort because it was hard to keep her on task, but it got easier as she started to show improvement. If we were having a bad concentration day we would split the session up during the day. We made it work for Pippa.
The Fast ForWord program has been very successful for Pippa because of continued commitment and effort. We tried really hard to follow the recommended training protocol. The hard work is worth it – just look at the results!
William, 5 years old, South Australia Advanced Learner
“On top of all the amazing neuroscience that is embedded in the program, a major reward for William is that he learnt to apply himself to his learning and that hard work and perseverance is necessary to achieve results.”
William is 5 years old and recently completed a 3 month Fast ForWord cognitive training program.
Why did you decide to try Fast ForWord?
I first heard about Fast ForWord in the book The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. William doesn’t have a learning disorder and I was very curious to see if this program could still benefit him. I am interested in neuroplasticity and am always looking for ways to boost my son’s learning. William was at the younger end of his Reception/Pre Primary class this year– 4 years old going on 5 – so we wanted to give him a boost to help him accelerate his reading wanted to give him the best start possible to Year 1 next year.
What did you like about the program?
Fun and Engaging: The program provided a different, fun and interactive way for William to learn and improve his reading skills. I sat with William most sessions and was amazed at how quickly you can learn the new skills and tap into what the program is trying to teach.
The exercises are fun and really rewarding, which helped William associate good feelings with learning. I think this is very important for his future learning. The program was a really great way to consolidate and enhance everything that William has been learning in the classroom.
Consistency – The program has quite an intensive protocol of 30 minutes 5 times per week.
We enjoyed this feature and used it as a tool to teach William that persistence and perseverance equals results. William learnt that if he wants to improve a skill, regular practise is important – it can’t be a one-off thing, it takes persistence and determination.
I feel this has also helped him prepare for test environments in later school years. When he answered incorrectly, we used this opportunity to teach him that it’s ok to make mistakes but to not let this distract him – it’s important to not focus on errors but instead keep moving forward.
How did you motivate William to keep him engaged?
William is pretty self-motivated but simply, I just didn’t give him the choice we said “this what you have to do”.
Sitting with him helped keep him focused and motivated. We used the motivation checklist, and this really helped him maintain his motivation as he was really determined to get the rewards we’d set for him.
As a parent you do not need any special skills to sit with your child to help them – just sitting there in a support role to tell them they are doing a good job and help to keep them focused and help re-focus when needed is a huge help to your child.
What results have you seen?
William’s teachers have commented on his motivation and determination to do his best – we feel that the program has helped with this.
Yes, the program was hard work, but hard work is always worth it. On top of all the amazing neuroscience that is embedded in the program, a major reward for William is that he learnt to apply himself to his learning and that hard work and perseverance is necessary to achieve results.
We feel very confident for William as he goes into year one next year.
– Monique, William’s Mum
Asha, 9 years old, Western Australia Auditory Processing Difficulties, memory, reading and spelling
Asha’s Mum recently submitted a Fast ForWord program review explaining why she placed her daughter on the program and the results she achieved.
What prompted you to look into Fast ForWord?
Asha was experiencing academic difficulties across all areas. She had working memory and processing speed difficulties. After she was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), the Audiologist recommended the Fast ForWord program, so we decided to do it.
What results have you seen?
Ultimately the hard work has paid off, because when we went of her parent teacher interview a few weeks ago, before we asked, the teachers commented on how much she’s improved in her spelling and reading comprehension. It was one of those moments where we went “oh, we’ve done the right thing”. Her teachers have commented that there have been dramatic changes in spelling and reading comprehension, but even her Maths is also starting to improve. Each week they do mental maths testing and the results of those have improved too. Her teacher said she’d doing so well with spelling that she’s going to start giving her more words.
Asha’s confidence has increased. Her initial answer to a question is no longer “I don’t know,” she now has a go at answering or comes up with ideas herself. Her friendships at school have improved as well. When they gain confidence in one area it extends to others.
What did you like about the program?
I liked that there were a variety of exercises for my daughter to do. It was hard work and sometimes a bit repetitive but that’s necessary in order to get the gains. The time commitment was significant – 5 days a week for 13 weeks, but with a bit of bribery we got there in the end. Apart from the positive benefits, there were certain games I liked more than others. I liked the comprehension games, it really amazed me how well she did at them. I liked the game where she had to follow instructions because she really struggles with that. Sometimes the American nature of the program meant that there were some words which a bit different from what we usually say, but once I told Asha what they were she was ok.
How did you support your daughter through the program?
We always sat at the computer with Asha for her lesson with the exception of the last couple of weeks. Sitting with her was time consuming but worth it – those words of encouragement we gave her, like “great work, keep going” and “great job, click the next one” – those things made a difference to her motivation.
Sophia, 7 years old, Western Australia Auditory Processing and reading difficulties
We’re thrilled with Sophia’s progress! After only 3 months of Fast ForWord training, she has made huge improvements in her learning, memory, concentration and behaviour. She is a lot more confident now and is showing much greater willingness to try at school and not give up.
Before the program, she was way behind the rest of her class in reading and was only at level 9 but now she’s up to level 24! Something has clicked and we couldn’t be more pleased.
We’ve noticed a huge improvement in her behaviour too – she’s much happier and more positive now whereas before she was very grumpy. Now she feels a sense of accomplishment and is more confident in the classroom. Her teacher says Sophia can concentrate for longer and complete her work on time.
Even though Sophia loved the games, it can be tiring but when you see the great results, it makes it all worthwhile and I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again! I strongly recommend the program to other parents and just wish that more parents and teachers knew about Fast ForWord so other children can benefit from the program like Sophia has.”
Watch Carla’s video interview:
J, 7 years old, Western Australia Reading difficulties
“This week J went up a level in his reading at school and wanted to read all of his reading books for the week in one night! My J never wanted to read or was reluctant to want to try and read 1 book a night. Last night, he even wrote a story with some words spelled correct!
Although this program has been to complete with 2 other small children in the house, it has been amazing to see such a huge change. All the hard work is now showing! Thanks so much. This program has helped to give me so much more information and knowledge about his abilities.” – J’s mother
Harry, 8 years old, Western Australia Struggled with reading and writing
Since finishing the program, Harry’s reading and spelling abilities have improved. He is less frustrated and his confidence and ability to give things a go has increased in relation to his school work. Motivating Harry could be hard at times but Sonic Learning provided lots of ideas and strategies to help him along. It was great being able to do the program at home, seeing the results each week and seeing the success Harry was having with the games. It was a bit like magic – the games seemed so simple but their effects were like miracles!
Joe, 7 years old, Western Australia
If you make the training a priority now, you will reap the rewards for life!
Fiona, Joe’s mum, said “Our expectations of the program were exceeded. When Joe’s teachers told me they have never seen such gains made in spelling and reading by any of their other students before, I had tears of joy in my eyes for days later. Since completing the Fast ForWord program, Joe’s teachers, my husband and myself have noticed significant improvements in Joe. The main changes we have seen in Joe include greater memory, improved attention, increase in processing speed, improved language and literacy skills, much better reading fluency and spelling as well as stronger writing and organizational skills.
This term, Joe was given a merit award ‘for making leaps and bounds in his spelling and reading progress’. He also scored 98% in his latest dictation test when previously he was only averaging around 65%. Within a 9 month period (including 6 months on Fast ForWord), Joe’s spelling has improved by 2 years 1 month and his reading by 1 year 9 months. Joe’s reading has become much more fluent and expressive and he has become excited about reading. Joe is now better focused and is eager to complete the task in front of him. His attitude to learning has improved. He is now proud of his work which is evidenced by how much neater his handwriting has become and his eagerness to show off his completed tasks. We have also noticed subtle improvements in Joe’s language skills in conversation. Family, friends and school teachers have noticed how Joe has become more confident and more willing to give things a go. Joe is now a confident learner. We are very proud of him.
His teachers thanked me for my commitment to improving Joe’s learning but I have to thank Joe for all his efforts and for trying his hardest every session because he knew it was helping his learning. The flexibility of being able to do the program at home was great particularly because Joe has two younger sisters. The support we received from the Sonic Learning team was of a very high standard. I felt confident Sonic Learning understood my son’s learning issues and would be able to help improve his future learning. They were always up to date with Joe’s progress and answered any questions I had. Joe liked trying to beat his previous days score the following day and I liked that the program was driven by him. I felt confident all throughout Joe’s training that we had chosen the right program for our son to assist his future learning abilities. I also liked the one on one time with my son and seeing him recognizing that the effort he was putting into Fast ForWord was paying off in his literacy.”
Joe, 7 years old completed 6 months of Fast ForWord training. After finishing, Joe said “Since doing Fast ForWord I have become much better at spelling, writing and reading. Fast ForWord has helped me a lot at school. I liked all the games but my favourite games were Whalien Match, which helped my memory and Chicken Dog, which helped my spelling”.
Angus, 7 years old, NT Autism Spectrum Disorder
“This program held my son’s interest while we saw a very large improvement with skills.”
Angus has Autism and ADD, his sensory and auditory processing needs as well as being a late talker has made English skills difficult for him to learn. Previously if we gave Angus more then one simple instruction at a time (i.e. please put away your hat, then have a drink of water) Angus would get very frustrated and confused as he couldn’t process all this information at once. Also Angus would often say to us that when we spoke he would hear the words but they were mixed up in his head.
Since doing Fast ForWord Angus is able to listen to and understand 3 step instructions, and no longer complains about words being mixed up in his mind. He does not need as much prompting now as his attention and working memory has improved, allowing him to understand and process tasks more easily.
Previously Angus could not understand the sounds that made up a word, but now he has a much better understanding of these sounds which has resulted in a big increase in the amount of words he can read and the rate at which he reads these words. It also means that his spelling has improved immensely and he is no longer too frustrated by the thought of even trying to spell a word on his own. Fast ForWord has also greatly increased the amount of sight words Angus knows.
This program has seen such a huge increase in Angus’ English skills, as well as in his auditory processing skills that I would certainly recommend this program to other families.”
Leanne, Angus’ Mum
Ethan, 6 years old, South Australia
We are really pleased with Ethan’s progress through Fast ForWord and in fact, we’ve noted some improvement that we’d like to share with you. About 3-4 weeks back, he suddenly spelt some words on route to school and was doing that throughout our 25 mins’ drive to school. That was the start.
Prior to that, we noticed that his sustained auditory attention had improved slightly and has continued to improve as well. A couple of days ago, I played a word game with him; where one of us would say a word and the other would continue with the last sound of that word. He was really engaged with that. We’ve noticed too that he’s paying closer attention to the sounds and is enunciating that better including ending consonants as well. He’s getting better at listening with accuracy too.
Oh yes, one huge improvement noted in school with his level readers: During the course of Fast ForWord, he’s moved two levels up in his readers. We’ve celebrated his achievement and accredited to his brain being changed and worked on through his hard work in attempting the activities in Fast ForWord.
Thank you so much for your correspondence and to the team for keeping us updated about his progress. We have been most pleased and have actually recommended and conducted the demo games to a couple of parents as well.
– Gabriel, Ethan’s Dad
Benjamin, 11 years old, Queensland Struggled with reading
Benjamin’s reading has just come forward amazingly … not even just his improvement, but his will now to read. He had no desire whatsoever to put pen to paper whereas now he’s sat there at work and written little poems … we’re very very happy.
Pierce, 7 years old, Western Australia Auditory Processing Disorder
Since finishing the program Pierce has improved in many ways. He is now very focused and continues on a task until the end, he follows instructions and only needs to be asked once. His teacher reports that his listening, spelling and reading have greatly improved. He really is a different child.
When Pierce started formal schooling I noticed that he was not making the gains that he had the potential for. I was always getting frustrated with him at home too because he wouldn’t follow instructions, yet I knew he wasn’t just being naughty.
He was slowly slipping behind his peers. His teacher said that there was something wrong, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. I investigated APD and took Pierce for a test at Sonic Learning. His results were much worse than I thought they would be.
“It was hard work, but it makes me listen better to my teacher!” Pierce
Aidan, 8 years old, South Australia Asperger's, ADHD and reading difficulties
Before Fast ForWord, Aidan’s reading skills were quite poor and now he is the best reader in his class.
Aidan was diagnosed with Asperger’s just before his 3rd birthday and shortly after with ADHD.
Our Occupational Therapist recommended we try Fast ForWord as a part of his therapy program. We did 5 months of training and with great persistence and by using Minecraft as a daily reward, Aidan was able to work through almost 5 programs in the series!
It is great to see Aidan so proud of himself and his achievements, especially with spelling. He has surpassed many of his peers who are still working on blends whereas he is able to remember and spell tricky words like “treasure” and “science”.
We know there will be more work to do in the coming years but we are very happy with how Fast ForWord has helped Aidan so far.
Leo, 9 years old, South Australia Dyslexia
We are 8 weeks into the program and have already seen some good results.
Leo recently received an achievement award from his school for his creative ideas when writing a narrative. Leo even told me that he is finding it easy to concentrate at school and keep his focus. Each night, we have been reading Harry Potter and after we finish, he has independently started reading ahead. If he comes to a word he doesn’t know, he highlights it for us to discuss later or sometimes he will use a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word.
Angela, Leo’s mother
J (9 years) & H (11 years), South Australia Short term memory, spelling, concentration and motivation
Overall J loved doing the program and was always eager to do it, I saw his confidence grow and I saw his work at school improve and he enjoys school more!
J had poor short term memory and struggled with spelling and the sounds in words and had little confidence in reading. His confidence in his own ability has shone and his teacher and I have noticed improvement in his memory – he got 8/8 for all his spelling tests over the last few months. Some of his problems had been due to not being confident enough to try and spell the word, in this we have seen a great improvement. I listened to Fast ForWord with J and I saw his improvement not only on the graphs but also in his ability to hear the sounds in the words. His reading out loud has improved heaps too. Overall he loved doing the program and was always eager to do it, I saw his confidence grow and I saw his work at school improve and he enjoys school more!
H is in year 5 and his biggest problem was his attention span and the ability to settle down into a routine to get some homework done. When he first started the program I heard continuing complaining about how he didn’t like it and it took to long etc. However by the end of 3 months, he would rush in after school to get his Sonic finished and then his homework! He has learnt how to focus and concentrate, they have noticed it at school too. I am going to miss the 50 mins of peace I got when we first got home from school! I have also noticed the confidence in reading bigger novels to enjoy them instead of just reading the smallest novels to get the teachers off his back, also Sonic really helped him overall in English, especially vocabulary and reading comprehension. Thank You Sonic!
Jacob, 5 years old, Queensland Diagnosed with Autism
Since starting the Fast ForWord program Jacob’s ability to concentrate and process has improved. He is much calmer and is having less frequent meltdowns.
We have been amazed at how well he can now do the games – not only in accuracy but speed! He also is now much kinder to the poor little computer mouse (it doesn’t get thrown down on the table quite as often or as hard).
Jacob has only just started linking the names and sounds of letters and I think the Fast ForWord program is contributing to this. The Fast ForWord program is something that he asks to do every day and although he has the occasional meltdown, he still comes back to do it. Fast ForWord has been the only intervention program that we have started to date, so we give full credit to it. It has provided us with a platform to focus on other interventions such as speech therapy and anger management.
Morohni, 5 years old, Queensland Language delay
Dear Sonic Learning,
Just to keep you informed on the miracle that has happened in Morohni’s life since completing Fast ForWord.
He had great difficulty speaking, and hence writing a sentence was extremely difficult if not impossible. We were very concerned for him and felt that he is a very bright boy but didn’t know why he had so much trouble with the spoken word. He learnt to read without too much difficulty in fact he was a very good reader before he finished grade prep last year but he couldn’t understand what he was able to read and his reading was a good parlour trick nothing more. We decided to try Fast ForWord because it was a hopeful option and we really didn’t know where else to go.
In the past few months since finishing the Fast ForWord program, we have noticed an increased ability of Morohni to understand instructions given to him. He has begun to listen to spoken words with more intensity and increased understanding and interaction with others. He is more able to understand the written word and can now follow simple written instructions. He is able to repeat a simple story into his own words. His maths and English have improved. His receptive language has improved almost impossibly in such a short time. The greatest miracle of all time occurred just a few days ago when he wrote a story at school. He has written stories before, but while he may have understood them, they were unintelligible to everyone else. This story however was complete, understandable and imaginative. He repeated this miracle again just a few days later. Thank you to all of you for the program that has created life for this little boy. You have given him the ability to progress so fast that our heads are still spinning. We will most certainly be back for our second dose some time in the next year. I thought you might like to know you are my heroes.
Kath, Morohni’s grandmother
Cassidy, 9 years old, Queensland Language Delay
Cassidy’s language is severely delayed and probably that of a 2-3 year old. Since beginning the Fast ForWord program, however, she is able to answer questions such as ‘What did you do at school today?’ The answers are very short but, with prompting, we are able to get some information. For example:
Cass: We did cooking. Me: What did you cook? Cass: Cookies Me: How many? Cass: 9 Me: What did they look like? Cass: They were white cookies.
Although it doesn’t sound like much, it is a HUGE change for us.
Cassidy has also sucked her fingers since she was a baby. We spent a lot of time telling her to take her fingers out of her mouth. However, whenever she was watching television, using the computer, sitting in the car etc, the fingers were camped in her mouth. A few weeks ago I noticed that I hadn’t been prompting her to remove her fingers from her mouth for a while. I asked others and we all realised that we hadn’t been saying anything for a few weeks. I’m happy to say that the fingers seemed to have permanently been removed from her mouth. This has only happened since beginning the program.
So having explained more about who Cassidy is, we fully expected her to take much longer on the program than other children, and we have been quite surprised at her progress. Her level of comprehension has also markedly improved and is much higher than we realised.
Nicole, 10 years old, Western Australia Auditory Processing Disorder
Nicole was diagnosed with an Auditory Processing Disorder when she was in Year 3. Her progress at school was behind her peers and I knew she could do better. She completed the Fast ForWord course the following year and her schoolwork is really improving.
Her teachers say she is listening better and she got an A+ in her last school report for her written work!
A follow-up auditory processing test showed excellent results for all skills – including listening in noisy environments, processing speed and memory. I’m so happy with the effort Nicole has put in and what she has achieved using this program.
“If anyone is finding school work hard then they should do this program. It has helped me become smarter and now I find school work easier, and most of the games are fun!” Nicole
James, 9 years old, Western Australia Poor literacy
I doubt any parent would feel good hearing that their child had a learning difficulty. We all felt helpless, so the opportunity to do something constructive was greatly welcomed. Fast ForWord exceeded our expectations, and I would recommend other parents to prioritise this form of therapy, if it is suitable for their child.
James started school in pre-primary full of enthusiasm, a great curiosity and desire to learn. Unfortunately he was the target of antisocial behaviour from some of the other children, which soon became bullying as the children grew older.
When he ‘downed tools’, and stopped working half way through year 2, we assumed it was a reaction to the ongoing battle we were fighting, to stop the actions of one dominating child. Two weeks before entering year 3 he rebelled, and with tears streaming down his face he screamed he would not go back to school! We persuaded him to return, and his new teacher kept him coming back for more of an extremely innovative program, despite the bullying. However, even he could not get James to spell, and do more than the smallest amount of written work.
James’s WALNA (now NAPLAN) test results indicated he was high in maths and reading but much lower in spelling and writing. Fast ForWord was suggested as a way to retrain his brain to process sounds efficiently and improve his literacy skills.
James adored the computer program, but we were stunned when he volunteered to do up to four hours per day during the school holidays, so he could, as he put it, ‘return to school feeling normal’. He started to tackle year 4, enjoying maths in particular, and was even willing to do homework, including language studies, which he had refused before.
He has flourished and now volunteers to stay ahead with homework assignments, and is showing the creativity that he displayed when very young. His spelling is still not good, but it is improving now that he is doing more than the bare minimum of work, and seeking to communicate in different genres.
James is a different child! Of course he still has to give his new classmates time to get used to him, so that he can develop friendships, but now he feels he can do the work, and will produce amazing examples when he feels inspired.
We have no regrets as it was worth every cent spent and more. Just the opportunity to sort out a problem, before James’s education was so severely impaired as to be permanently damaged, was priceless. Everyone at Sonic was extremely helpful and patient, answering questions and sending reports about James’s progress. I wish we had realised what the problem was much earlier, however James’s situation was confusing. For us, Fast ForWord was the miracle we needed. We have our chirpy, imaginative son back, and now we only have to deal with the usual overconfidence or stubbornness of youth.
When asked what he would say to others in his position James replied, “Don’t worry. Sonic will help you. Fast ForWord was great fun to do, and now I can hear and understand. Don’t give up! If I can do it, so can you! School is awesome now! Schoolwork is harder than it would be for an ordinary Year 4, but I can handle it.”
Michael, 10 years old, Queensland
High verbal IQ, but struggled with reading and spelling
Fast ForWord is worth every dollar when you compare it to other options and considering how fast you can actually see a change.
I never thought Michael would read for pleasure – now I can’t get him to stop! Despite having a high verbal IQ, Michael found reading and spelling tasks difficult and he had significant issues with his memory and phonological awareness skills. After reading the book “The Brain that Changes Itself”, we decided to try the Fast ForWord program.
Following the first block of training, we saw gains in his reading, spelling, memory and phonological awareness skills and each time he completes another block of training, we notice even greater improvements.
Fast ForWord allowed us to visually see Michael’s areas of strength and where he needed some extra assistance. We could take this information to his Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist to help guide their interventions, to consolidate his skills in these areas.
Of all the interventions Michael has undertaken, nothing has achieved more immediate and significant gains than Fast ForWord. He has moved up to a higher spelling stream and is enjoying all of his subjects – even Social Studies now that he can remember dates and the names of people. He has improved so much that he doesn’t have any trouble with decoding or reading. We are looking forward to seeing his NAPLAN results and, when he takes the test this year, he won’t need an assistant to help him read.
He really enjoyed the graphics as they appealed to his funny sense of humour and I loved the fact that we could do it at home without having to drive all over town. It was great for me to be involved as well as it can make you feel pretty helpless not knowing how to help your child.
Michael’s school was fantastic and reduced his homework load so he could focus his attention on completing Fast ForWord each day. As Michael has gotten older, his time management skills have improved through the use of Fast ForWord and his teacher has commented on how well and long he can pay attention for now.
I am grateful that Fast ForWord enabled me to provide Michael with a tailored program that worked on exactly the areas where he needed to improve.
Sarah, Michael’s mum
FR, 8, Western Australia
Lagging behind in his spoken and written language
FR’s writing and spelling has improved so much that he now spells at the level of a 10 and a half year old – and he is only 8!
FR has always been exposed to different languages but in the last few years, we’ve noticed that he had speech delays in both Italian and English and he didn’t talk very much. He wasn’t very confident and didn’t like to make mistakes – sometimes he wouldn’t even have a go in class if he knew he might answer a question incorrectly.
I didn’t know what to expect from FR when he first started the Fast ForWord program. At the start, we set up our goals next to the computer so that every day, FR could be reminded of why he was doing the Fast ForWord program.
Truthfully, we were looking for a miracle and although FR still has some areas to improve, we could not have expected how much he has gained from the program. His confidence and concentration have greatly improved and he is doing really well in all subjects at school. We knew that the program would be a commitment for the both us but we were prepared.
He needed help with some of the exercises so I made sure I tried lots of different strategies to help him. We kept a good routine to train for the 5 days per week.
His teacher has told me that his writing and spelling have really improved and we are looking forward to seeing his NAPLAN results this year.
N, 12 years old
We have noticed many improvements in N’s skills but none more so than his reading – we can’t keep up the books, and he feels so confident and capable. The support and information that came from Sonic each week was extraordinary.
N has always hated reading, despite attempts to provide him with high interest, low level texts.
About three quarters of the way through the training he began to take off with his reading in a way we never thought would happen. He now chooses to read as a leisure activity which at age 12 we thought was just never going to happen after 7 years of so much reluctance. He is now reading the same book as his whole class and more than anything, it is his ability to share an academic achievement with his peers that excites him. We have noticed other improvements as well and we are trying to make the most of these now to support his difficulty with spelling and writing. I am aware that the more he reads, the better he will spell and write. So a strength in reading will support other areas. I cannot thank you all enough for the steady stream of emails that provided both N and myself with all the information we needed. We will be recommending your service and programs to friends and family.
Mrs A., University Lecturer for Early Childhood Development
Chenae, 9 years old, Western Australia Reading problems, difficulties understanding verbal instruction
My husband and I are amazed that such a simple program can make such big changes! Before Fast For Word, we would have to repeat instructions and explanations over and over. Now, we are blown away by what she is remembering.
Chenae’s teachers had commented when she was younger that she was having trouble learning sound to letter correspondences and whilst she could give complex answers verbally, she struggled to convey those ideas on paper. People said not to worry, she would grow out of it, or that she would catch up in her own time but I was worried that she would slip through the cracks and needed some answers to help her, sooner rather than later.
It took several different assessments, speaking to specialists and professionals until one day I discovered some information on Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). She seemed to fit the profile and was confirmed to have some auditory processing weaknesses after being assessed by an Audiologist.
Naturally, we wanted to do whatever we could – I had heard of the Fast For Word Program before, but never really understood a lot about it, and it was recommended to us as it specifically targeted Chenae’s difficulties.
Although it seemed a bit daunting, the program was super easy to set up. I liked that the exercises are pre-programmed and all Chenae had to do was log on to the computer and start training. Even I have had a bit of a brain workout just from watching her do the program! We used a rewards system from the start because the training is hard work and it does take commitment. We have used little things like sticker books and movie nights as ways to help motivate Chenae to do her best with the training. She liked the graphics and particularly loved the expressions on the animals’ faces in one of the exercises. We have seen so many changes.
Her self-confidence has improved and her teacher is amazed at her marked improvement. Homework used to be a constant battle and could take hours because Chenae struggled to remember word lists or information she’d just read and would often say ‘I don’t get it’ and ‘I can’t remember what I’m reading’. It was difficult to watch her struggle on a daily basis. Now, she is not having to turn the page back and forth and is great to see the improvements in her self-esteem. Thanks to the massive changes we have seen, we have signed Chenae up to do some more training!”
Jeni, Chenae’s mother
Lachlan, 9 years old, Queensland Reading difficulties
The most pivotal moment for us this year was finding Lachlan on his bed one night reading a book, independently. We were so happy that we took a photo and sent it to his grandparents.
Last year, Lachlan really struggled with reading to the point he actively avoided it. We even got to the stage where we were downloading apps for him with pictures only because reading was such a chore. Thankfully, things started to turn around when Lachlan started the Reading Recovery program at school. He was later assessed and diagnosed with Auditory Processing difficulties and the Fast ForWord program was recommended. As a Primary School Teacher, I could see that the program specifically targeted the areas with which he was struggling. It made me feel very confident that I had chosen the right program to train his brain to give him the skills he needed.
During the training, we could see that Lachlan was progressing with the program but it was hard to determine if the training was translating to his learning at school as there were no massive changes initially. However, after finishing the program, we started to notice some big changes! He is now actively reading, even to the point where he reads signs out loud when we’re watching movies. Fast ForWord played a big part in developing Lachlan’s reading skills. His teacher has told me his reading has really improved and he is likely to move up to a C grade for reading now.
Shane, Lachlan’s father
Oliver, 6 years old, Queensland
I really wanted to tell you how much Oliver has improved at school. I am just floored at how quickly he now learns his sight words.
It only takes a couple of nights to learn 15 words and he hands them in all proud and is tested and receives reward points. He is only four pages off learning all the sight words for the whole year! Before the program it would take the same words three weeks to learn and even then a week later he would have forgotten them. He is now one of the best readers in his class. I am just amazed.
Skye, 8 years old, Queensland ADHD and literacy difficulties
The change we saw in my daughter’s literacy development was very comforting. She now has positive strategies towards solving problems, stronger self-esteem and an overall positivity towards reading. Thanks Fast ForWord!
Skye struggled with literacy at school. Her ADHD also meant that she did not pay attention all the time. Her vocabulary, although improving, was small compared to her peers. Because she struggled so much with reading, she became anxious every time she had to read.
We chose the Fast ForWord program for Skye after reading the book “The Brain That Changes Itself” that ‘spoke’ highly of the Fast ForWord program. It sounded like a very good thing to try. I also read 2 journal articles and the research showed that Fast ForWard showed improvement in some areas of development for children with learning difficulties. Skye’s self confidence with regards to her reading has improved a lot since we’ve started the Fast ForWord program.
Skye used to shy away from reading and although she will still not voluntary take a book and read it, she does enjoy reading a lot more. Her vocabulary has improved tremendously and this has boosted her self-esteem a lot. Her reading fluency has improved, although the speed at which she reads/process things still needs some attention. An overall improvement in the way she tackles new and difficult things as well as resilience are some of the most noticeable things we see in her. Thanks Fast ForWord, my daughter has learned and improved a lot.
Skye shows a lot of improvement in areas of her development. She shows a lot more enthusiasm with activities at school and is slowly but surely catching up with her peers in most of the areas she had trouble with.
The program was easy to understand and most of the games were enjoyable for Skye. She learned a lot and when introduced to new things at school and even mentioned a couple of times that she already know that word/s from Fast ForWord. It was engaging and challenging and fun all at the same time.
I liked most of the games, but some was difficult. I learned a lot of words and the games made it fun. – Skye
Harris, 9 years old, Western Australia Dyslexia
Harris is now in year 7 and his test results are around the 80% mark. Before we couldn’t get Harris to read anything and now he takes a book with him when he goes out. It’s nothing for him to be reading 3 novels at a time.
Harris has always struggled with language and reading since year two and primary school was very difficult for him. We’ve been to see lots of different experts and eventually they diagnosed him with dyslexia. We tried a few programs and saw no real results. Then I read Norman Doidge’s book on neuroplasticity, The Brain that Changes Itself. In the book he speaks very highly of the Fast ForWord program so we decided to push on with the program under our own motivation.
Once Harris got started it took him a little while to get motivated but then he really got into it. In fact he asked when we’re going to start Fast ForWord again so I think we may do another block in the summer holidays.
Harris really loved the fact that it was interactive and it actually improved his motivation. He liked the feedback that showed him how he was progressing and that he could measure his own performance and improvement against a benchmark.
As his parents we liked that he was able to work independently and that his results were purely based on his own efforts. We didn’t have to help or prompt him at all. We found Fast ForWord to be an excellent vehicle to enable his brain to read and retain information very easily. Certainly his results in reading at school now don’t suggest that he has ever had any difficulties with reading.
The advice I can give to other parents is to give it time and persevere. Harris trained for a total of 12 months and initially we only noticed very small improvements. However in the last 3 months is when the big changes occurred as those neural pathways were cemented. We are extremely happy with the results and would like to thank Sonic Learning for their help.
Sean, Harris’s father
Max, 11 years old, Western Australia Bright frustrated learner
Max participated in a cognitive training program called Fast ForWord and I couldn’t have imagined how much it would help him. His teacher has noticed a huge improvement in his behaviour, his ability to follow instructions, his capacity to keep up in class and his grades are a lot better. He’s a different boy altogether in that he’s happy to go to school and we’ve noticed a big improvement in his self-esteem.
As a child, Max was a thinker and we couldn’t believe some of the things he would say. He seemed to have a level of wisdom that was beyond his years. I guess we expected him to sail through school without any problems.
My husband and I put his learning problems down to Max being a boy. I guess we thought that he was just being lazy and he’d catch up in his own time. But we started to worry a year and a half later when he was even further behind and it was really affecting his self esteem. He didn’t want to go to school and he was getting into trouble more and more frequently.
He did tutoring for a year, which helped a bit, but it didn’t hit the nail on the head. We could see that something was holding Max back. It was like he had a traffic jam in his head and the information wasn’t getting through. It wasn’t until he had some specialised tests that we found out that he had an underlying learning problem.
The reason we chose to put Max on the Fast ForWord program is because it’s not just another tutoring program. What appealed to us most was the fact that it works on all aspects of learning – it trained his short and long term memory, his ability to focus for increasingly longer periods, his ability to follow more and more complex instructions, as well as his reading, spelling and comprehension skills. The program really got him to think and concentrate and he enjoyed doing it because as far as he was concerned, he was playing fun computer games.
My husband did a lot of research before we decided to go ahead with the Fast ForWord program and we were very impressed by the fact that this program was developed by neuroscientists and had a lot of supporting research and results.
We liked the flexibility of Max being able to train at home, particularly since we have two other children, and Sonic Learning’s team was fantastic in keeping an eye on how he was progressing and sending us reports each week. I can’t recommend this program enough.
Hamish, 11 years old, South Australia Glue ear and undiagnosed learning difficulties
“And suddenly a miracle. My son, who previously couldn’t remember more than two digits at a time, can suddenly remember my ten digit phone number – and we haven’t even tried to teach him, he has taught himself.” “And another miracle. A speech therapy assessment which included APD aspects has put him within the normal range for his age.”
Gemma, 8, Western Australia ADD and sensory difficulties
We have seen improvement in her social skills as well as with her sensory issues with clothes and her attitude at school has improved immensely.
Her attention span has improved and her teachers are impressed. Her grades have not gone up drastically but her attitude towards completing school tasks has improved so I guess because she is finishing her work faster, her grades will improve in the long run. I am shocked really at how well this has worked.
Kylie, Gemma’s mother
Payton, 11 years old Autism, APD & ADHD
This case study is from our American colleagues, Gemm learning.
Payton was diagnosed high functioning Autism and ADHD a few years ago. He hated going to school … I can’t tell you how many times he would wake up in the morning and cry – that would break my heart. I knew we needed to find something that was going to help him keep up at school. He one day just picked up a book, a chapter book of all things, and asked if he could read to me … he’s happy and smiling … he’s ventured into things that I never thought he would have an interest in.
Free phone consultation
We’re here to help. Call us on 1300 135 334 to discuss your child confidentially with a health professional. Alternatively, fill out the contact form and we’ll call you.