I recently mentioned that Jack is going to be starting speech therapy in the fall. He has some reading and articulation issues that made me excited to review this fascinating headset from Forbrain - Sound For Life Ltd.
As soon as it arrived, I was excited to dig right in and see how it worked.
Forbrain comes in a nice, soft, zippered case with a foam insert that holds the headset, the charging cable, and the instructions/user manual.
So what is it? Forbrain is an aid to audio processing. It works through bone conduction, enabling the wearer to hear themselves speak. It's recommended for people (not just children!) who need to work on attention, speech, and memory issues. All three of these areas are a challenge for Jack, although we I wasn't aware of the short term memory difficulty until recently, when he was tested for his IEP.
Jack began using Forbrain the day Katie was sick. He offered to read to her, and this usage worked out well for us. Both Katie and Jack enjoy their daily reading time together. I hadn't realized it before, but it's like the "reading buddies" my other kids had when they were in classroom kindergarten and had kids from 5th or 6th grade come in and pair up for reading practice.
The headset is easy to wear, requiring no adjustment from person to person. It turns on with a simple push of a button, and there's a little blue light to let you know that it's on. The front piece is bendy like a pipe cleaner, so you can position it wherever you like. Notice that there's nothing over or going into the ears? That's because Forbrain works through bone conduction, not through the ears. You're hearing from inside your head.
Jack wore it when we read our spelling passages aloud together. The guideline is to wear Forbrain for about 20 minutes a day for best results. The website also provides some exercises for teens and adults. I looked them over, but since Jack just turned 12, I felt they were not a good fit for him.
He also wore it while reading lots and lots of books to Katie throughout the review period. When I asked him to tell me what he thought of using the headset, he responded:
"It's interesting to know what my voice really sounds like," says Jack. "I think this would be a good way for people to learn how to read. And I like that I can speak whale when I wear it."
Okay, the speaking whale thing I should probably clarify. When Jack puts the headset on, he makes noises like Dory does when she's "speaking whale" in Finding Nemo. He likes the way it sounds when he can hear it through the headset.
Overall, using Forbrain has been a positive experience for Jack, and we will continue using it. When Jack starts speech therapy in the fall, I will talk to his speech/language pathologist about it, and see what her recommendations are.
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