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The Science and Research Behind Cellfield Reading Therapy


The process of reading involves the processing of visual, auditory, oral, and motor functions in the brain. These processes all occur in the sub-cortical areas of the brain involved in automatic functions. If these processing components are disturbed in their interrelatedness, it causes the brain to contemplate cognitively what the sub-cortical areas are not doing automatically, and it starts to overload the active working memory which is used to hold information for short periods of time as the brain contemplates the detail of the story, identifies main ideas, and forms a workable comprehension of the story, article, or word math problem. This prevents the executive function from performing the highest level of processing tasks required for fluent, age appropriate reading speed.

Normal reading requires high-speed visual recognition of symbols (letters, words, and sentences). Problems in some aspects of ocular motility (binocular eye movement control) can materially impede the visual recognition and therefore affect a person’s ability to read.

Cellfield intervention is aimed to remediate multiple causes of language and learning difficulties by targeting several deficits concurrently in phonological, visual, and visual to phonological processing. The strongest Cellfield treatment outcome is phonological processing – the ability to decode unfamiliar words.

What are the Steps of the Cellfield Intervention? 

The Cellfield Intervention program begins in Phase I with reading materials from a computer environment to target working memory. The high level of multifunction and simultaneous activity creates conditions of high brain plasticity and ‘turbo charges’ concentration, attention, motivation, and retention, allowing learning to take place in the small window of time that is available in working memory.

Phase I is the ‘Neural Redevelopment’ conducted over 10 sessions of about 1 hour per session per day over two weeks. The students are assigned a few worksheets each day to complete before the next session. These assignments correspond with the current work in progress during the Cellfield sessions and also relate the visual image of the computer screen to paper and writing. The objective of Phase I is to break down the root causes of resistance and then to ensure that the child makes a sustainable transition into reading printed text streams with fluency and good comprehension

On average, children (and adults) emerge from Cellfield intervention in Phase I with remarkable gains in the skills necessary for reading. These skills need to be consolidated, developed, and automatized in the Cellfield Phase II intervention. Phase II has a central focus of reading fluency support. It composes of ten1-hour sessions (1 hour/week) delivered over ten weeks in accordance with the Operations Manual (August 2014) issued by Cellfield. The student is guided into the world of reading, avoiding the negative “trigger points” of the “over-habituated” and “skill-and-drill” past.

Phase II requires guided reading at home, supervised or assisted by parent or guardian.  Coming to the centre once a week to maintain the momentum of learning from Phase I and to assist the parents to continue building the momentum at home. An assignment book is used as a record of the student’s progress and strengthens the connection between home and practice.

Pre-Phase I assessment and Post-Phase II assessments are conducted as prescribed by Cellfield. The Cellfield Program is a 12-week program excluding assessments and eye examination.

Link for research supporting Cellfield: http://www.cellfield.com/?page=docs&width=1263

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