There are so many children and adults these days with learning issues, whether they have delayed or unclear speech, or poor memory and focus skills. My Middlest has some focus issues, and my youngest has had some speech issues, so we were interested in being on the review for a new product by Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd that uses an auditory feedback loop to improve attention and speech. I was particularly interested as I know that there are a number of families in my local homeschool group who deal with a variety of disabilities and delays that might be helped by a product like this. Nothing beats having personal experience with a product in order to offer a beneficial recommendation.
So what is Forbrain, and how does it work? The basic science (As I understand it~ please visit the website for the technical terms and more thorough and detailed descriptions) behind Forbrain: Forbrain uses a headset with a microphone that sends the soundwaves produced by the wearer through a high frequency filter that then conducts the sound directly through the jaw bone to the brain.
To some degree the effect is to have a clearer picture of what everyone else around them hears (my youngest said it was like listening to a recording of himself), and more rapid input to the brain (since the soundwaves don't have to travel through the air and through the ear canal).
It also helps the wearer to focus on the words they are saying, which improves attention. Kind of reminds me of when I need to concentrate on what I'm thinking, reading, or saying and there is excess noise around me. Sometimes I will plug my ears with my hands so I can focus~ Forbrain does something similar, without blocking out the surrounding sounds. Forbrain is not limited to use with children~ it is appropriate for a number of situations, and all ages.
How and why did we use Forbrain in our home?
My Youngest has had some slight speech clarity issues. When he was really little he was sometimes referred to as the Hawaiian baby, because although he had the correct number of syllables, he used mostly vowels, and very few consonants in his speech. That has changed, but he still has trouble speaking clearly at times (I have to work to have him use his lips to help form sounds~ he tends to speak like a ventriloquist whenever possible.. ACK!).
You may remember the poetry review we did a few weeks back? After that review was over, I had him use the Forbrain headset while he recited to me, and we also worked on a few things like "r." After some weeks of use there is definitely a difference in the clarity of his speech. Sometimes it is rather subtle, but it is there. Check out this compare/contrast video I made with snippets from some of the poems.
My fifteen year old found some benefit from Forbrain as well. He had been having difficulty paying attention to his science text. He would read and reread the text and still not take in what he was reading, because his mind would wander. I suggested that he wear the Forbrain headset and read the text aloud instead of silently. He found an increased ability to retain what he was reading, which was definitely a positive impact on his learning.
Because it was difficult to really quantify this effect, we did a little trial. I gave him 3 sections of Bible verses to memorize, and we timed how long it took him to learn them well enough to say them without looking. The first he memorized strictly by reading silently, the second by reading out loud, and the final section reading out loud using the Forbrain headset.
Here are his results:
Silent memorization: Isaiah 45: 18 (39 words) took 8 minutes
Read aloud: Ephesians 4:1-3 (47 words) took 6 minutes
Read aloud with Forbrain headset: (41 words) took 3 minutes
I would say that was a fairly significant increase in attention and memory!
The Forbrain headset comes with downloadable pdf file that includes a number of exercises. The first set are used to improve singing, rhythm, fluency, pronunciation, and diction. These were deemed a little cheesy by my kids, but they gave the idea of how to use the headset for more regular musical and speech improvement. The next section has exercises particularly geared towards teens, and specifically those with ADD/ADHD. Some include speaking positive phrases, and others include some techniques for focusing attention, and dealing with other behaviors. Sort of "The Power of Positive Thinking" concept here. Take it or leave it, as you will. ;)
I realize that my boys don't have the severe issues that others deal with (for which I am very grateful), and this tool was useful for them. I know that there are others on the TOS Review Crew who ARE dealing with more severe issues, so if this is something you are interested in, I highly recommending going through the link at the bottom of this post, and reading more reviews.
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As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.