Berard Auditory Integration Training
By Sally Brockett, M.S.,
Director, IDEA Training Center, North Haven, CT,
Web Site: www.IdeaTrainingCenter.com
The Berard method of auditory integration training (AIT) improves learning, language and social skills
Individuals with auditory and sensory processing problems have difficulty interpreting daily experiences. The capacity to hear and communicate is compromised. Behavioral issues and social skills are often affected as a result.
The Berard method of Auditory Integration Training (AIT) helps reorganize the brain to improve auditory and sensory processing capabilities. Participants use headphones to comfortably listen to AIT auditory stimulation. This reorganizes the dysfunctional sensory center so the brain no longer gets overloaded with disorganized information.
Language, learning and social abilities develop more normally and participants are better able to excel as a result. Participants often benefit from just ten days of AIT training, with two thirty minute sessions a day.
This method of auditory training was originally developed by Dr. Guy Berard – a French ear, nose and throat physician – who successfully used this technique with thousands of people in Europe.
The Berard system of AIT has since become regarded as the most effective approach available for enhanced listening skills, language, learning and sound tolerance.
Indications an individual could benefit from AIT
The following difficulties may present the opportunity to benefit from AIT:
Â· Poor attention
Â· Slower thinking and processing
Â· Difficulty listening, understanding, and remembering
Â· Incorrectly understanding and following directions
Â· Brain “traffic jams” when processing sensory information
Â· Hindered ability to put ideas in sequence
Â· Sound hyper (over-sensitive) and hypo-sensitivity (tuned out)
Â· Low tolerance for distractions
Why is it important to retrain the system?
Dr. Guy Berard developed AIT as a procedure to retrain a disorganized auditory system that prohibits the efficient processing of information. AIT is relatively quick to administer, readily accepted by the individual, and requires minimum follow-up by other professionals. Berard AIT has important relevance to parents and educators of young children because the focus of this intervention is on retraining the system to improve its performance rather than teaching compensating strategies to help children manage better with an inefficient system. By improving the performance of the auditory processing system, individuals benefit more from the support services provided and their rate of progress is increased.
Dr. Berard believes that hypersensitivity, distortions, sequencing problems and delays in the auditory signals contribute to inefficient learning. He states that AIT is a method of retraining the ear to listen and to process sounds in a more normal manner, without distortions and delays. How we listen and process sounds affects our alertness, attention span, concentration, information processing, and the way we express ourselves, both verbally and in writing. When the listening process is not working properly, it can interfere with our entire system and its ability to function.
All of these auditory problems contribute to the cognitive fatigue and variable performance that is so common among individuals with learning disabilities and AD(H)D. These individuals expend much energy trying to decode or translate the scrambled and distorted messages they receive. Their performance will depend upon the amount of energy, interest and motivation they have at any given time. Other variables such as voice quality, pitch and rate of speech delivery of the speaker, background noises, and visual cues also impact the performance of these individuals.
Is there data to document results?
The Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale was used to monitor progress with 48 children who participated in AIT. Rapid improvement was seen in the first three months, with the median percentile reaching the 50th percentile, a gain of 24 percentile points.
A pilot study was conducted at IDEA Training Center, in North Haven, Connecticut with a group of 14 children with varied diagnoses, but all with identified sensory integration difficulties, to see if the anecdotal reports of sensory improvements could be quantified.
The children participated in a standard program of AIT. Parents completed a sensory checklist prior to AIT, and then at 1 month, 3 months and 6 months post-AIT.
The checklist contained items typically seen on sensory integration checklists and included areas such as vestibular hypersensitivity, vestibular hyposensitivity, tactile discrimination, self-regulation, play interactions etc.
At the end of 6 months post-AIT, the median percent of improvement was a 79% decrease in sensory problems. This means that half of the children achieved even better than 79% improvement and half of them did not achieve that much.
What do participants say about their experience with AIT?
Comments from clients who have either directly participated in auditory integration training (AIT), or whose children have received AIT can provide insights about the results. This information helps others who are interested in AIT to understand more about it and what changes might be produced.
“I can understand what you say when you say it now, without having to think about it.”
“I can read longer now because I don’t get tired. I no longer have to reread what I just read, because I understand it now when I first read it.”
“I can focus on and understand the conversation going on at my table now. I can filter out the background noises.”
“I actually read an entire book and was able to understand what I read with all the background noise of my kids, husband and the TV! In the past, I would have to read in complete silence.”