Auditory Integration Training

Many children with neurodevelopmental disorders have hearing challenges which impede their development. Auditory processing disorders make it difficult for children to make meaning of what is heard. Sound sensitivities (also called “hyperacusis”) cause children to hear “too well.” Along with overwhelming the auditory system and causing auditory processing difficulties, this can be extremely painful for some children.

Dr. Guy Bérard (the developer of AIT) believed that these challenges in the hearing process make it difficult for children to learn and therefore cause behavioural issues.

What is Auditory Integration Training (AIT)?
AIT is a foundational, non-invasive, risk-free auditory training program. It works to re-train the hearing mechanism and thereby improve auditory processing difficulties and lessen sound sensitivities. When a child can process sound better and sound sensitivities decrease, he or she can then learn more effectively from his or her environment. Remediation therapies can then progress at a faster pace.

History
AIT was developed by Dr. Guy Bérard – an ear, nose and throat specialist in France. He developed AIT to cure his own hearing issues (hearing loss and tinnitus) over 30 years ago. He worked with thousands of patients and created the current AIT protocol which has since been validated by 23 clinical studies.

How is Training Conducted?
The AIT protocol consists of twenty listening sessions over a 10-day period (two 30 minute sessions per day). Specifically designed and manufactured audio equipment is used to play electronically modified and filtered music through high quality earphones. Before receiving the treatment protocol, a listening test is performed on the child (if possible) to discover whether any customization of the music is necessary. The listening sessions can take place in the practitioner’s office or the parent can supervise the sessions in the home environment. The AIT protocol can be repeated yearly, if required.

Why Does it Work
When listening to the modulated music, the muscles in the middle ear constantly change and readjust. This movement provides a kind of “exercise” that strengthens the ears’ ability to modulate sound. It is believed that the modulated music also causes the fluid in the inner ear to move back and forth producing a “massage” that strengthens the hearing mechanism. Theories of relevant professionals state that the intermittent and random nature of the modulated music remap the areas of the brain involved with processing auditory information.

Benefits
Specific auditory benefits include improvements in:

– Auditory Processing
– Receptive language
– Improved articulation
– Diminished sound sensitivity

The vestibular system (balance system) is located within the inner ear and therefore benefits from the AIT protocol. The vestibular system is also known as “the gateway of the senses.” Post AIT improvements have been reported in vision, touch, taste, and smell as well as overall sensory integration.

When the hearing obstacles are lessened or removed, the child is then able to more effectively learn from his or her environment. Benefits have also been noted in focus, speech, academic ability, socialization, behaviour and academic performance.

Scientific Evidence

The AIT protocol has been validated by 23 clinical studies. In their review of these studies, Dr. Bernard Rimland and Dr. Stephen M. Edelson of the Autism Research Institute, state,

“AIT does, in fact, appear to be a worthwhile, frequently beneficial intervention which confers improvement in a number of symptoms, in a significant proportion of disorders on the autism spectrum.”

For the complete list of studies and their entire review, visit:

www.autism.com/index.php/understanding_ait_summary

For access to 2013 and 2014 scientific research, please contact paulette@rainbowconnections.ca.

Book by Dr. Guy Berard

Hearing Equals Behavior – documents the development of the AIT Protocol

Books by Annabel Stehli

The Sound of a Miracle – A mother’s story of her daughter’s recovery from autism
Dancing in the Rain and The Sound of Falling Snow – Testimonials from the AIT protocol

www.georgianainstitute.org/books.htm

Useful Websites

www.georgianainstitute.org

www.aitinstitute.org

www.filteredsoundtraining.net

Video on AIT

 

To inquire about AIT services, contact paulette@rainbowconnections.ca.