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are there cheaper alternatives for Fastforward?


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Any solid, intensive, thorough, phonics program could be an alternative. How old is your daughter? What are your concerns about her reading? If we have more info we can give better tailored suggestions.




Reading Program Junkie

dd(10) dd(6) ds(4) ds(1)

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Debbie -


I know some providers will allow you to do the program at home. I think this really reduces the cost. The moderator, Maxine Young, of the yahoo group "Auditory Processing" does this. You have your child do the program on the computer and the data is sent to her each day and then she adjusts the program.



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Is there a reason the school district will not pay for it? My district has been paying for Fast Forword for the past five years. They didn't exactly volunteer to do so, but the law favors scientifically validated programs, and Fast Forword is one of the few that actually is.

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My daughter has auditory processing disorder. I don't choose to go through my school district for anything because I don't want the red tape. I will go to the yahoo group and check it out.


Issues are delayed language, below grade level reading comprehension (related to language issue, I know). She reads out loud great but has problems understanding what she's reading. I'm going to find out about teaching visualization techniques to help her.


Thanks again for all your replies.



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  • 1 month later...
Guest figetfam

Our youngest son (8yr old) started FastForward at home about a month ago. It is very expensive, about $2000 for Language 2. His speech therapist is the administrator and she can view his progress online. We've pulled back on his speech therapy sessions to help pay for it. After 4 years of therapy, his speech was improving but his auditory processing, working memory, reading and other academics skills were still very much delayed. We needed to try something new. Honestly, this is a step of faith for our family. So far, we are very happy with what we are seeing. He is now easily answering questions (correctly!) after hearing passages read to him. He's comprehending much more in our bible, history and pleasure reading. He has not moved into any reading skill traiining with FF so we have not seen improvment in that. If I could find a less expensive alternative, I'd jump at it. For now, we're seeing progress and happy about it.

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I am in the same situation you are in Debbie. I just ordered the Visual/Verbalization (I think is what it is called) from Linda Mood-Bell or Linda Bell-Mood to see if I can help our son since we can't afford FF. Another area that we have focused on is vocabulary - this also seems to help our son be able to "understand" better what is being read.



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Guest KathyinGermany

My son is 11 and dyslexic. We have tried lots of things, and finally we are beginning to see some progress, but it has been a long slog.


Before going to FastForWord (which we did last year--a real hassle and expense--Earobics is a better option to start with for auditory processing), you need to figure out what piece of the puzzle is missing for her reading comprehension.


Is her phonemic awareness good? Do you suspect CAPD?


If her phonemic awareness is good, then FastForWord is definately not for you. I didn't think the reading part was any better than other software you can get, especially for the price.


Is her reading fluency good? Does she substitute or skips words, but keeps the meaning?


If substituting words is a problem, more phonics and decoding work may be needed. I'm looking into Webster's syllabary for this, which is addressed in a different thread. Try http://www.thephonicspage.org/index.html for an explanation.


There are loads of other phonics programs out there, some better than others. Try Click and Read phonics (about $60) and www.starfall.com (free) for some pretty good software options.


Does she see the story in her head as she reads (or hears others read)?


If not, the Seeing Stars or Visualizing and Verbalizing by Lindamood Bell (order from Gander Publishing or find used) might help.


Idea Chain is a software program that might help too. Unfortunately, both options are rather expensive.


Can she remember the basic plot and derive the main point?


If not, you can try some basic worksheet and graphic organizers (Read, Write, Think! is a good resource--go to the student resource link for a list of their online writing generators--each comes with a lesson plan) We have been using Scholastic Read 180 (not sold individually unfortunately) and this sort of stuff is widely available in a lot of workbooks.


If short and long-term memory seems to be a problem, you could try Brainware Safari, which works on brain processing skills. I bought it at a great discount from HomeschoolBuyersCo-op. Lexia also has cognative skills software.


Is she able to summarize a short passage after you read it to her?


If expressive language problems (she knows it but has trouble spitting it out), you could try working with dictation for awhile and practicing summarization verbally, or taking dictation with some coaching.


Is her vocabulary good?


If not, explicitely teaching vacabulary and keywords and how to answer typical comprehension questions could help.


I found these websites to be helpful for standardized testing prep for reading comprehension (we do the Terra Nova) http://jc-schools.net/terranova-res.htm and http://www.henry.k12.ga.us/uge/crct.htm . Surprisingly, I found doing these tests online helped focus his attention and he was willing to work on his weak areas afterwards. The second web site is one of the best I've found after a lot of searching and covers all topics.


Does she comprehend better when she reads to herself?


Then maybe she just needs more practice, and time to read the passage silently. Eventually, training in skimming and scanning could be helpful.


Or perhaps she is easily distracted or feeling anxious. Stress balls, taking breaks, changing positions, fabric squares to fiddle with, etc... help my son with being figety and or anxious. And he likes soft classical music or the radio in the background--he has to have background noise all the time, which I find annoying. Maybe the light is glaring off the paper. So try different things and find what's comfortable.


Actually, I have this problem myself sometimes, especially when I read a long chapter or several chapters to my son--the mind just sort of tunes out while the mouth keeps on going. Breaking things up at logical points might help, if it doesn't hinder the story flow too much. Maybe talking (but not my thoughts) just inteferes with my process of making pictures in my head and asking little questions to myself like "Oh, what happens next?" "Gee, this reminds me of another story I read" or "that doesn't seem right."


Maybe asking for a running commentary on the second (third?) reading would help after modeling it yourself.


Anyway, comprehension is not an easy puzzle to solve, and since (if I remember correctly) she is still pretty young, I wouldn't jump into the most expensive option right away.



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Guest KathyinGermany

Oops, I see that she has been diagnosed with CAPD. If so, it seems puzzling to me that she reads aloud fluently. Then apparently she has been able to relate letters to sounds and so forth pretty well already.


I know FastForWord has a lot of research behind it, but also some studies show that the results aren't lasting or transferable. I would definately do the Earobics first for about $50 before investing 10-20 times that amount.


Some things I didn't like about FastForWord:


---extreemly tedious and long (good thing it was $$$ because we might have given up!)

---the sounds are very distorted in the beginning levels--I sometimes helped my son get over a level because it was so much clearer in the next. Rather than speaking more slowly and dragged out, the sound file is slowed down and it sounds really artificial and robotic.

---it caused our computer to crash numerous times, and my son lost his accumulated points several times. Like most professional type software, the software maintains an internet link to the master site and doesn't work if this link is interrupted. So frustrating, even though we have high speed service and a lot of RAM.


I think it helped, but I'm not sure it was the best use of our resources for all the time and tears it caused. For that kind of money, you might try neurofeedback and therapy. http://bio-medical.com/news_display.cfm?mode=EEG&newsid=73


There is Christian Neurotherapy Association whose members travel around to do really in-depth screenings at churches for homeschool families and trains parents in the therapy, but I can't find the link. I have heard good things about it.



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