Callan, 16, Western Australia Learning difficulties
I think he has learnt more from [the Fast ForWord] program than he has in his entire 13 years at school.
We are amazed ourselves at how Callan is moving through these exercises. He is really grasping the sounds and is decoding the words in a way he has never been able to before.
Fast ForWord completely eliminates the anxiety component of learning […] giving him the opportunity to really absorb the information.
I am so grateful for the Literacy program as it appears to be filling in all of the ‘missing blocks’ that have appeared along the way in Callan’s learning. For the first time in a very long time, I am feeling confident that Callan will have reading and comprehension skills that I had never dared to dream possible. We have certainly found the solution we were searching for to ensure that Callan won’t be one of the many who sadly fall through the cracks.
Callan’s mum, Lisa
Josh, teenager, Queensland Reading and writing difficulties
Josh’s confidence has really improved, he doesn’t feel as unintelligent as he did last year. It has given him the ability to believe in himself. I’m so glad I found this program and gave it a chance – not only did it help my son with his reading ability it also helped him with his school work and self confidence. This program is not just for little kids – it can help all ages. I would recommend this program to anyone who is having trouble with literacy.
Josh is an intelligent kid. But when he started year 10, he was in trouble. The content was very word based with few visual aids, and his reading skills just weren’t up to the challenge. He didn’t want to admit he was having problems, and he ended up failing dismally.
Once I became aware of Josh’s difficulties, I resolved to help him. From watching him do his schoolwork, I thought it looked like a comprehension problem – he didn’t seem to be comprehending anything at school and his listening skills weren’t very good. I took him to a dyslexia specialist who recommended a very expensive 5 day course which would take him back to year one reading skills. However, Josh knew all his sounds and I felt that it was his processing, comprehension and listening skills, those foundation skills, that were lacking and probably causing the problems with his reading. I didn’t feel that going back to earlier reading work was going to address his difficulty.
I started to do my own research and came across the Fast ForWord program. I looked at the videos and the research and thought “this is exactly what Josh needs to do”. The great thing was that it didn’t cost a fortune and Josh could do it at home.
I won’t say it was easy, but Josh didn’t fight Fast ForWord as he obviously felt that it was helping him. After 3 months of training at 50 minutes per day, 5 days per week, I began to notice a vast improvement in his reading – he was reading to me like I would read to somebody else. His reading was no longer disjointed, his grammar was better and I thought “wow, who is this reading to me?” His writing skills have improved dramatically too, including essay writing. My expectations as a parent were met and exceeded. Josh went from a kid who couldn’t read fluently or use punctuation and grammar correctly, to a different reader entirely. I was amazed.
Barb, Josh’s mum
H, 15 years old, Western Australia Reading, spelling and writing
As parents, we are so pleased that H took ownership of bettering himself and significantly developing his spelling, literacy and comprehension skills through participating in the Fast ForWord program.
When in primary school, H never seemed to develop a love of reading for his own enjoyment and his reading aloud and sounding out word skills were mediocre. His school reports labelled him as a quiet achiever, excelling in maths and logical thinking who was ‘progressing along the learning continuum’ in all subjects. When I found out more about this ‘learning continuum’ I realised that, basically, H had ‘stayed below the teacher’s radar’ and therefore was not offered additional literacy support.
Even upon starting high school, none of his teachers remarked on his spelling accuracy. H’s written schoolwork continued to have spelling errors but the teachers could make sense of his experiment write ups or class notes and so his grades stayed above average. At home we were doing subtle spelling assessments and my husband remarked that H would sometimes look at a word, say it correctly, and then write down a completely different word. My husband and I were determined that H be ‘helped’ before he got to senior high school level. When H was in year eight (thirteen years old) we had a tutor come out once a week to work on his sound, spelling and comprehension skills but found the progress to be slow going and difficult to fit in around his many after-school activities.
Thankfully, we made the right choice in selecting Fast ForWord. H found some of the computer based games easy, while others were more challenging and he immediately took ownership of his additional learning and progressed quickly through the assigned levels of literacy, reading and comprehension. Parental intervention (nagging) was not necessary as H applied himself for the required number of sessions each week for over eleven weeks and whilst some days his motivation would be challenged, he did not falter once he had commenced his fifty minute training session each day.
The positives of the Fast ForWord literacy program were:
Comfortable, private environment at home, with no travelling time
No-one needed to know that H was doing the program if he didn’t tell them, so no adverse comments at school from classmates
Self-paced and self-disciplined learning timetable with answers corrected instantly
Progress monitored and interpreted for parents by the Sonic Learning team
Learning materials upgraded as necessary so that games continued to be challenging at every level
No pen and paper, nor chalk and talk – all challenging, animated and interactive games of concentrated literacy learning
No tutor to set homework to be done before the next session and marked days later
Rewards along the way to maintain H’s interest
Technical support for myself as a ‘non-techno’ computer user.
Felix, 17 years old, Queensland Reading difficulties
Felix has worked very hard this term with his Fast ForWord training. He recently had to do some reading at the formal school assembly. I was amazed at how well he read. No one listening would have realised he had ever had difficulties.
His reading was strong, confident and fluent, with no hesitation and only one almost unnoticeable stumble. I was so happy for him. It’s been such a busy term for Felix and he has worked so hard.
We also did a reading post test, which showed good gains. His reading rate had climbed by 6 months and his accuracy by 14 months. The comprehension score was the same. The test was also done at the end of the day. All in all, a good result but I think the best test was listening to him read on assembly!
Jenny, Felix’s teacher
Megan, 13 years old, Queensland Language and Learning Delay
I am the mother of a 13 year old girl who started Fast ForWord when she was 12 years old. Fast ForWord is a brilliant program and my daughter loved it from the very beginning.
I was very interested to find out more about Fast ForWord after reading about it in, “The Brain That Changes Itself”. My daughter Megan so dearly needed something that would give her a memory to retain her phonics, sight words, timetables etc. She needed help to ignore distractions in class and to sustain focus on what she was being taught; she also had enormous difficulty hearing the difference between similar sounds and many other problems with her learning.
It made sense to me that if Fast ForWord laid down learning maps that other kids have naturally developed, then Megan would then be given the chance to learn by developing these. Megan’s speech pathologist knew about Fast ForWord and when I asked her about the program, she confirmed that brain scans after doing Fast ForWord showed learning pathways that had not been there previously.
My daughter has been used to doing extra programs before and after school. As Megan likes to be involved in after school sport and other activities, we arranged for Megan to do some of her Fast ForWord training in the morning and some after school. Megan starts her Fast ForWord on Saturday and continues through to Wednesday. We both enjoy the two day break from Fast ForWord and it is just long enough to be happy to begin again. After a couple of months of doing FFW I observed huge improvement in Megan, particularly with her self confidence, ability to concentrate, her speaking and language skills and her social skills. Her school teacher and her Kumon teacher also noticed significant changes.
I could see Megan’s skills improving as I watched her play the games. One of the games had amazingly complex sequencing and I couldn’t believe how Megan was able to do this difficult sequencing by the conclusion of the program. Another really important skill Fast ForWord taught Megan is how to stop, look and think before clicking on an answer. Megan used to rush into everything and didn’t know how to stop and think. This skill has now been carried over to other subject areas, including maths.
I am a primary school teacher and have always tutored Megan before and after school. I am so grateful that Fast ForWord and the Reading Programs have been made available to our needy children. When I look at the programs and the content and how it is presented, I can actually relax and know that my daughter is doing the best program to give her the skills to fly with her reading. There is no way a teacher can be better than Fast ForWord. The wonderful graphics keep Megan excited and on task. The automatic repetition that is programmed in to enable Megan to progress, takes the worry out of wondering if the school teacher and/or school have the skills and knowledge to teach your child with her particular needs.
I was so impressed with Fast ForWord that I was very interested in seeing the Reading Programs that follow. Megan had a six week break after doing Fast ForWord and has now been doing the Reading Program for four weeks. The games are again brilliant and Megan is really enjoying them. I am truly grateful for being able to give my wonderful daughter the opportunity to do Fast ForWord and for her to receive all of its benefits.
Giulia, 18 years old, Brazil Dyslexic and English Language Learner
In a little over a year my life changed completely, I do very well in school and my old difficulties were remedied quickly.
Since childhood I had many problems in school and when I was in second grade, I got held back a year for failing to learn to read and write, besides the problems I had with mathematics.
At the time, the school asked me to do some tests in general, and speech therapy. Because the methods of the time were not so advanced, I did not have a diagnosis and it was still said at home and in school that my difficulty was a lack of will to study. After many years, now at another school and the first year of high school, I continued with great difficulty in school. I had to remedy the content that I had failed to absorb in elementary school and seemed to have been a hole in my learning. Then, after the first quarter of that year, my psychologist recommended that medical and speech therapy should be reevaluated, and I found that I have dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and auditory processing disorder. I had an idea that I was not like other children due to my difficulty with the school, so when I discovered the dyslexia, it ended up being more of a relief than a fear, because from that time on my family began to accept me and understand me. Also, I had help from the teachers and the Director of my new school.
It was very difficult, but with the diagnosis closed, I could start my treatment with medication also had help from tutoring and started a cognitive training program called Fast ForWord, which helped me a lot.
When I was done I realized the difference it made in my development. I do very well in school and my old difficulties were remedied quickly. Today I am very happy knowing my limitations, because I learned how to deal with them. I advise people who have dyslexia they try to do everything they can, because although dyslexia seems something huge, with the right treatment you can get where you want, as I could get where I wanted. Persistence is very important, because in the end it’s worth it!
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