The Birth of Neuroplasticity Interventions: A Twenty Year Perspective

  • Paula TallalEmail author
  • William Jenkins
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 16)


Fast ForWord® was the first, computer/Internet delivered, neuroplasticity-based training program ever developed to enhance neural performance. It grew out of over 25 years of basic and clinical research in two distinct scientific disciplines. One utilized behavioral, electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods to study individual differences in language development and the etiology of developmental language-based learning disabilities (including Specific Language Impairment, Autism and Dyslexia). The other utilized neurophysiological and behavioral methods in animals to study neuroplasticity, that is, changes at the cellular level driven by behavioral training techniques. This chapter reviews (1) how these two lines of research were integrated to form the scientific basis of Fast ForWord® and (2) the steps taken to translate and instantiate our collaborative laboratory research into clinical and classroom interventions that could be scaled up for broad distribution around the world, while remaining efficient, effective and enduring. In 1996, Scientific Learning Corporation (SLC) was co-founded by four research scientists (Paula Tallal, Michael Merzenich, William Jenkins and Steve Miller). To date, nearly three million children in 55 countries have received Fast ForWord® interventions. On any given school day approximately 100,000 children log in to train on one of twelve Fast ForWord®Language, Literacy or Reading programs. More recently, Fast ForWord® language and reading programs are being used increasingly as an effective method for improving English as a second language (ESL), including success for ESL children whose first language is non-alphabetic.


Fast ForWord® Language impairment Dyslexia Central auditory processing Autism Neuroplasticity-based training programs English as a second language (ESL) Phonological processing Phonological awareness Reading impairment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Salk Institute and University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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