Bérard Auditory Integration is one of the most effective programs now available for the enhancement of listening skills, assisting sensory processing, receptive and expressive language, learning problems and reduction of sound sensitivity.
How we are able to listen and process sounds affects our alertness levels, attention span, ability to process information and concentration.
Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT) is an intervention developed by Dr. Guy Bérard to correct or improve auditory hypersensitivity, distortions, and delays in the signals that interfere with an individual's ability to process auditory information normally. Inconsistencies and distortions in the way sounds are perceived can make it difficult to interpret auditory stimuli.
Dr. Bérard 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. Bérard 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. Bérard, 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.
A well-organized brain means that each area of the brain does its assigned work efficiently and successfully. It also means that every area of the brain talks, connects and supports each other.
But what happens when there is a breakdown in communication between the different areas? Learning difficulties, lack in sensory integrated processing, emotional upset, misunderstandings, relationship breakdown, over and under sensory sensitivities, language delay, illogical judgement, and more.
Difficulties in learning, behaviour and communication often happen when we cannot process auditory information effectively.
An auditory processing problem can occur even when there is NO hearing loss. Auditory processing is a separate issue from hearing ability.
This is like saying that the ears can hear well, but the pathway of the “ear machine” has been wrongly wired, and therefore cannot transmit and organize information accurately. Children and adults with learning difficulties often display auditory processing difficulties.
In fact, 40% (some research even say 80%) of children with learning difficulties show signs of auditory processing issues.
AIT is a sound stimulation and auditory training method. It exercises the ear and the neural pathways and these auditory aerobics facilitate improvement in auditory tonal processing, which is evident in improved learning and behaviour. AIT retrains the whole of the listening system. Clients from as young as 3 years old till almost any age can benefit from this program.
When individuals have difficulty with auditory processing and perceptual skills, it interferes with their ability to accurately perceive and understand what is being heard and to effectively communicate their ideas and needs. As a result, behavioural issues often arise and development of appropriate social skills gets affected. This puts constraints on the individual developing their potential in life.
According to Dr. Bérard’s research, people with the following problems were trained and would benefit from AIT in his practice:
- Sound sensitivities (hyper-acute / hypo-acute hearing)
- Learning and language difficulties
- Sensory processing problems
- Poor attention
- Reading, writing, spelling delays
- Attention deficits
- Central processing disorder
- Pervasive developmental disorder
- ADD, Hyperactivity
The following improvements were reported:
- Attention and concentration improvement
- Ability to filter out background noise
- Speech, vocabulary and language skills
- Reading fluency and comprehension
- Self-confidence and socialization
- Handwriting, colouring and drawing
- Motion sickness decreased
- More effective sensory processing
It is not a cure, but aids in the ability to listen more effectively. Recipients of AIT are better positioned to benefit from Speech Therapy, Sensory Integration Therapy and other interventions.
This program involves a focussed 10 day program consisting of 20 sessions. Each session is 30 minutes in duration and two sessions are scheduled per day. The two sessions of the day need to be at least 3 hours apart. No sessions are scheduled over the weekend so sessions are only scheduled for two consecutive weeks (Mondays until Fridays). Music which is specially modified and modulated is played via headphones in each session. Listening profiles prior and after 5 hours of training indicates whether any specific filters may be used to filter out specific frequencies to assist in creating a better regulated listening system.