One of the best things about having a baby is watching him learn new things--first smiles, first steps, first words. The language milestones carry on for a few years. With an 18-month-old in our house, someone often says, "Hey, did you hear that? He said a new word!" I love hearing how a little one mispronounces things. Love becomes wuv, duck changes to guck, and three sounds like free. And we laugh and think it's adorable. But it's no longer cute when a child grows into an adult and still speaks that way. Nor is it fun for the one who cannot be understood because of poor speech. The embarrassment and frustrations become stronger the older the person gets. That's the point we've gotten to in our house. Embarrassed. Frustrated. That's why I was excited to learn of Forbrain - Sound For Life Ltd.
My lone girl in my sea of boys has always been the one to deal with a mild speech sound disorder. When she was younger, it was more pronounced. She struggled with S-blend words, dropping the S completely. Instead of star, spy, and sky, she'd say tar, py, and ky. I remember vividly the day she mastered those words. Unfortunately, many people still had a difficult time understanding her. I researched on my own and got some exercises from a friend who is trained in speech therapy. We worked on some of her other issues. And worked and worked. Over time, she learned to correct the problems. Except one. Her only speech issue now is pronouncing the /r/ sound. And as much as we try and as many of the "tricks" I've used, we can't seem to overcome it. She is 8-years-old now, so I don't expect her to outgrow it at this point. Also, because she's older, she's more aware of it. She gets extremely embarrassed and sometimes angry when someone (usually a family member) cannot understand what she's saying. I was at a loss. Then came the opportunity to use a bone conduction headset.
The Forbrain headset is designed to "amplify sound through bone conduction." It's purpose is to help a user to process information more clearly and to understand communications better by focusing on his own voice through a highly sensitive microphone and dynamic filter that creates an auditory feedback loop. The headset sits on the temples, leaving the ears unblocked. This position allows the user to hear the surrounding sounds normally while efficiently concentrating on his own voice.
Forbrain is beneficial for improving a variety of skills:
- Verbal working memory
- Short-term memory
- Verbal fluency
- Written expression
I was ecstatic that we were getting this resource. My girl, not so much. I tried explaining the benefits of it and that hopefully this was going to help her. I showed her the video describing it. I assured her, again, that it was ok to need to work extra hard to correct this, that there was nothing "wrong" with her. Still, she was hesitant. That is until the day it arrived in the mail. Her brothers oohed and aahed over the "awesome headset" and wished they were the ones who got to use it. Everyone took a turn trying it out. Each time, you could see the look of surprise on their faces as they heard their own voice. Because this device allows you to hear your voice as it actually sounds and not how you hear yourself, the kids were all confused. "That doesn't sound like me." It made a good discussion about the auditory process.
Forbrain is simple to use. You place it on your head and talk. That's it. My daughter wears it 5 days a week for 15 minutes a day while reading aloud. There are many more possibilities though. A child can wear the headset alone or with a parent or professional. Forbrain can be used to help almost anybody any age (3+) in multiple ways.
This is just a sample of the possibilities of use:
- Reading aloud
- Speech preparation
The Forbrain device is a stimulating teaching tool. You should expect to use it for 6-10 weeks to see results. My daughter has been using it just barely 6 weeks. Though she has not mastered that tricky /r/ sound just yet, I have definitely seen an improvement. I really wish I had recorded her reading at the beginning and then recorded her reading now so she herself could hear the difference. Another benefit from using this is that she is willing once again to work on her pronunciation. For a while, every time I tried to help her, she would get upset and become silent. Now, her attitude has improved and she's willing to try. She gets the device out of its case and puts it on to read by herself most days without being reminded to. I asked what she thinks of Forbrain.
"It's cool. It sounds like an echo when I talk."
I'm excited to see what she can accomplish with continued use of this award-winning device.
You can connect with Forbrain -- Sound For Life Ltd on the following social media sites:
The Forbrain headset helps people with many types of difficulties or even for those whoe are simply looking for improvement. If you'd like to see how others used this product, please read the reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.