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Autism Study 2002: Auditory Integration Training and It's Effectiveness with Autism

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written by Rosalie Seymour, SLP/A, Berard AIT Practitioner and Maoilíosa Ó Rathaille, B.A., M.Sc., C.Stat., Lecturer in Mathematics and Statistics, Waterford Institute of Technology

Conclusion on this AIT Clinical Study

"The results of this study indicate that a course of AIT is likely to have significant beneficial effects for children with a diagnosis of autism. These results are compatible with many other studies into the effects of AIT on Children with Autism."

 

Two groups of children with autism were studied; a control group (n = 8) and an experimental group (n = 15)
 
The control group was made up of children who had a diagnosis of autism, who did not receive AIT. The experimental group were made up of a comparable group of children with a diagnosis of autism who did receive AIT.
 
The two methods of assessment for comparison chosen were the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) of Drs. Rimland and Edelson, and the Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC) of Anand and Singh.
 
The ATEC gives a Total score, as well as sub scores for
  • Speech,
  • Sociability,
  • Cognitive / Sensory awareness, and
  • Health-Physical-Behavioral issues.
The ABC has a Total score, as well as sub scores for
  • Hyperactivity,
  • Irritability,
  • Lethargy,
  • Stereotypy and
  • Inappropriate Speech
 In both these checklists, a high score indicates greater severity while a low score indicates a milder degree of difficulty.

Comparing The Two Groups Pre-AIT:

In this section (see Figures 1-4 and Tables 1-4 below), the two groups are compared to discover whether they were evenly comparable.
 
The results show that they were found to be very similar in terms of age and E2 diagnostic scores at the commencement of the trial period.
(NOTE ON READING BOXPLOTS: each of the four sections indicates 25% of the sample. The boxed two middle sections each represent the 25% nearest the midline, and the lines each represent 25% on the outer ends of the sample. A star indicates an out-lier).
  
Figure 1: Age
 
Figure 2
 
Table 2: Comparison of E2 Total Scores
E2 total
 
Control
Experimental
Mean difference
 
-0.5
Sample size
7
14
t-value
-0.1
Mean
-7.3
-6.79
P-value
0.92
Standard deviation
14.8
7.91
Significant (5%)
 
No
 
Table 3: Comparison of E2 Speech
E2 speech
 
Control
Experimental
Mean difference
 
0.21
Sample size
7
14
t-value
0.17
Mean
1.43
1.21
P-value
0.868
Standard deviation
3.46
2.36
Significant (5%)
 
No
 
Table 4: Comparison of E2 Behavior
E2 Behavior
 
Control
Experimental
Mean difference
 
-0.71
Sample size
7
14
t-value
-0.17
Mean
-8.7
-8.0
P-value
0.867
Standard deviation
12.6
6.97
Significant (5%)
 
No

 

So it can be seen that the Experimental Group and the Control Group were comparable in terms of age and diagnostic severity as measured by the form E2.

Comparison of the Groups - ATEC and ABC Baseline Scores

 
In addition, both groups started from the same baseline scores in terms of ATEC and ABC scores. As can be seen in Figures 5 and 6 and in Tables 5 and 6 below, there is no statistical evidence of any differences between the groups for both the initial ATEC total scores and the initial ABC total scores.

 Figure 5

Table 5: Comparison of ATEC initial scores

ATEC initial
 
Control
Experimental
 
 
Sample size
8
15
W-value
79.5
Median
54.5
80.0
P-value
0.3017
Difference between medians
 
-12.5
 
Significant (5%)
 
No

Figure 6

Table 6: Comparison of ABC initial scores
 
ATEC initial
 
Control
Experimental
 
 
Sample size
8
15
W-value
79.5
Median
54.5
80.0
P-value
0.3017
Difference between medians
 
-12.5
 
Significant (5%)
 
No
 
The Intervention
Each of the children assigned to the experimental group (n= 15) received a ten-day course of Auditory Integration Training over a period of 5 months. The AIT was performed by a certificated AIT practitioner and trainer in the method, using an Audiokinetron.
 
No extra filters were set as none of the participants were able to complete the Berard Listening Tests. The Berard Protocol for administration of AIT was followed for each of the participants. Outside of AIT, the participants continued with their regular programs.
 
The children of the control group continued with their regular programs, but did not receive any specific music nor listening training during this period.
 
The post-AIT checklist scores were taken from forms completed 4 months after AIT was done for each child, and 4 months after the initial pre-checklists were completed in the case of the control group.

Result of Pre-Post Score Changes Comparison

In comparing the changes in the ATEC scores and the ABC scores for the two groups, after the experimental period,  the statistical evidence suggests that the there is a significant difference for the ATEC scores (see Figure 7 and Table 7) and an almost significant difference for the ABC scores (see Figure 8 and Table 8), with the experimental group showing more benefit in both cases. These changes being significant were probably due to AIT, and cannot be attributed to chance.
 
Figure 7.1

Table 7: Comparison of ATEC pre-post score differences

ATEC differences
 
Control
Experimental
Mean difference
 
-10.3
Sample size
6
15
t-value
-2.16
Mean
5.7
16.0
P-value
0.044
Standard deviation
10.3
9.79
Significant (5%)
 
Yes

 

Figure 8

Table 8: Comparison of ABC pre-post score differences
ABC differences
 
Control
Experimental
Mean difference
 
-8.07
Sample size
6
14
t-value
-2.03
Mean
0.0
8.07
P-value
0.058
Standard deviation
5.62
8.94
Significant (5%)
 
No

Conclusion

These results indicate that a course of Auditory Integration Training (AIT) resulted in some significant improvements for a group of children with autism. These changes were not observed in the comparable group of children with autism who did not receive AIT.
 
These changes were more significant for those behaviors measured by the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC), which has subscores for
Speech,
Sociability,
Cognitive / Sensory awareness
Health-Physical-Behavioral issues.
 
The results of this study indicate that a course of AIT is likely to have significant beneficial effects for children with a diagnosis of autism. These results are compatible with many other studies into the effects of AIT on Children with Autism.

References available on request from the author.


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