A: Yes, Anna Krueger from Neuroplan can help your child do Fast ForWord at school. She knows all the potential pitfalls that kids and school staff can fall into. She can help you avoid problems and get the best outcomes.
In addition, the Scientific Learning Company has created an exceptional program for oral language and reading fluency. It is called Reading Assistant. Both of these programs are available online from Neuroplan Treatment Services in Canada.
Fast ForWord Requires Professional Oversight
Fast ForWord has a powerful administrative dashboard which must be managed by an educational consultant who has passed Scientific Learning's certification requirements. In addition, this person must become familiar with the research on literacy and learning. The consultant should have an advanced university degree and be skilled in administering diagnostic assessments.
It is impossible to implement Fast ForWord software properly without clinical expertise. This is why the software is not sold to the public. If your school is keen to launch a brain-training program, the school will need to hire staff with the necessary expertise and leadership skills.
Reading Assistant is a huge time-saver for parents and school staff. Students use a headset to listen to stories, search a glossary, record their own reading and answer comprehension questions. Each student gets 1:1 coaching at just the right level.
Anna Krueger's friendly, professional help is just a click away. She is the clinical provider for the Scientific Learning Company. She is a certified speech language pathologist and reading specialist. She has helped hundreds of learners use Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant successfully.
Do Fast ForWord at School with Neuroplan
You can arrange a contract with Neuroplan for a specific child. Funding for our services can come from the family, the school, extended health insurance, government and other sources. We help schools to implement Fast ForWord on a case by case basis.
We don't offer school wide programs. We don't try to train teachers to become educational consultants. There is no option to buy in bulk, since we are selling therapy, not software.
Anna will offer unlimited support to people that are willing to serve as facilitators for students using Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant with Neuroplan Treatment Services.
A Facilitator with a Student
Initially the facilitator will sit beside the student to ensure that the student is on-task. In the picture, the facilitator and the student are both wearing headphones. An audio splitter is used so that both headphones can plug into a single audio jack. This lets the adult hear what the student is hearing.
You need a quiet location free of distractions, a computer or iPad, a high speed internet connection, two sets of headphones and an audio splitter.
Evenutally the student will become independent in using the software. The facilitator should stay in the room to provide supervision and encouragement.
What does it take to do Fast ForWord at School?
Enthusiasm Comes First
Your school might not be eager to buy a site license.
Parents often wonder why there aren't more schools offering Fast ForWord intervention. It takes a lot of lobbying and education to convince a school district to purchase a site license from the Scientific Learning Company and hire staff for a brain training program. It is much easier to convince a school to arrange individual contracts with Neuroplan for specific students.
Neuroplan provides unrelenting enthusiasm.
We understand how and why the Fast ForWord programs work. We know the difference between building underlying neuro-cognitive skills with Fast ForWord, and doing instructional intervention with Orton-Gillingham, Reading Recovery, Guided Reading or some other method. We provide unrelenting enthusiasm for digging in and working hard to change the brain!
Neuroplan's website is a rich source of information about Fast ForWord. You can encourage school administrators to read some of our posts in order to become enthusiastic about brain training for your child.
Identifying Learners comes Second
Who should do Fast ForWord at School?
Schools need some way to identify learners who are a good fit for intervention. The best candidates for Fast ForWord are bright students who are functioning far below their potential. They have underlying cognitive difficulties with memory, attention, processing speed and sequencing.
The ideal way to identify neuro-cognitive deficits in students is with diagnostic assessments. Schools have long wait-lists for psycho-educational assessments. These assessments can only be done by psychologists.
It is time consuming and expensive to identify struggling learners this way. When students are not identified until the intermediate grades, they have lost years of precious learning time!
Neuroplan's Screening is Efficient
Our FREE screening assessment gives you objective data, revealing how the learner is doing compared to grade level expectations. After we receive your online registration and consent form and we will send you a link to the Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment. Anna Krueger will discuss the results with you in a webcam session. You get fast access to a qualified professional. You don't have to wait until the intermediate grades. Any young child with neuro-cognitive deficits will demonstrate difficulties on this test.
We won't recommend treatment if the learner isn't ready or doesn't need it. We repeat the assessment in 12 months to measure progress. This keeps us accountable to parents, schools and other funding sources.
Team Training comes Third
School Staff Change Every Year
The educational consultant who is managing the administrative dashboard for Fast ForWord plays a pivotal role. Unfortunately, school staff change every year. Schools with a site license for Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant need internal training and fidelity procedures to ensure that the people in charge of the brain training program know what they are doing.
Neuroplan Provides Consistency
Anna Krueger doesn't hand off the case to someone else. She stays involved as long as the family and funding source approve.
We use flat monthly rates which cover all the license fees and Anna's time. You get unlimited access to a customized therapy program for one person. Anna will provide unlimited support by phone, email and webcam. Facilitators can be parents, teachers, assistants... basically any responsible adult who is available to provide supervision and encouragement.
She is happy to support more than one facilitator so that the learner is able to access the therapy program daily.
Guidelines: How to do Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant at School
Neuroplan Treatment Services is a Canadian company that provides Fast ForWord brain training across Canada. If you are not in Canada, please contact Scientific Learning for service options.
Refer students early rather than waiting until the intermediate grades. Start by using our online registration and consent form. The first part must be filled in by the legal guardian. We will send you a link and password for the Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment.
Optimize Funding Sources and Plan your Budget
We are happy to help you with funding applications. Each student requires an individual contract with Neuroplan. Anna will give you a precise quote after the student has completed Neuroplan's screening assessment. We are selling therapy, not software. The quote tells you what we can offer for that student. This can often be 100% covered by a funding source. Here are some examples of how families found funding for Fast ForWord intervention from Neuroplan.
Every Facilitator must be Trained by Anna
Every person who will be acting as a facilitator MUST book webcam sessions with Anna on a regular basis. This is our most important guideline. Fast ForWord sounds unusual and it is hard work. People who don't understand the program and don't understand the data eventually become poor facilitators. We want people to stay enthusiastic. This only happens if they connect with Anna via webcam sessions whenever problems arise.
Encourage any people who are considering becoming facilitators to explore Neuroplan's website, especially the frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fast ForWord Brain Training (https://neuroplan.ca/frequently-asked-questions-fast-forword-brain-training/)
Make sure you get the permission of the school principal. Sign up for Neuroplan's free demo. This connects you with Scientific Learning's server and replicates the internet connection that a student will need in order to use Fast ForWord in the building. Do you have high speed internet? Fast ForWord requires a lot of bandwidth. Is there is a location in the building that is quiet, with a good wifi connection? If not, can you use a computer that is hardwired? Can you use the computer lab? Is there a firewall preventing you from access?
Gather your Equipment for Fast ForWord
Will the student be doing Fast ForWord at home and at school? It is easiest if you have one computer at school and one at home. The programs are online and all the data is kept on a central server.
Desktop or Laptop: Is the child left handed? Do you know how to set up the mouse for a left handed person? Does your keyboard have large arrow keys? Are the arrow keys on the keyboard too small because it is a laptop? Can you attach a larger keyboard to your laptop?
Headphones for Fast ForWord: You will need two sets of good quality headphones. These should have a cup of padding around the ear and should plug into the device with an audio jack. Avoid getting wireless headphones or noise cancelling headphones.
You will need an audio splitter: An audio splitter lets you plug two headphones into one audio jack. This way the facilitator can hear what the child is hearing. Check to make sure that you actually have an audio splitter, not an adapter.
PC Computers have separate jacks for the microphone and the audio: Look carefully when you are plugging in the audio splitter. There are two round jacks. If you plug it into the microphone jack, it won't work. Be sure to plug the splitter into the audio jack.
MAC Computers and iPads have an integrated jack for the microphone and the audio: You will notice that there is only one round jack. All of the MAC earbuds and headsets have three rings on the pin, rather than just two. The microphone is included.
A regular audio splitter will work on a MAC device. Thus, your headphones and audio splitter will work on all computers and iPads.
Gather your Equipment for Reading Assistant
USB Headset for Reading Assistant: If your student will be using the Reading Assistant program in addition to Fast ForWord, you will need the capacity to make good quality voice recordings. The best way to do this is with a USB headset.
We recommend the Logitech H540 USB Headset because it is comfortable, highly adjustable and the microphone is durable. We really like the design of the microphone arm on this model. It is short, putting the microphone to the side of a child's mouth where it should be. It doesn't bend or produce static when it is touched.
There are a few things to avoid. You can't use two USB headsets with the same computer because the sound card gets assigned to only one USB port. Always plug in the headset before you turn the computer on. Try to plug the USB headset into the same port (slot) each time. You will have problems if you use a headset with separate jacks for the microphone and the audio. The speech analysis in Reading Assistant won't work properly.
MAC computers: Any good quality USB headset will plug into the USB port on a MAC computer or laptop. DO NOT use an adapter to plug a non-USB headset into an iOS device. Again, the speech analysis in Reading Assistant won't work properly.
iPads: Unfortunately, it is not possible to plug a USB headset into an iPad. The Reading Assistant program is available as an app, but it needs a VERY QUIET environment to work properly without a headset. Most classrooms and hallways are too noisy. The internal microphone on the iPad will pick up all the environmental noise. The speech analysis function in Reading Assistant will count these sounds as reading errors. This is very frustrating for the student.
An adult can make voice recordings on an iPad using iPhone earbuds. There is a microphone in the cable, which hangs below the chin. This is not a good solution for children because the microphone is too far away from the mouth.
Headsets that are made for gaming on iOS devices will work. Notice that the pin has three rings on it because the microphone is integrated into the audio jack. Buy a headset with a boom mike, so that it is near the student's mouth. This will record the student's voice and eliminate the problem of background noise.
Make sure that the student, the facilitator, the location and the equipment are available for each session. Create a weekly schedule and print it. Distribute it to the family and the educational team. Keep one copy with the teacher or in the student's planner/agenda. Ask the facilitators to initial the schedule when they complete a session. Send this home on Fridays.
Tell your facilitators to sign up for an online training session with Anna Krueger. If there will be several facilitators involved and they have different schedules, that's no problem. Each person can book unlimited webcam training sessions with Anna.
Solve Problems Together
Tell your school principal that all the people helping with implementation need to participate in regular webcam sessions with Anna. The purpose of these ongoing sessions is to look at the data, talk about the student's behaviour and motivation and solve problems together.
Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant are comprehensive. The programs can be used from age 5 to adulthood. The content spans from pre-K to grade 12. Many of our clients stay with us for three to five years. They overcome learning difficulties and acquire strong academic skills.