FrontRow Benefits for Special Education

A number of studies show that FrontRow classroom sound technology should be a component of the intervention plan for students with special needs. A very broad range of students with learning disabilities are often included under the term "special education," and yet FrontRow technology appears to have a consistent and important effect on outcomes for students with many different kinds of challenges.

Some examples:

FrontRow earns IBCCES Certified Autism Resource badge

  • The Oconto Falls School District (Wisconsin) saw special education referral rates drop from a nine-year average of 7.72% to just 4.6% over an eight-month period after installing classroom sound systems in every K-5 classroom. (Flexer and Long, 2004)
  • The Putnam County School District (Ohio) installed FrontRow (Phonic Ear) classroom sound systems to help students with learning disabilities in mainstream classrooms. Over a five-year period, the number of students needing placement in a learning disability program declined nearly 40% (26 students). Aside from the positive academic outcomes for the students, the district also enjoyed savings of over $67,000 from reduced referrals.
  • The classic Mainstream Amplification Resource Room Study (MARRS) project studied Wabash and Ohio Valley schools (Illinois) from 1977 to 1980 and found that students made significant academic gains (especially reading and language arts) at a faster rate, to a higher level, and at one-tenth the cost of students taken from regular classes and provided instruction in a resource room setting. Also important to note: this was accomplished within the regular classroom and without the complications, expense, and stigmatization associated with special class placement.
  • Researchers found students at risk had significantly better scores on the Children’s Auditory Processing Scale (CHAPPS) after five months’ use of classroom sound technology. (McSporran , Butterworth & Rowson)
  • Classroom sound technology has been shown to have positive effects on behavior for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In a set of studies by Maag & Anderson, students with ADHD and emotional/behavioral disorders began to respond to teacher instructions in about the same amount of time as average students after using classroom sound technology. Other research shows similar positive changes in the listening behavior of students with learning disabilities (DiSarno, Schowalter & Grassa, 2002)
  • As with all students, speech perception abilities improve for children with Down Syndrome when classroom sound technology is in use  (Bennetts & Flynn, 2002; Flexer, Millin & Brown, 1990).
  • Jones, Berg & Viehweg (1989) found that kindergarten children with minimal hearing loss performed as well as hearing peers in a word discrimination task when words were presented through a classroom sound system. This benefit also seems to persist in noisy conditions (Neuss, Blair & Viehweg 1991) . Children with moderate hearing loss using hearing aids or cochlear implants also showed better speech discrimination abilities with classroom sound than with hearing aids or implants alone (Blair, Myrup & Viehweg 1989; Inglehart 2004).*
  • The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) has awarded the Certified Autism Resource badge to FrontRow classroom sound systems. This certification means that FrontRow’s technology meets IBCCES' criteria for helping improve communication and the classroom environment for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

If you're ready to learn more, browse our most popular classroom sound packages or ask us for advice!

*Although classroom sound is beneficial, FrontRow recommends that students with permanent hearing loss who can benefit from amplification use personal FM systems in addition to classroom sound for the best auditory signal. FrontRow classroom sound systems are compatible with almost all personal FM systems.

Further Reading

DiSarno, N., Schowalter, M., & Grassa, P. (2002). Classroom amplification to enhance student performance. Teaching Exceptional Children, July/August, 20-16.

Flexer, C. Turn on sound: an odyssey of sound field amplification. Educational Audiology Association Newsletter, 5(5).

Flexer, C., & Long, S. Sound field amplification: Preliminary information regarding special education referrals. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 25 (1), 29-34.

Maag, J., & Anderson, J. (2007). Sound field amplification to increase compliance to directions in students with ADHD. Behavioural Disorders, 32(4), 238-254.

Maag, J., & Anderson, J. (2006). Effects of Sound-Field Amplification to Increase Compliance of Students with Emotional and Behavior Disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 31(4), 378-393.

Ray, H. (1992). Summary of Mainstream Amplification Resource Room Study (MARRS) adoption data validated in 1992. Norris City, IL: Wabash and Ohio Special Education District.

Ray, H., Sarff, L. S. and Glassford, F. (1984). Soundfield amplification: an innovative educational intervention for mainstreamed learning disabled students. The Directive Teacher, 6, 18-20.

Wilson, R. (1989). The effect of sound field amplification paired with teacher training as an approach to language stimulation with Head Start children. PhD dissertation, University of Toledo.

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