NDIS program research

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This research relates to the Fast ForWord home practise exercises we use. The research relevant to you will depend on your plan goals, however we have listed some research here that is commonly relevant to our NDIS therapy clients. This list does not contain all of the research. You can also find more research on this page or contact us to learn more.

Click on a heading below to see more.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) research
Improved language skills by students with pervasive developmental disorders and autism who used Fast ForWord
Fast Forword Autism ASD Aspergers PDD research

Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder made significant gains in their oral language skills after using Fast ForWord Language. This study comprised 128 children.

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Biological changes in auditory function following Fast ForWord training in children with autism spectrum disorders

Autism programs treatment online computerChildren with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) often show auditory processing deficits related to their overarching language impairment. In this study, children with ASD showed improved brain functions (auditory brainstem response and event-related potentials) after Fast ForWord training.

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Also see

Burns, M. (2003). Fast ForWord: intensive programs open a child’s window to language. Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine.

Attention research

A random control study by Courtney Stevens at the University of Oregon found that children who used Fast ForWord showed improvements in the neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention.

The study focuses on three groups: language impaired (SLI) students using the intervention, typically developing students using the intervention, and a control group of typically developing students not using the intervention.

Methodology and measures

Twenty children received Fast ForWord computer training, including 8 with SLI and 12 with typically developing language. An additional 13 children with typically developing langauge received no specialised training. Before and after training, children completed standardised language assessments and an event-related potential (ERP) measure of selective auditory attention. Relative to the control group, children receiving training showed increases in standardised measures of receptive language, as well as larger increases in the effects of attention on neural processing. phonemic decoding ability.


These findings indicate that the neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention can be remediated through training and can accompany improvements on standardised measures of language.


Stevens, C., Fanning, J., Coch, D., Sanders, L., & H Neville (2008). Neural mechanisms of selective auditory attention are enhanced by computerized training: Electrophysiological evidence from language-impaired and typically developing children. Brain Research, 1205, 55-69.

Auditory processing research
Auburn University - Children Improve Auditory Processing and Show Evidence of Neuroplastic Changes
fast forword auditory processing research

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Researchers at Auburn University, a leader in the study of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), published controlled research in International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology on the benefits of intervention with children diagnosed with APD. The researchers evaluated brainstem responses to speech sounds in elementary school children who participated in the Fast ForWord program 50 minutes a day, five days a week for eight weeks.

The researchers found that the Fast ForWord program not only improved auditory processing skills and listening skills, but they found evidence of brain changes in the children with APD. These “neuroplastic” changes in brain function occurred in regions specific to and important for accurate listening and language processing.

Source: Krishnamurti, S., Forrester, J., Rutledge, C., & Holmes, G. (2013). A case study of the changes in the speech-evoked auditory brainstem response associated with auditory training in children with auditory processing disorders. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 77(4), 594-604.

Rutgers University - Children Improve Brain Wave Efficiency, Rapid Auditory Processing Accuracy and Language
fast forword auditory processing research

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The ability to efficiently perceive and sequence two non-speech sounds presented as quickly as speech sounds are in words is often referred to as Rapid Auditory Processing (RAP). RAP is important because it affects not only language learning, but also reading and other school achievement.

In this study, twenty-one elementary school students diagnosed with language learning impairment (LLI) participated in Fast ForWord intervention for an average of 32 days. Pre- and post-training assessments included standardized language/literacy tests and EEG recordings. A control group of twelve children with no language difficulties received the same testing, but no intervention was given.

The authors concluded that measures of brain wave efficiency are not only correlated with auditory processing problems in children with language-based learning disabilities, but that the Fast ForWord Language program improves at least one measure of the brain wave efficiency and that is in turn correlated with improvements both in RAP accuracy and also language skills.

Source: Heim, S., Keil, A., Choudhury, N., Thomas Friedman, J. & Benasich, A. (2013). Early gamma oscillations during rapid auditory processing in children with a language-learning impairment: Changes in neural mass activity after training. Neuropsychologia, 51, 990-1001.

University of WA - Improved Reading Skills and Behaviour in Children with APD
fast forword auditory processing treatment

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Students in Singapore diagnosed with (C)APD demonstrated significant gains in reading skills after using Fast ForWord in a study conducted through the University of Western Australia.

Two groups of students from a public primary school in Singapore used the Fast ForWord Language program. The students in both groups were poor readers, but the students in one group also had Central Auditory Processing Disorders ((C)APD).

auditory processing program fast forword

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Before Fast ForWord participation, the (C)APD group was performing in the below average range in both sight word reading ability and phonemic decoding ability, while the non-APD group was at the low end of the average range in both skills. After using Fast ForWord Language, both groups demonstrated significant gains in both skill areas, with the (C)APD group moving into the average range in sight word reading ability and phonemic decoding ability.

Source: Ho, Cheryl (2004). An examination of Fast ForWord language intervention for children with poor reading abilities. Unpublished honours thesis, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia.

Source: Scientific Learning Corporation (2006). Improved Reading Skills and Behavior in Primary School Students who Used Fast ForWord® Language at a Singapore Public School. MAPS for Learning: Educator Reports, 10(5): 1-6.

Cochlear implant research

This pilot study involved eleven children with cochlear implants aged 4 – 11 years. The average length of implant experience was 2 years 5 months, and experienced language and auditory processing deficits associated with their hearing loss.

The Fast ForWord program was presented without modification for this population, with the exception of signal delivery – patch cords were used to couple the speech processor directly to the computer’s audio.

Fast ForWord research cochlear implant

Tests used to evaluate outcomes

  • Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-3)
  • Test of Auditory Perceptual Skills – Revised (TAPS-R)
  • Token Test for Children
  • Assessment of Children’s Language Comprehension (ACLC)
  • Phonological Awareness Test (PhAT)

Fast ForWord research results

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


Schopmeyer, B., Mellon, N., Dobaj, H., Grant, G. & Niparko, J. (2000). Use of Fast ForWord to enhance language development in children with Cochlear Implants. The annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 109(12) p.95

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and stroke

This pilot study involved twelve people suffering from aphasia after a stroke, aged between 40 and 78 years. The majority of participants had experienced a stroke more than one year previously. All participants underwent a battery of tests and evaluations before receiving Fast ForWord treatment for eight weeks.

‘All patients received Fast ForWord training for 1.5 hours per day for a period of 8 weeks, for a total of 60 hours. They also received intensive one-on-one speech therapy with a speech language pathologist for exactly the same amount of time in the 8 weeks either before or after their Fast ForWord training. Order of treatment type was determined by random assignment.’

When the researchers re-tested all the participants at the end of the trial, they found that some of them had made significant improvements, while others had made no improvement. They concluded that the site of the brain injury determined whether Fast ForWord® exercises could help people to make progress using this treatment. They explained that the ‘…lesion site (as evaluated in Dronkers, 1996) was an excellent predictor of improvement in auditory comprehension with Fast ForWord. Severe-to-moderately impaired patients with lesions restricted to the superior temporal and inferior parietal cortex were seen to improve by 5 to 18% while those with larger lesions that also encompassed perisylvian frontal lobe structures did not improve.’


Dronkers, N.F., Husted, D.A., Deutsch, G., Taylor, K., Saunders, G. & Merzenich, M. (1999). Lesion site as a predictor of improvement after Fast ForWord treatment in adult aphasic patients, Brain and Language, 1999, 9(3):450-452

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