RAPTbaby™ is RVI’s children’s division. Using more than two decades of clinically validated research, it creates products that support the development of young brains, initially focusing on auditory processing and language formation. Our intent is to put the power of leading edge developmental neuroscience into the hands of parents and caregivers who can, for the first time, use it to deliver cognitive benefits to the children in their care.
Babies don’t enter the world ready to speak or read. In fact, their brains have to undergo an enormous amount of development - building connections among certain brain cells or neurons, pruning others - to create the fundamental systems and capabilities that allow a young child (and later adult) to acquire and process language. Developmental cognitive neuroscience – the study of how the brain builds itself – is a relatively new branch of science which, thanks to the greater use of lab tools like functional MRI and EEGs that allow real-time non-invasive observation of young brains in action, is producing enormously important work on what can go right and wrong in a young brain.
In particular, Dr. April Benasich, the country’s first endowed chair in developmental cognitive neuroscience, and a leader in understanding how children develop and use language, has pioneered lab-based interventions that meaningfully improve infants’ ability to acquire and use language and which RVI is now incorporating in products that can make those benefits available to every child.
RAPTbaby™’s launch products are designed to help babies perform one of their most important jobs – setting up their brains to learn and use language. The infant brain is enormously plastic, highly responsive to outside stimuli that cause it to shape itself to acquire the native language spoken in its environment.
Setting up the brain's language circuity (its acoustic or linguistic maps) requires the infant to focus on rapidly occurring acoustic cues that differentiate individual speech sounds using the baby's Rapid Auditory Processing (RAP) ability. Babies with good RAP skills are adept at distinguishing individual speech sounds and able to create tight connections among the groups of particular neurons that must fire together to correctly process the sounds that occur most often in the surrounding environment – the phonemes of the baby’s native language. Infants that do this well form better acoustic maps allowing them to acquire more language faster which can accelerate their learning overall. Predictably, and not surprisingly, infants skilled at RAP demonstrate superior results on language and reading tests at four and five years old, often associated with better lifelong cognitive outcomes, than infants with weaker RAP skills who form poor acoustic maps and have difficulty learning to read because their brains have trouble matching the appropriate sound to a specific letter.
Our mission is to help all babies develop their brains to achieve the potential they are born with. That means supporting the infant brain’s willingness to work 24/7 to build the neuronal connections and systems that will shape its lifelong cognitive outcomes. RAPTbaby products are designed to provide just that support through both active engagement and even when the baby sleeps!
An in-the-home, child-friendly training “robot”, RAPT AABy™ is designed to optimize a child’s RAP skills, using RAPT™, a patented algorithmically structured audio-visual experience that helps an infant become more attentive to, and faster at processing, minute changes in sounds. Peer-reviewed clinical studies demonstrate that babies exposed to RAPT™ for 8 to 10 minutes a week for six weeks achieve processing speeds more than twice as fast as untrained babies, at levels associated with materially better later language and reading scores and superior lifelong cognitive outcomes. RAPT AABy™ not only replicates the lab training but, because the baby can use it at home multiple times during the week, provides even more opportunity to help the baby’s brain build its attentional and processing skills.
Unlike most sleep sound machines, the Smarter Sleep sound soother was designed with the recognition that even while babies are sleeping, their brains are active. The Smarter Sleep sound machine incorporates patented auditory sequences into soothing melodic and other background tracks to help the infant brain do its job of paying attention to environmental sound changes while the baby sleeps, allowing it to become more proficient at the rapid auditory processing that is so vital to the development of the brain’s linguistic circuitry. By providing that experience, the Smarter Sleep soother is more supportive of brain development than sound devices which are not designed to encourage the brain to pay attention to sound changes – or worse, actually discourage the brain from that function, negating the very important brain-building the baby should be engaging in, even at night.