Monday, June 13, 2016

Forbrain Review: For Reading, Speech, Attention, and more!

     I was, and am still,  sooooo super  excited that our family got the opportunity to review Forbrain.  This device, which was sent to us by Forbrain - Sound For Life Ltd, uses bone conduction to assist in auditory processing.  Auditory processing affects many different areas from speech and reading fluency, to attention and awareness.
Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd ReviewForbrain is a headphone like device.  There is no piece that goes in your ear, instead the "amplifier" is in front of your ear on top of the bone conductor (top of your jaw bone).  This allows the sound to not just be heard but felt through bone conduction.  
     When we can both hear and feel something, it changes how our brain processes the information.  Taping into our brain on another level can increase attention, memory, and sensory processing.  The brains ability to hear all the sounds while also feeling them can help to better develop speech, fluency in speaking and reading, memory, concentration, attention, better communication skills, self awareness, written expression, focus, and builds self confidence.  It can also help with ADD and ADHD.  
     Are you intrigued yet?  I know I was!  When I heard about it I thought this could really be a great tool to use to help a few of my kids with their reading and speech skills!  I spent a lot of time on the Forbrain website to learn more and found this VIDEO to be very helpful.

     When we first got our package, I was super impressed with the quality of it all- nothing about this is chintzy!  Like I said earlier, Forbrain is like a set of headphones but it doesn't go in the ear, the bone conductors sit right 
in front of the ear.  The microphone is adjustable so that you can position it near the mouth. It has in internal rechargable battery that uses USB.   The battery, by the way, last forever!!! The USB cord came with it but it is the same as my windows phone so I just used that charger ;)  
     When we are not using it, it lives in the super sturdy black case it came with.  There is a spot for everything so nothing gets rattled around.  Plus, it makes it look so cool everytime you take it out-HA!

I really wanted this for J9b

  My son J9b has some speech... things.  We have taken him in and have had him checked for hearing and speech over the years.  Everyone says he's fine.
Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review   J9b had his adenoids and tonsils takes out at the age of 4.  Prior to that, He sounded like a drunk russian with cotton balls in his mouth!  Every year since his surgery his speech has improved but he still has a bit of a lisp, a stutter, and has a "lazy mouth" (his only diagnosis).  The slower he speaks, the better.  But if he is talking fast (his usual) he stutters, skips words, uses lots of sound effects and laughs while he talks.  He often does not form his words correctly and we are always helping him with that.
     J9 is also one of my "slow to read" guys.  He has some dyslexia tendencies (like his older brother A10) but otherwise is doing fantastic in school.

Who else can use it?

     Everyone!  From Pre-K kids though adulthood!  Because Forbrain is designed for such a wide range of things; from early talkers to public speaking.  It is applicable for everyone!

How we used Forbrain:

     It is suggested that preschoolers use it for 10 minutes a day, children use it for 15 minutes a day, and adults for 20.  All should use it for 6-10 weeks, then take a rest period so the brain can progress without the device, then start another 6-10 week session. 
    Now, I will be honest, we didn't quite get that in.  May is an extremely busy month in our household.  I run two programs and each wrap up for the year, which include a formal dinner and ball for one and a year-end party for another.  Add to the state testing, research projects, and end of the year homeschool reporting.
     So...  We used it more like 3 days a week for 5 weeks. Now that all the crazy end of the year stuff is over, I plan on doing it again over the summer. 
      The lessons consisted of different activities from reading with your child, them reading on their own, repeating things back to you, etc.  But really, you could apply the use of Forbrain to just about anything where the child/student needs to talk.  
A10 using the headset while doing math
     As part of another review, A10 was trying out a new math program.  While computer based, it does not read the problems or read the directions out loud to you.  A10 was immediately frustrated with that as reading takes a lot of energy.  The first couple days I was helping him.  He can read just fine but he was not comprehending what he was reading very well.  When read to, he does fine.  This was taking more time than I had to give.  Then I had this brilliant idea!  He can "read to himself"!
     He got out Forbrain went back to math, reading outloud again but this time with the headset and voila!  His comprehension immediately got better and he didn't need my help as often!  Success!!
Using It

 It was easy to use.  You didn't really "feel" anything, you just heard yourself like you were speaking in a microphone.  I had to keep reminding my boys, at first, to "talk normally" but that was the only real reminder I needed to give.

  We followed the directions for sitting and making sure that we gave our best attitude and effort.  After 2 weeks, I included the rest of my readers in the Forbrain fun, but in a slightly different way- I will get to that.  For A10 and J9 though, when we were doing our "Forbrain Time" we did it the way it was described in the instructions.

A10b - 5th grade - He  really enjoyed using this and immediately noticed that there were things he was not doing or saying correctly.  The first week especially was a real eye opener for him.  Understanding words and what they are really came alive for him!  It was exciting to see!  The connection for him was sooooo much different then when not wearing 
the Forbrain headset.  

     I remember the first day asking him why he thought he kept pausing during one of the exercises.  He said he didn't realize that his reading speed was so "off" before. 
     We both noticed that his reading fluency has gotten a lot better in the last month and his reading confidence.  I also think his immediate comprehension skills for his own reading has gotten better.  If you read to him, he does fine, if he reads it, he spends all his energy on the reading and doesn't always know what he read.  This has definitely helped with that! 

J9 - 3rd grade - He is the child I described in detail above.  The first day we used it he cried.  Great intro huh?  I don't think J9 realized how differently he spoke and the instantaneous realization for him was emotional.  
     Now, in all fairness, he is not "that bad".  People can understand him, it's not a "man that kid has speech problems" kind of a thing.  Sometimes you have to ask him to slow down and there are different words you have to help him with if he keeps saying them wrong.  But for J, he often could not identify the difference in what he was saying and what you were asking him to change.  With Forbrain he could!  This was a startling thing for him and I think that is where the tears were from.

     As the weeks progressed, his confidence got better and we started noticing different things in his speech.  It was over-all more clear, he didn't seem to be stuttering as much and his connection between words and what he was saying got so much better!  Also, he finally seems to have gotten the sounds worked out for words like "actually" which he would normally say as "atchalee".  This is HUGE progress!

Everyone else

     I started using Forbrain during our group reading time.  When it's your turn to read, you get the headset!  Everyone thought it was cool and it made everyone pay a little more attention.  Through this experiment,  I noticed that I have a couple other kids that I think would really benefit from using  Forbrain as an actual thing and not just during reading time.  I plan on implementing that over the summer as well.

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Forbrain – Sound For Life Ltd Review
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