Special Education Resources

Are you looking for a new intervention to reach your students in special education?  This page pulls together many of the resources that we have geared towards children with specific learning disabilities, auditory processing disorders (APD), dyslexia, specific language impairment, and autism. You'll find results and case studies, blog posts, and webinars that will give you a more comprehensive understanding of how Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant can help you improve learning for these students.

School & District Results

The following special education results were provided by the schools/districts based on their experience in working with Fast ForWord and/or Reading Assistant.

Working memory improvements helped all students make AYP (Haines Borough, AK)
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Mechanicville, NY experienced double-digit gains on the DIBELS
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Enduring results: four year longitudinal study shows decrease in achievement gap of 25% (Dallas, TX)
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Middle school students with disabilities improve language and reading skills, achieve gains on state test (Blount County, AL)
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Literacy program success with students in special education at alternative school; students with emotional trauma (Canyon View, CA)
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Decrease in special education referrals and rates (St. Mary Parish, LA)
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View research report View case study

Fast ForWord & Neuroscience in the News

Peer-Reviewed, Independent Research

Fast ForWord has been extensively researched over the past 20 years. Read about how Fast ForWord has made a difference for students with disabilities:

Reading Disorders
Ylinen, S. & Kujala, T. (2015). Neuroscience illuminating the influence of auditory or phonological intervention on language-related deficits.  Frontiers in Psychology, 6. 

Summary: This is a review of studies that have explored the neural basis of behavioral changes induced by auditory or phonological training in dyslexia, specific language impairment (SLI), and language-learning impairment (LLI). [Fast ForWord] Training has been shown to induce plastic changes in deficient neural networks.

The Stanford Study: Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: Evidence from functional MRI
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Harvard Research: Children with developmental dyslexia were able to literally rewire their brain through computerized sound training
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Auditory Attention and Specific Language Impairment
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.

Summary: Relative to the NoTx control group, children receiving [Fast ForWord] training showed increases in standardized measures of receptive language. In addition, children receiving training showed larger increases in the effects of attention on neural processing following training relative to the NoTx control group. 

Auditory Processing and  Language Impairment

Heim, S., Choudhury, N. & Benasich, A. A. (First online: 15 December 2015). Electrocortical Dynamics in Children with a Language-Learning Impairment Before and After Audiovisual Training. Brain Topography.

Summary: After Fast ForWord use, children with language learning impairment (LLI) showed improved language skills and changes in patterns of neural activity that indicate “a change in cognitive control strategies.” This is consistent with other recent neuroscience studies on children with and without LLI (Stevens et al., 2008) and children with  dyslexia (Temple et al., 2003). All of these studies suggest that the improved language and literacy performance seen after Fast ForWord use may result from better application of attentional and memory resources.

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. Neuropschologia, 51, 990-1001.Krishnamurti

Summary: 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 rapid auditory processing accuracy and also language skills.

Krishnamurti, S., Forrester, J., Rutledge, C., & Holmes, G.W. (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 Otorhinoloaryngology, 77, 594-604.

Russo, N.M., Hornickel, H., Nicol, T., Zecker, S., Kraus, N. (2010)  Biological changes in auditory function following training in children with autism spectrum disorders.Behavioral and Brain Functions 6(60), 1-8.

Fast ForWord/Reading Assistant research summary that highlights selected studies and reports
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Recommended Webinars

Autism: New Research and Interventions
Presenter: Martha Burns, Ph.D.
Length: 60 minutes

New research on the underlying neurology of autism is exploding as is information on the most effective interventions available to drive positive neurological changes in children on the autism spectrum. Join Dr. Martha Burns as she discusses the new research and shares data on neuroscience-based interventions that have been shown to enhance language, attention, and social skills in children on the autism spectrum.

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2015 Dyslexia Research and Remediation
Presenter: Martha Burns, Ph.D.
Length: 60 minutes

Join us to learn about the latest research on the processing weaknesses and early indicators in dyslexia. Most importantly, find out how to use this information to help your students. See a demonstration of exactly how Fast ForWord software exercises work to address the stealth causes of reading struggle.

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New Science of Learning for Special Education
Presenter: Martha Burns, Ph.D.
Length: 45 minutes

Dr. Burns discusses the ability of neuroscience to profoundly impact education. Hear how the science of learning has guided the development of breakthrough technologies to enhance underlying memory, attention, processing and sequencing abilities in your students.

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Recommended Blog Posts

Problems with the Human “Letter Box”: A Component of Dyslexia
Author: Martha S. Burns, Ph.D.

Have you wondered if dyslexia is a visual or auditory issue? Turns out it's a bit of both.  Dr. Martha Burns explains the latest research on causes of dyslexia and what interventions can help.

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How Interventions Can Improve Auditory Processing Skills
Author: Martha S. Burns, Ph.D.

Auditory processing disorders can be traced to specific regions of the brain, especially regions of the brainstem. Find out how targeted intervention resulted in better listening skills and improved brainstem response to speech.

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Why Auditory Processing Disorders Are Hard to Spot

Author: Martha S. Burns, Ph.D.

Your most struggling student just isn’t listening – again. But could there be more to it? Auditory processing disorders can look a lot like inattention, and it’s not easy to tell the difference. Why is it so hard to figure out what’s going on?

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Language-Based Learning Disabilities and Auditory Processing Disorders
Author: Martha S. Burns, Ph.D.

New research centering on the electrical brain signals picked up by EEG is clarifying the relationship between auditory processing and language learning.

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Developmental Dyslexia: Differences in the Pre-Reading Brain
Author: Bill Jenkins, Ph.D.

What if there were a way to predict dyslexia, so that affected children could receive earlier intervention?  Recent research may have found a way to do just that—by looking at differences in the brain before children learn to read.

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Additional Reading: The Role of Processing in Reading/Learning

Special Education Brochures

Researched at Top Universities

  • Fast ForWord is the only reading intervention that has been substantiated by research at Rutgers, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Cornell, etc.
  • Students can make up to 2 years’ gain in 3 months in reading and language skills