Auditory Integration Training:
An Educational Intervention
On-line AIT Checklist
Training is NOT a medical intervention.
The AIT Institute
does not bill insurance companies for
services. Those who are interested in a medical diagnosis
are advised to to seek the assistance of a licensed medical professional.
The recent shift in the FDA policy [since 1999] regarding
Auditory Integration Training devices requires that practitioners and parents understand the procedure
as a component of the educational process. Rather than asking whether
it is covered by health insurance (which generally implies a medically
related service), we need to direct our attention to helping parents,
school staff and administrators recognize the important relationships
between Berard AIT and learning.
There can be a variety of causes that contribute
to learning difficulties and each must be considered when working with
children who are struggling in school. However, one that is of
prime importance, and is often overlooked, is the children's ability to
listen. By listen, we are referring to the desire to pick up the message
and actively, correctly, and quickly, interpret the meaning. The first
step of listening depends upon the ability to hear, or receive the sounds.
This is a passive process. With a small number of exceptions, most children
with learning difficulties have hearing abilities within the normal range.
They are not hearing impaired and do not require hearing aides. In fact,
a surprisingly large number of these children actually hear with great
acuity. So much so that their ability to listen is compromised by the
fact that they hear too much, and can not easily tune in to the target
One way to recognize the relationship between listening
and success in school is to understand the connection between listening,
reading and spelling. As children learn to read, they must coordinate
recognizing letters and their associated sounds. The written symbols only
represent sounds, and the actual meaning appears as the readers express
the sounds, either internally or externally, as words. In order to achieve
this, the audio-visual-verbal coordination must be perfectly timed.
When children slowly and laboriously decode a word or series
of words, they lose the meaning and simply name words, but can not understand
the message. Fluent readers, who easily coordinate the temporal and spatial
aspects of analyzing and synthesizing the information, will quickly and
accurately comprehend the message intended by the written symbols. Reading
and writing difficulties occur when groups of sounds are not perceived
accurately and rapidly, in other words, when children have a problem with
Spelling is another area that poses difficulties for
many children who have listening problems. It requires many of the skills
used in reading, however could be viewed as the reverse process. Writers
start by choosing the word they wish to spell, analyzing the sounds within
the word and selecting the associated letters that make the sounds. Just
as with reading, this process involves listening to the sounds, either
voiced internally, or externally, but also includes visualizing the letters
in the proper spatial sequence.
is a procedure that trains children to listen more accurately.
Dynamic music with a wide range of frequencies is processed through an
electronic system in the Berard AIT
device. The volume and tone of the melody are constantly and randomly
modulated, but the rhythm and phrasing are unchanged. Specific filters
may be used to reduce the intensity of selected frequencies. This auditory
stimulus activates the listening abilities, which then open up to the
whole sound spectrum in a coordinated and efficient manner. Children who
are learning to read and write will integrate verbal and written messages
more easily. Self-confidence will grow as the children become competent
As children develop efficient listening abilities, it will
be reflected in other educationally related areas as well. Verbal directions
given by teachers will be understood more easily and rapidly, allowing
the children to respond without further questions. Children, who appear
to be more cooperative and obedient, may actually be more able to comprehend
what they have been asked to do. It is difficult to cooperate if you don't
understand the directions.
Efficient listening skills will also impact on
the consistency of children's work performance.
learning difficulties often demonstrate extreme fluctuations in the quality
of their work, from high quality to poor. These variations may arise due
to the level of fatigue at the time the work is done. Poor listening abilities
mean that the children must work much harder than typical children in
order to interpret their world. It would be similar to constantly translating
a foreign language! The listener becomes tired and may "tune out"
for a while in order to rest. Efficient listeners know what the speaker
is saying as he says it, without having to think about it.
Children with good listening abilities also have an advantage
socially. They will not be overwhelmed by the sounds of the social environment.
Many socially isolated individuals withdraw due to the problems created
by their inability to focus on the conversation and tune out background
noises. They may also withdraw due to their inability to quickly understand
the conversation and be an active participant. Their sensory system may
be overloaded, causing anxiety and stress that may only be relieved by
seeking a less stimulating and confusing environment. When listening skills
are trained to be efficient, the children often demonstrate more appropriate
These examples illustrate the important connection
between success in school and optimal listening abilities.
Berard AIT Practitioners need to understand and focus on this aspect of the
training procedure in order to facilitate the development of
AIT as an educationally related service.
This article was reprinted
by written permission from
Sally Brockett, M.S,