Berard auditory integration training (AIT) is an music-based intervention developed by Guy Berard, MD, to correct or improve auditory hypersensitivity, distortions, and delays in the signals that interfere with an individual’s ability to process auditory information normally. Berard AIT may also be used to enhance performance in school and sports related activities, careers, public presentations, time management, etc. Inconsistencies and distortions in the way sounds are perceived can make it difficult to interpret auditory stimuli correctly and fluently.
In addition, Dr. Berard states that the ears must work together in a coordinated fashion. If the hearing in one ear is different from the other, the person may have auditory processing problems. This lack of coordination between the ears contributes to difficulties in following directions, comprehending what is said or read, and putting thoughts into words. Dr. Berard also states that some people hear certain frequencies much better than other frequencies. When this occurs, the person perceives sounds in a distorted manner, may be easily distracted, and may have difficulty understanding auditory information. According to Dr. Berard, these auditory problems are factors that contribute to disorders such as learning disabilities, attention deficit, dyslexia, hyperactivity, central auditory processing disorder, sensory processing disorder, autism and pervasive developmental disorder.
Berard AIT is often provided for individuals who wish to improve:
· learning and language development
· processing sensory stimulation
· concentrations and attention
· auditory processing and memory
· reading and writing skills
· hearing sensitivities
It is also used for enhancement in:
· scholastic achievement
· social relationships
· public speaking
· athletic skills.
Children as young as six months can do AIT, and there is no upper limit.
The individual listens to modified and filtered music through headphones. The training is provided for 30 minutes, twice a day for a total of 10 days. Audio processing assessments prior to training and after the first five days of training indicate whether any frequencies need to be filtered.
Berard AIT is a center-based training program. Dr. Berard did not approved any home-based program. The training should be provided under the direct supervision of the Berard Practitioner in order to achieve optimal results. The practitioner will be able to provide daily input and consultation to the parents based on feedback provided by the parents and clinical observations. Since clients may make significant changes during the 10 days of training due to the effectiveness of Berard AIT, parent consultation is a critical component of the program and can lead to better results.
We have found that after Day 2 this is no longer a problem. Listening to the music itself seems to entice the children to want to keep the headphones on. The first two days we have to be gently vigilant to ensure that the headphones stay on their heads.
The Berard auditory processing assessment requires a mature level of concentration and communication. The audio testing provides information that is used in selecting whether a narrow band filter is needed during the training sessions, and therefore, must be accurate. For these reasons, Dr. Berard did not recommend this testing for children under 5 years old. If a person is not able to cooperate with audio testing, but seems to be a good candidate for AIT based on behavior and history, the training can be done without audio tests. Since the audio tests provide the basis for the narrow band filters, no narrow band filters would be used. The modulated music has proven effective even without these specific filters.
Reports from parents vary on how soon changes are noticed and what types of changes occur. Parents often report a reduction in tantrums, sound sensitivity, echolalia, hyperactivity and impulsivity even while the child is still doing AIT. Parents also observe increased ability in following directions, attention, auditory short-term memory, and speech/language skills. Increased socialization, cooperation, self-confidence and independence are also frequently observed. Improvements in sensory processing, with a decrease in episodes of sensory overload are typically reported by parents. In addition to parental observations many schools and therapists have noted the improvements in children they are working with. There have also been many independent studies completed on Auditory Integration Training and there is a link to some of those studies on this website.