What is Berard Auditory Integration Training?
Berard auditory integration training (AIT) is an intervention developed by Dr. Guy Berard 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. 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.
Who is a Candidate for Berard AIT?
- 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.
Minimum age is 3 years, and there is no upper limit.
How is Berard AIT Done?
The individual listens to music through headphones that is specially modified by the EarducatorTM, or the Audiokinetron, the two current devices designed for Berard AIT. These devices modulate the music, and may be used to filter out specific frequencies. The training is provided for 30 minutes, twice a day for a total of 10 hours. Audio tests prior to training and after the first 5 hours of training indicate whether any narrow band filters may be used.
Is Berard AIT a medical intervention?
No, the Berard method is not used for medical intervention. It is not meant to treat or cure diseases.
Is Berard AIT considered music therapy or a form of music therapy?
Berard AIT is not considered music therapy or a form of music therapy. There are many differences between Berard AIT and music therapy. The criteria and use of music therapy does not meet the protocol for Berard AIT in several ways. Training as a music therapist does not qualify that person as a Berard practitioner unless they have successfully completed the Berard training seminar. Similarly, Berard AIT certification does not qualify a person as a music therapist. The approach to intervention is quite different, and the goals for each program are also different.
Is There a Home Program for Berard AIT?
Berard AIT is a center-based training program. Dr. Berard has not approved any home-based program at this time. 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.
How Do You Get the Child to Wear Headphones and Listen?
Proper preparation for the Berard AIT program makes an important difference in how well the child will cooperate with the procedures. Your Berard practitioner should provide suggestions to help you prepare your child for the listening sessions. Procedures that can help decrease sensitivity to wearing headphones may be explained to parents so they can begin preparing the child to accept the headphones.
What if the Person Can Not Cooperate to Obtain Audio Tests?
The Berard audio testing 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 does 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.
What Changes are Observed after Berard AIT?
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. 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.