Software for children with learning disabilities

By : |May 22, 2006 0

R Jai Krishna

CHENNAI: US-based Scientific Learning Corp. has introduced a software, which
would help children with learning disabilities.

The software — Fast ForWord is to be introduced by Scientific Learning’s
partner Singapore-based company — Perform @International, which has launched
its Indian operations for this purpose recently.

However, the software in its present form is targeted at school children to
help them improve their skills.

Using prescribed protocols, children could achieve a 1 to 2-year gain in
reading skills in eight to twelve weeks.

Speaking to Cyber Media News, Peter Carabi, director, International Market
Development, Scientific Learning, said that the product based on 30-year
research, would be an innovative learning tool that has produced spectacular
results in the US, Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“Through the development of improved Neuro-cognitive skills, Fast ForWord
creates fast, effective and enduring results that improve the user’s reading and
learning abilities,” he said.

Peter said that product evolved from the work of noted research scientists
Drs. Michael Merzenich and Bill Jenkins at the University of California, San
Francisco, and Drs. Paula Tallal and Steven Miller at Rutgers University.

“Their research collaboration resulted in several key findings. First, they
established that the core cognitive and linguistic attributes (Memory,
Attention, Processing and Sequencing) that define a student’s ability to
benefit from classroom instruction can be successfully improved through
intensive intervention using advanced technologies.

With the help of computers, the complex speech sounds in sentences — such as
phonemes — could be slowed down and digitally enhanced so that they could be
easily differentiated.

The scientists discovered that by using this acoustically modified speech
technology in an intensive, adaptive product, students could build a wide range
of critical language and reading skills such as phonological awareness, phonemic
awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding, syntax, grammar, and
other skills that had previously been inaccessible to them,” he said further

Dr. Merzenich, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is
also the chief scientific officer for Posit Science, and Dr. Jenkins (currently
Senior Vice President of Product Development at Scientific Learning), are
internationally known for their research in the science of brain plasticity,
which is the concept that the brain changes as we learn new skills.

Drs. Tallal and Miller are experts in research on the neurological basis of
language and reading development.

Dr. Tallal is currently co-director of the Center for Molecular and
Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers and an active participant on many scientific
advisory boards and government committees. She has published over 150 papers on
the topic of language and learning and is the recipient of national and
international honors. Dr. Miller, currently senior vice president of Research at
Scientific Learning, has extensive experience in organizing clinical research
studies and conducting longitudinal studies of children who have language and
reading problems.

More than 571,000 students have been enriched substantially in the most crucial
areas of their learning process – Concentration, Memory, Attention, Processing,
Sequencing and other allied cognitive skills.

Perform@ International will introduce Fast ForWord and its family of products
that build learning capacity by applying neuroscience principles to strengthen
cognitive skills.

The company would organize concept-clarification sessions in various parts of
the country, mainly in Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata. The
session will also focus on the benefits of this software and its impact on
learning and reading skills of children.

Though initially the product would be launched for normal kids through the
schools, Peter added that R & D on the product to be used for children with
learning disabilities was being conducted with some local partners in Delhi and
Kolkata. The company is also in the process of opening up a lab in Delhi for
this purpose.

Prehalath V Cleetus, CEO Perform@ International added that Fast ForWord would
revolutionize the learning process among children in Indian schools and will
pursue its mission -‘To Reach Out and Impact Lives’.

The company claims that ‘Fast ForWord’ is different from other learning
intervention Softwares as it is a product that is based on a solid foundation of
neuroscience research by neuroscientists.

© CyberMedia News

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