Fast ForWord Musings

So, I went to a seminar by Dr. Steve Miller yesterday. Dr. Miller is a co-founder and Vice President of Scientific Learning Corporation which is the developer of Fast ForWord.

Really fascinating stuff.

It’s interesting to see what happens to the energy dynamic in a room once people get the gist of what he’s proposing — that we’re on the verge of remediating learning disabilities, not just improving or working around them through compensations. It becomes like a gospel revival meeting. The entire room leans forward, there are gasps of insight, and occasionally even spontaneous exclamations like “Amen!” and “You say it brother!” when someone has a flash of recognition.

The room was full of educators (my friend and I were the only just-parents there), so it was especially good to see that particular group of people excited about the possibilities.

For me, it remains to be seen how much good it will do for my kids, but we should know soon, as school starts next week.

If you want to find out more about Fast ForWord go to scholar google. Type in Fast ForWord.  You can also look for articles by Taller and Merzenich. I did it, and came away disheartened by the first few abstracts I read, which basically said the promise of Fast ForWord isn’t borne out in reality. But. Then I looked at how long the testing went and we’re talking about small groups of students, usually about 65 total who did the Fast ForWord program, or another program or nothing at all for about a month. I don’t think a month is long enough. But there’s over 1,000 articles so it will take some time to get through them.

If you’re interested in testing out some Fast ForWord-esque games, try this site…

Any parents out there whose kids have done the Fast ForWord program? Please let me know in the comments what was your experience? Did it help? Did it make no difference at all?

Update: I now have a Fast ForWord Page where I’ve collected all my postings about Fast ForWord plus some other useful links.

About Tentative Equinox North

Theatremaker, Homemaker, Thoughtmaker. Great hair, Probably looking forward to my next nap.
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4 Responses to Fast ForWord Musings

  1. Ann says:

    Was pleased to read your comments about Fast ForWord and hearing Dr. Steve Miller—based on the date, I am wondering if you are in the Vancouver area? I have been a FFW provider since the original field study and am always excited to read messages from people who “get it.” And, it sounds like you do. How lucky your kids are.

  2. Thanks so much for your vote of support, sometimes it feels a bit like the “voice crying in the wilderness” when trying to educate educators, but the tide is definitely turning.

    I am in the Vancouver area.

  3. Ber says:

    Wow am I so glad I found your blog as I have just spoken to a specalist from FF who was little or no help. He was uanable to answer any of my questions. But did make asuggestion that I would need the support of a provider or use a local lab. However after further enquiries the inital auditory test would cost $600 and she was unable to tell me what my monthly cost would be.
    Hence the question is did you use a provider or buy directly from scientific Learning.
    Great blog and maybe you should be working on behalf of Fast Forward as I have learned more from this blog than I have from the web site.
    Well done and congrulations to both of your special kids.
    The world needs more people like you. Ber

    • @Bers. Wow. Thanks. It’s nice to be told the world needs more of me.

      To answer your question, The School District of Surrey provides Fast ForWord at several of its schools. We got into it through their programme as we reside there. So, there’s one option for you, move to Surrey in the cachement for one of those schools. I also believe the the Learning Disabilities Association of BC — Fraser South ( has Fast ForWord there for about $20 a session. Ah yes, here is the link to their current program newsletter.

      If one provider didn’t give you answers, try another one. There are several providers out there so there’s really no excuse for someone not being up front with you about it. I would try three at least. And I think I’ve said this before elsewhere, but be mindful of the provider that yes, can give you Fast ForWord but really wants to sell you this other thing. That’s how we ended up with vision therapy, brain wave training and Tomatis, none of which were as successful as Fast ForWord (IMNSHO).

      Hope that’s helpful. Stop by again and let us know how you fared.

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