|In order to educate and inform our visitors,
we recommend that you
read the following transcripts on AIT carefully. AIT is a treatment
does not GUARANTEE improvement to the person undergoing treatment.
But has given remarkable results to a sizeable percentage of the
population under consideration.
- Sharda Ramlackhan M.A.
"Input" from Dr. Guy Berard
Findings of Unexpected Change
The aim of AIT is to correct hearing problems,
and as you know, I have found that certain speific hearing problems,
such as distortions, lack of selectivity, dyslaterally, painful
hearing, delay in response time, peaks of hypersensitive hearing,
etc. could contribute to learning disabilities, autism, and various
behaviour problems which are typically labelled by specialists according
to the existing symptoms.
I used to ask my parents to give me a detailed
report of their condition three months after the end of the treatment.
I was sometimes surprised to be informed, in addition to the concerns
relevant to the problems for which they had been treated, that some
unexpected responses had occurred:
Sight: Several patients told me that their
sight had changed, generally improved, and that they had to change
their glasses, by reducing the necessary diopters. An explanation
can be proposed in thinking that with the brain cells of sight being
very close to those of hearing, AIT mat increase the blood circulation
in this area. The vision cells could not take advantage of this
physiological situation. This is just an opinion, not scientific
Hand Dominance: Left hand dominance changing
to right handedness was sometimes indicated; and the opinion expressed
previously can be suggested for this change as well. I used to tell
my trainess the story of a mother who was anxious because her daughter
was left-handed. I was treating this girl for her learning disabilites,
and her mother used to inform me of the improvement at school; but
she continually complained about the persistence of the left hand
dominance. All of a sudden, six months after the end of AIT, she
phoned me, excited and enthusiastic: "Dr. Berard, my daughter
has become right handed during the night ! She asked me why I had
put her teacup with the handle ob the left side, and this seemed
wrong to her ! " Maybe the connections between the billions
of synapses was modifying everyday, according to the sounds of the
environment, until the moment when the last contact was established
at the place for the left brain to control the right hand.
As I have always indicated, the aim of AIT
is to correct hearing problems. AIT should not be considered to
change conditions such as vision, hand dominance, or other problems.
Practitioners of AIT will observe some other responses at times;
and if these are noted frequently, it would be good to share these
observations with SAIT.
AIT: How Old is Old Enough ?
One of many yet-to-be answered questions
is how old is old enough to begin AIT ? Guy Berard's position has
been that, to be on the safe and conservative side, AIT should not
be ordinarily given before age 3 years. Some authorities on hearing
and child development agree, suggesting that the auditory system
is too immature in younger children. Additionally there is concern
that young children may not effectively protest to a loud, and possibly
Many practitioners say that there is no minimum
age for AIT. Pressure toward dropping the age limit has been mounting
from both parents and practitioners, who point to the advantages
of early intervention. Some have used AIT with children as young
as two years of age or closer.
Pressure toward dropping the age limit to
3 years has been mounting from both parents and practitioners, who
point to the advantages of early intervention. Some have used AIT
with children as young as two years of age. As he has learned with
apparent positive results with some 3 year olds and in the absence
of known negative or adverse results. Dr. Berard has reconsidered;
and he now feels that 3 years may be a suitable age (personal communication,
Whatever the trainees age, extreme care should
be taken to ensure that the volume is well below the EPA and OSHA
noise exposure limits-in all cases-and that AIT devices be checked
frequently to prevent excessive loudness-never above 85 dB. This
caution is especially important for young children since EPA and
OSHA limits have been determined for adults and not for children.
Until a safe age limit and volume level are
established, practitioners who give AIT to young children should
Theories of Auditiory Integration Training
Some theories on why auditory integration
training works for some individuals. The theories can be classified
in different ways, such as those explaining a reduction in auditory
peaks, a reduction in sound sensitivity, and an increase in attention
as well as postulating changes in the middle ear, inner ear, brainstem,
Reduction in peaks through Filtering:
Guy Berard: 'Reduction in Peaks due to a
decrease in stimulation." During the AIT listening sessions,
filters are used to dampen those frequencies whic hthe person hears
too well. Dr. Berard theorizes that filtering will reduce the sensitivity
due to the lack of stimulation to certain areas of the cochlea and/
or the brain during the listening sessions. Furthermose, those area(s)
of the cochlea and/or the brain which are not filtered recieve intense
stimulation; and this stimulation causes a slight improvement in
Thus the peak frequencies are slightly reduced
because of a lack of stimulation, and non-pea frequencies are slightly
improved because of stimulation. The end result is a relatively
Stephen Edelson: 'Reduction in peaks due
to lateral inhibition'. This theory is actually an extension of
Berard's theory of reducing auditory peaks using filters. One phenomenon
that occurs throughout our sensory system is neural inhibition,
in which soem neurons, when stimulated, inhibit the activation of
other neurons. In addition, a phenomenon called 'lateral inhibition'
occurs when a stimulated area inhibits an adjacent area which is
not receiving stimulation.
Since the filtered frequencies are not stimulating
certain portions of the cochlea and/or part(s) of the brain, stimulation
of the adjacent, non-sensitive, (non filtered) areas may be laterally
inhibiting, and possibly conditioning, the sensitive filtered area(s).
Thus, sensitive areas are inhibited by the adjacent, non-sensitive
AIT study: Children improve markedly
A new study from Ireland concludes that auditory
integration therapy concludes that auditory integration therapy
(AIT) is "well worth exploring" as a treatment for autistic
Mark Morgan Brown used AIT with two autistic
children, a five year old boy and his three year old sister. Intended
to reduce sound oversensitivity and other autistic symptoms, AIT
involves having subjects listen to electronically modified music
through headphones. Each child participated in two half hour sessions
per day, for 10 consecutive days. Followups were conductd three
and six months after the therapy.
Brown says that the two children showed marked
improvement in a number of autistic symptoms following therapy.
The boy became calmer, less sensitive to sound, and less "switched
off", and his language skills and eye contact improved. Brown
notes that before AIT the boy had to be kept separated from his
sister because of his aggression toward her, but "he now interacts
with her and recognizes her as part of his family." Interestingly
he lost one peculiar skil, the ability to tear pages in an unusualy
(Editor's note: The loss of "savant"
skills is not uncommon in autistic children who suddenly make strides
in normal skills.)
The girl also improved significantly, interacting
more with others and growing more confident. Her balance and eye
contact improved and she began making more types of sounds. In addition
she learned to eat solid foods, something she was unable to do before
"Before the intervention", Brown
says, "[the girl] became physically sick when she heard loud
mechanical sounds such as motorbikes and roadwork drills. During
the last two days of the training, she was able to cope with the
loud noises of various airplanes flying closely overhead at the
local air show. She was also able to cope with the visual and auditory
stimulation of the large crowds at this show and for the first time
ever, turned her head to look at it... noises of interest in the
Brown notes that his study was not controlled,
and that other factors could have influenced the children's improvement.
However he notes that most of their behavioural changes began during
the therapy, and that their spurt in improvement following AIT therapy
was far greater than any of their previous gains.
- from : "Auditory integration training
and autism: two case studies," Mark Morgan Brown, British Journal
of Occupational Therapy, Volume 62, No. 1, January 1999, pp. 13-18.
Address: Mark Morgan Brown, Arderry, Corawallen
PO, Via Cavan, County Leitrim, Republic of Ireland.
The validity of Auditory Integration Training
as a treatment for individuals with hypersensitive hearing remains
an unanswered question in the minds of many professionals, individuals
with autism and their families. It would appear that it's effectiveness
in helping children with autism can only be evaluated on an individual
basis. On a positive note, it is a relatively inexpensive treatment
in terms of money and time committment and it would appear to be
harmless even if unsuccessful in bringing about the possible changes
that have been reported by individuals such as Georgie Stehli.
Neil Walker, Manager of Resource Services,
The Geneva Centre, Toronto