20 years after developing the neuroscience-based Fast ForWord reading intervention Drs. Paula Tallal, Steve Miller, William Jenkins and Michael Merzenich will discuss new research on language and reading disorders, and why so many children still struggle


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Hallie Smith
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Scientific Learning Corporation
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San Diego, Calif. — Feb. 22, 2016 —Despite the efforts of educators, parents, and school boards, there remains an epidemic of reading failure in American schools. But what’s even more heartbreaking than watching a child struggle to read is knowing that there is a proven remedy – based on decades of neuroscience research – currently being used by parents, K-12 school districts and specialists in private practice. Yet, millions are still missing out.

It began with neuroscientists Michael Merzenich, William Jenkins, Paula Tallal, and Steven Miller who believed the key to solving language and reading issues could be found in the underlying cognitive processes of the brain. They met at a conference in 1993 and discovered that their independent lab research fit together like pieces of a puzzle. They could use the newly discovered concept of brain plasticity – the ability of the brain to rewire and improve – to target the root causes of slow progress in struggling readers. Fast ForWord, a computerized language and reading program that uses the principles of neuroplasticity, was thus created.

Now twenty years later, these four neuroscientists will come together in a rare joint appearance at the 2016 Visionary Conference March 3-5, 2016 at the Westin San Diego in California. Drs. Merzenich, Jenkins, Tallal, and Miller will discuss their original research on auditory processing, brain plasticity, and how much research has advanced our understanding of the brain and learning as it applies to literacy and cognitive skills.

“Traditional tools for teaching reading, regardless of how expertly and how often they are applied, will not work for most struggling readers until these more foundational cognitive skills are remediated,” said Tallal. “Not providing educators with evidence-based tools to address both listening and oral language skills is equivalent to demanding that a builder construct the third floor of a school without having the tools to build a sufficiently strong first and second floor, and then wondering why the school keeps collapsing.

“The goal for the Visionary Conference is to bring together the professionals working to improve literacy to learn more about the research and evidence. They are the ones who must implement these evidence-based tools and technologies on a broad scale to help the millions of struggling readers who desperately need help,” said Tallal.

Attended by psychologists, speech pathologists, and other specialists in private practice and K-12 schools, the Visionary Conference will include a variety of sessions including reviews of new research and how educators and professionals can use the findings to help treat learning disabilities.

For more information, visit http://www.scilearn.com/

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