A close look at the efficacy of Fast ForWord Language for children with academic weaknesses

This study evaluated the efficacy of the computer-assisted intervention program known as Fast ForWord Language in a sample of children in grades 1 through 6 referred for poor academic performance. Fast Forward Language combines intensive training in multiple receptive language skills with adaptive acoustic waveform lengthening and amplification of remediate deficits in auditory temporal processing that are purported to be the root cause of developmental language disorders and many reading disabilities. Students in the treatment group were matched with students in a no=-contact control group and were assessed in four domains before and immediately after the 4-8 week intervention: (a) oral language competency; (b) phonological processing abilities; (c) basic reading skills; and (d) classroom behavior. Except for performance on a measure of expressive oral language, on which children in the treatment group achieved significantly greater gains than those in the control group, changes in test scores from pretest to posttest were equivalent for the two groups. However, when the lowest performing students in each group were compared, the children in the treatment group demonstrated superior gains in expressive oral language, syllable and sound blending, and reduction in problem behaviors. Thus Fast ForWord Language had positive, albeit limited impact on the oral language skills, academic performance, and social behaviors of some children in the study. However, due to methodological weaknesses and limited treatment fidelity the study results must be interpreted cautiously.

Author: 
Troia, G.A., & Whitney, S. D.
Year: 
2003
Source: 
Contemporary Educational Psychology, Vol. 28, 465-494.
Type: 
Related Research
Content Area: 
reading
Grade Level: 
early elementary
intermediate elementary
middle school
IDEA Disability Category: 
emotional disturbance
major-other health impairment
specific learning disability
speech or language impairment
Instructional Support: 
practice and reinforcement activities
National Reading Panel Standards: 
fluency
English Language Arts: 
Reading: Foundational Skills