Continue what you started with TSI: Focused Attention. Introducing FA2!
You built a foundation of auditory attention with the Focused Attention program. Now go to the next step, FA2.
- Follows TSI: Focused Attention as Step 2.
- Is language-based (stories, poems, directions).
- Helps you listen and understand speech in noise.
- Improves auditory figure-ground processing.
- Is interesting and fun.
- Only takes a few minutes a day.
- Includes a complete manual.
- Provides four age levels to choose from. (see note below)***
- Is available in two formats.
Being able to pay attention, listen, and understand when background noise is present is referred to as figure-ground processing. Difficulty with figure-ground processing is common. Focus problems and distractibility create problems for many children, often leading to academic, social, and behavioral problems. Adults who have hearing loss due to aging often experience problems with figure-ground processing.
TSI’s Focused Attention programs (Focused Attention and FA2) are designed to address figure-ground processing for listeners of all ages.
The first step—Focused Attention—improves the listener’s auditory attention and helps to build the filter for extraneous distractions. The 2nd step—FA2—improves the listener’s ability to listen to and understand speech in noise.
FA2 is intended for use after a listener has completed the eight albums of Focused Attention. It is important to complete Focused Attention first, as FA2 builds on the foundation of auditory attention established with Focused Attention.
As we’ve discussed in its description, the Focused Attention program contains musical melodies set against a backdrop of noise. The listener works to pay attention to the music and filter out the background noise.
FA2, the next step, is language-based. This means that instead of listening to music, the user hears speech. Content includes a variety of language-based stimuli, such as stories, poems, informative pieces, conversations, and directions to follow. (Some content includes material from some of our 2012 NACD writing contest winners!)
With the contrast of noise and speech, the listener now must not only pay attention to the primary stimulus and ignore the background noise, but they must also be able to process the meaning of what they hear.
Using interactive listening (see below) a listening partner listens along and assesses the user’s success in understanding what they heard. A manual provides assessment questions for each session.
Our goals for the listener are to:
- improve focus
- decrease distractibility
- improve understanding of speech in noise
More About FA²
- FA2 is available as a download through our store or on Compact Disc. Either way, you will listen by plugging headphones into the headphone jack on your computer or CD Player.
- A headphone splitter is included so that both the user and the listening partner can listen at the same time.
- Headphones: The user should have good quality* headphones. We highly recommend using the Sennheiser HD200 Pro** (or higher, such as the HD 518), which are available through our store. We do not recommend using ear buds (in-the-ear earphones) for this program. When a listening partner is recommended (all levels except Adult), the listening partner can also use the Sennheiser headphones or any headphones.
*For the purposes of this program we will define “good quality” as $50 or more, preferably an open-type headphone, and not noise cancelling.
**We have tested the Sennheiser HD200 Pro and recommend it for use with the program. This headphone:
- is comfortable and lightweight
- has an over-the-ear design
- has great sound reproduction
- allows for good perception of foreground vs. background
- is a great price for the quality
Who Can Use the Program
Anyone who has completed TSI: Focused Attention can use FA2. FA2 is appropriate for children and adults who have trouble listening and understanding when background noise is present. This may be due to distractibility or, in the case of many adults, hearing loss.
Being a language-based program, content is available for four different levels:
- Preschool (approximately ages 3-5)
- Adult (15+)
Each level contains about two hours of content.
***Choosing the appropriate level for your child requires considering more than just chronological age. Think more in terms of their cognitive level. Content is based on what would interest a neurotypical individual at that age and be appropriate for their sequential processing level.
Implementation of FA2 is easy, flexible, and doesn’t require much time per day. One session daily, 5 days/week is enough to progress through the program. On days when time permits, it is fine to do an additional listening session.
Sessions are short. They range in length from 1.5 minutes to 8 minutes, generally starting out shorter in the beginning of the program and getting progressively longer as your progress through the sessions.
One level of FA2 contains approximately two hours of content. The number of weeks it takes a listener to complete the program is dependent on: 1) how many sessions are done per day 2) how frequently the listener needs to repeat sessions in order to understand the content.
FA2 users are accustomed to the idea of using “interactive listening” from their experience of using the Focused Attention program. FA2 also uses interactive, at least for the first three levels: Preschool, 6-9, and 10-14. Interactive listening is optional for the Adult (15+) level.
Interactive listening involves having a listening partner—parent, teacher, or therapist—listen along with the child. After the session, or during, the listening partner quizzes the listener about the content to assess whether or not they understood what they heard. The manual that accompanies the program contains sample questions that can be used for this purpose. Or the listening partner can make up new questions that may be more appropriate for that child.
FAQ About FA²
Can the program be used more than once?
Unlike the first Focused Attention program, it is more difficult to use FA2 repeatedly because it is language-based. Once the listener has heard and understood the content, they probably won’t be as interested in to it again. Ask about new, additional content being released for your level.
How do I choose the appropriate age level for FA2?
Choosing the appropriate level for your child requires considering more than just chronological age. Think more in terms of their cognitive level. Content is based on what would interest a neurotypical individual at that age and be appropriate for their sequential processing level.
How will I know how to do the program?
Each level of FA2 included a full manual. The manual contains instructions, sample questions, and content listings.
Does the program work?
Our field testing prior to releasing FA2 resulted in increased scores on a speech-in-noise test, as well as parent reports of functional improvements observed in listening and processing skills.
What happens if I miss a day or a week?
It is fine to pick up where you left off.
What if my child wasn’t able to answer the questions in the manual?
- Be sure the questions are appropriate for your child. You may need to make up your own questions or simply discuss the content with your child to assess whether they understood what they heard. The point is to determine if they understood the content, not to be able to answer the sample questions, necessarily.
- If you feel your child did not understand the content of a session, repeat that session the next time you listen.
- Do not make this a memory task. If a session has multiple parts, pause it and quiz them after each part. Otherwise it is too difficult to remember the content by the end.
Do listeners like doing the program?
Most listeners really enjoy the variety of content in FA2. And kids enjoy the interaction of listening and discussing with a parent.
Does it matter what time of day I do the program?
FA2 can be done any time. Choose a time when attentiveness and alertness are high.