The Lower Leaves and Branches of The Tree corresponds with sound-based therapies that address specific auditory processing skills such as auditory discrimination, memory, and sequencing. Once the foundation for the Voice-Ear-Brain Connection is established, as demonstrated by skills within The Tree of Sound Enhancement Therapy model, advanced skills may simply need ‘fine tuning’.
Fast ForWord is one program at this level. (http://www.scilearn.com/) It makes positive change with temporal sequencing skills which are necessary for the reception and expression of language.
Temporal sequencing is important for the ability to hear finite differences between sounds such as /t/ and /d/. Those sounds are similarly produced and the slight difference in how they are processed in the brain allows for the distinction between them. Some people do not hear the difference and this inability affects language, reading, and learning. Fast ForWord speeds up the ability to hear the difference over time.
Fast ForWord is a family of programs that use an interactive computer-based training system to help students improve their language, reading, and learning skills. There are different levels of skills to develop within their family of programs. By working on the temporal processing of sound, the listener begins to ‘process faster’, allowing for sounds within words to become clearer and easier to perceive, understand, and comprehend.
Earobics: is another program at this level of The Tree. (http://www.earobics.com/) A host of delightful animated characters capture the listener through multi-media games to provide practice and skill training to enhance the acoustic speech signal and develop auditory and phonological skills for speech and language development. For children with phonological and sound discrimination issues, this program allows children to learn at their own pace.
Interactive Metronome: (http://www.interactivemetronome.com/im/index.asp) incorporates the relationship between attention, motor inhibition, speed, rhythm, and motor coordination. This includes the ability to plan and sequence body movements. This ability to sequence is also necessary for the development of ideas, concepts, and purposeful interaction. This computer based interactive program provides real time testing and teaching capabilities. A purposeful tapping body motion helps develop precise control over basic mental functions. The responses are immediate and help the listener better maintain focus over an extended period of time.
The skills that can be addressed at this level of The Tree are many. The programs discussed highlight some of the basic ones like sequencing, memory, discrimination, rhythm, and pitch patterns. Each one of these skills is important when learning to read, spell, calculate, etc.
The special auditory processing skills addressed at this level of The Tree are very important for the development of the more academic skills which are incorporated at the Upper Leaves and Branches of The Tree, as will be discussed in Part 6 of this series. While important for the next level, if therapies at this level are used before the foundation for listening and learning is in place, such as with The Trunk or The Root System, then only splinter skills will develop. Development will be limited to those newly learned skills and restrict the total integrated learning profile.