Fast ForWord program helps kids 4 through 12


On last Sunday's Parent & Child page in the Home & Family section, the name of an Ellicott City speech/language pathologist was misspelled. Her name is Donna Armanas.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Q. I read the letter on April 22 and I, too, have a son in third grade who struggles with writing and reading in school. He has been diagnosed as having a language impairment. A speech therapist told me about Fast ForWord. Is this the same program and how is this different from other methods?

A. The FastForward program discussed in the April 22 issue is a literacy program for all ages. The Fast ForWord language training program is a relatively new treatment, developed at Scientific Learning Corp., that uses computer - based training exercises to remediate the problems of children between the ages of 4 and 12 who have normal hearing and intelligence, but who have difficulties distinguishing rapidly changing words and sounds. It is different from most programs in that it claims to remediate quickly and to attack the source of the problem.

According to Rebel Rice, vice president for marketing for SLc, children who have had frequent middle - ear infections at a young age may experience difficulty learning how to talk or may struggle to keep up with oral directions. Fast ForWord attacks this underlying impairment.

Aonna Aramanas, a speech - language pathologist in private practice in Ellicott City who is trained in this technique, said that Fast ForWord "is being used by speech - language pathologists in the metropolitan area to address the needs of those children who have difficulty following oral directions, expressing their ideas verbally, following conversation and asking relevant questions."

This program should be administered by an SLc - trained professional. There is an initial fee of $850 for the license for the software; and then, if the program is not administered at school, there will be additional fees for the services of a private speech therapist. The child performs the exercises on an intensive schedule of 1 hour, 40 minutes a day, five days a week for six to eight weeks. I suggest that you check with the speech - language specialist at your son's school about the efficacy of this program for your child's needs.

For information, call SLc at 888 - 665 - 9707, or visit its Web site at

Susan Rapp, M.Ed., is a reading specialist and director of the Village Reading Center in Columbia. She specializes in learning disabilities as well as the diagnosis and remediation of academic subjects.

! Pub date: 5/31/98

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