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Berard Based Auditory Integration Training

What is Auditory Integration Training?
Auditory Integration Training (AIT) is a 10-day, 20-session program of intense musical stimulation that re-trains the hearing and the brain’s processing abilities. It is done by listening with headphones for 1/2 hour sessions to music that is filtered and modulated.

For those individuals on the Autism Spectrum it can help with:

  • Reduction in Hyper acute Hearing
  • Reduction in Sensory Issues
  • Speech and Language Development
  • Interest In Verbalization and Communication
  • Social Behaviors & Cooperative Behavior
  • Auditory Comprehension & Articulation
  • Interaction with Others & Diminished Antisocial Behavior
  • Increased Comfort Level, Independence and Self- Esteem
  • Age Appropriate Behavior
  • Academic Performance
  • Responsibility in School
  • Attention Span & Short-Term Memory
  • Vocal Intensity (loudness)
  • Less Impulsivity and Restlessness
  • Not So Lethargic, Less Irritability
  • Reduction in Distractibility

What do Auditory Integration Therapists do?
AIT Practitioners do an initial evaluation to see if someone is a good candidate for the program and will use the evaluation to individualize the program for them. For the forms for the evaluation go to: http://aithelps.com/AIT_forms.html. Once the evaluation is done, the practitioner will be available to work with the parent and child to make sure they keep the headphones on during the ½ hour sessions. They also help monitor volume levels to make sure there is enough stimulation but not discomfort or pain.

Who is Qualified as an Auditory Integration Therapist?
Dr. Berard required practitioners to have either a Master’s or higher level degree in a related field or 5 year minimum experience in a related field and be trained and certified in the Berard Method of AIT. They must also use the Berard protocals.

Typically providers work either out of an office or may work with the family in the home. Now that technology has advanced there are also home based programs available though you must make sure that it is a Berard based method as there are many other home programs which are not so effective.

Is there Research to Support Auditory Integration Training for Individuals with Diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum?
The Autism Research Institute, headed by Dr. Bernard Rimland, has conducted many studies on the effectiveness of AIT. Although in France, Dr. Berard used Auditory Integration Training primarily for learning disabilities, in the United States the results of these studies and others have led AIT to be considered by some as a primary treatment for autism. For a link to some research goto:http://aithelps.com/autism_books.html

For more information and to find a treatment provider you can go online. The site: www.aithelps.com has a lot of information and easy access. You can also call: 828-683-6900 for Berard Auditory Integration Training Systems, Inc.


Age and AIT
As a general rule, there is no minimum age for receiving AIT. If AIT is done with young children, a reduced maximum volume level should be used. For very young children the volume level is kept at ordinary conversational speech levels. We at The Counseling Center have worked children as young as 3 and adults as old as 73.

School/Job Attendance During AIT
AIT should be conducted with the client under as little stress as possible. Most people are able to perform normal tasks without difficulty during AIT, however, if school or work attendance is stressful or if attendance causes excessive tiredness, the client should not work or go to school during AIT. Tiredness is a normal and common response to AIT.

Headphone Usage Following AIT
Headphones should not be worn for listening to music following AIT. Note that many taped educational and computer programs have a strong musical accompaniment. With the exception of hearing testing, it is recommended that headphones not be worn following AIT. Headphone usage causes hearing loss and can undo the benefits of AIT, especially loud music for young children and teens. If headphones are required for speech/language therapies, as long as the volume is kept at a normal level and there is only speech, there should be no negative effects.

The Necessity of Holding Sessions on Consecutive Days
Although there is some limited flexibility in the protocol, generally speaking, sessions should be done over ten to twelve (with two days off) consecutive days. AIT does allow for some days with three sessions each. Please consult with your AIT practitioner for details.

PE Tubes
AIT may not be as effective for the client who has PE Tubes. There is however, no risk of damage to these clients. It is Dr. Berard’s suggestion that it may be better to provide AIT as early as possible to a child to assist with language development rather than wait for the tubes to come out and miss the critical years of development.

Medications and AIT
It is best to maintain the regular medication schedule before, during and after AIT for three months. Then work with MD to lower medications if appropriate.

Are There Any Risks?
No long-term negative effects have been reported. The worse that happens is that nothing happens. As with any effective treatment, there may be temporary periods of regression prior to positive growth.

Article provided by:

Berard Auditory Integration Therapy Systems, Inc.

Sarah Gewanter, LCSW, Dir.


What Research is there to Support Auditory Integration Training?
According to the National Standards Project, a report updated in 2015 that quantifies the amount of scientific evidence that exists to support a number of educational and behavioral treatments available for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, has designated Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT) as an “unestablished intervention.”1 According to their report, un-established treatment indicates “there is little or no evidence to allow us to draw firm conclusions about interventions effectiveness with individuals with ASD. Addition research may show the intervention to be effective, ineffective, or harmful.” 1 Due to this fact, it is recommended that individuals consider this treatment type only after additional, evidence-based research demonstrates the therapy can produce positive results. Unlike with past reports, Phase 2 of the National Standards Project does not indicate the number of studies reviewed for unestablished interventions.

1. National Autism Center. (2015). Findings and conclusions: National standards project, phase 2. Randolph, MA: Author