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The Learning Success Blog

Auckland Uni Reviews 15 Programs for Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & ADHD

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 12, 2015 at 4:43 PM

Peter Barnes

A team of academics from Auckland University’s Centre for Brain Research and School of Psychology has produced an objective overview of 15 computer-based and group or whole class behavioural intervention programs that are designed to remediate learning disorders.

They point out that advances in the scientific understanding of disorders such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have paved the way for the development of programs aimed at helping the  estimated one in five students with these disorders.

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Topics: Attention, Learning Difficulties, Dyslexia, Reading

What's the Latest in Neuroscience, Working Memory, Attention & Autism?

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 19, 2015 at 2:38 PM

Peter Barnes


At a recent neuroscience conference in the USA, I heard Dr Martha Burns give a wide-ranging talk summarising the latest neuroscience research about learning and learning disorders. She related the latest research findings to how the Fast ForWord & Reading Assistant programs improve language skills, reading and learning capacity for many children.

Dr Burns is a neuroscientist, author of over 100 journal articles and multiple books, and a leading expert on how children learn.  Her talk covered topics including autism, attention & listening skills, working memory, self-regulation & cognitive control, dyslexia, intelligent tutoring systems, the neuroscience of learning, goal setting, and what's next for neuroscience. 

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Topics: Attention, Dyslexia, Memory, Autism, Confidence & Resilience, Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity

New Dyslexia Research & Fast ForWord by Dr Martha Burns

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 19, 2015 at 12:33 PM

Peter Barnes

"What's the new research on dyslexia", asked Dr Martha Burns in a recent presentation.

Dr Martha Burns is a neuroscientist, author of over 100 journal articles and multiple books, and a leading expert on how children learn. 

She explained, "Well, this just came out in the journal 'Biological Psychiatry' this year on the disruption of functional brain networks in dyslexia. It's from Dr Sally Shaywitz 's laboratory.

Neuroscientists are trying to figure out what distinguishes a child with dyslexia from a typically developing child. Is there a way we can identify dyslexia based on understanding the brain? What is it about the brain that's different? 

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Topics: Brain Science, Dyslexia

Where is The Neuroscience of Learning Going Next on Dyslexia & ESL?

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 18, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Peter Barnes

Where is neuroscience going next?

"The big question neuroscience is trying to answer now is, can you predict who will benefit from intervention", said Dr Martha Burns in a recent presentation at a conference in Tuscon, USA.

Dr Martha Burns is a neuroscientist, author of over 100 journal articles and multiple books, and a leading expert on how children learn. 

Here is a summary of her presentation:

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Topics: English Language Learners, Brain Science, Dyslexia

How to Treat Dyslexia - What We Have Learnt in 40 Years

Posted by Tilly Stevens on March 8, 2015 at 9:30 AM

Tilly Stevens

In an interesting article, Dr. Martha Burns, adjunct professor at Northwestern University, Chicago, USA explains the journey of discovery that neuroscientists have undertaken in the past 40 years to understand the cause of dyslexia, as well as the most effective means of treating this debilitating condition.

Dr.Burns explains the history of our understanding of dyslexia, as it began in the 1970s with the recognition of dyslexia in patients as a developmental reading disorder. At the time the technology to understand the cause of the condition did not exist and thus the focus was on identification and treatment methods. However, Burns explains that this was merely treating the symptoms of the condition and was ineffective on eliminating the root of the problem.

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Topics: Dyslexia

Dyslexia in Children - The Brain of a Struggling Reader

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 10, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Peter Barnes

If you could look inside the brain of a struggling reader, you would notice it is not the same as the brain of a child who finds reading easy.  How do we know this?

Well, thanks to advances in neuroscience and brain imaging technology, scientists can actually "look inside" brains. Here is a really good infographic (courtesy of We are Teachers & Scientific Learning Corporation) which explains the key differences.  

Includes four tips for teachers (and parents) to help overcome dyslexia in children.


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Topics: Brain Science, Dyslexia

Brodie & Dyslexia - More Success after Fast ForWord

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 24, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Peter Barnes

Brodie is an 11 year old boy whose struggles with dyslexia were severely impacting his self confidence, until he did the Fast ForWord program to improve his reading. 

After he competed the online neuroscience based program at home, he found reading much easier - he was able to read Harry Potter books for the first time - and he regained his previous happy, outgoing personality.

He also found that his memory was much better, thanks to the Fast ForWord exercises that develop working and long term memory.  He learnt Pavarotti’s "Nessun Dorma" by heart for a school performance.

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Topics: Dyslexia, Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity Success Stories

Brodie & Dyslexia - How Fast ForWord Helped His Reading and Confidence

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 26, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Peter Barnes

"I woud never have begun to imagine that he could make progress on the scale that he has. It 's been absolutely incredible".

That's Heather Walker, grandmother of Brodie, an 11 year old severely dyslexic boy, describing the extraordinary improvements that the Fast ForWord program made to his reading.

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Topics: Dyslexia, Learning Capacity Success Stories

Reading Programs Evaluated - is Reading Recovery a 'failed program'?

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 19, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Peter Barnes

The widely used Reading Recovery program does not work for children with dyslexia or who are really struggling to read, according to Professor James Chapman of New Zealand's Massey University.

His comments about this reading program were reported recently by Jewel Topsfield, Educator Editor for The Age newspaper in Melbourne.

Professor Chapman said "Reading Recovery needs to clean up its act and change its approach or be ditched and replaced by a program far more contemporary than one devised in the '70s that hasn't changed."  He added that children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties needed systematic instruction in 'phonemic awareness', with children taught to sound out words.

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Topics: Dyslexia

How Auditory Processing Disorder and Dyslexia are Related

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 19, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Peter Barnes

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and Dyslexia are related conditions. LearnFast interviewed Dr Martha Burns, international expert on dyslexia and APD, about how they are connected and how we can treat them.

Key points from the interview included:

  • A child identified with APD in kindergarten is likely to show signs of dyslexia in year 3
  • Auditory processing disorders are treatable
  • There are various kinds of dyslexia
  • Dyslexia is a learning difference, not a disease

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Topics: Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia

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