Speech and Language Delay
(SLD), Attention Issues and Auditory Integration
On-line AIT Checklist
by S. Byrne, Parent of a 5 year old girl, Milpitas, California.
Reprinted by permission. 04-12-2005.
"After 2 years of talking to various teachers and speech therapists
about her mispronunciations, how do we explain that it instantly and
spontaneously corrected over the school break (while we did Berard
"We completed our Berard
AIT and I went into with much the same trepidation other parents are
feeling. It is a lot to fork over and, having tried to explain this technique
to my very practical and stoic family members, felt quite strange and
"new agey" and worried that if it failed I might be left looking
like a pretty strange and goofy mom. My husband, an earthy "prove
it to me" engineer, looked upon it as rather akin to horoscope and
commented that, if every someone wanted to set up a scam, AIT would be a great way to do it.
So, having said all that, I
can now tell you that I am very happy I proceeded against all my fears
and instead went with my mother's instinct, holding fast to all I had
read and researched.
I wish I had done one
more thing prior to the AIT to
allay my concerns and fears: a simple Berard AIT audiogram. We had one
scheduled, as required, for just a few days prior to the start. My daughter
had had numerous conventional audiogram over the years that had shown
some ear drum repression. The advice was to go home and blow up balloons
to try to pop the drum out. The audiogram
showed what none of the conventional ones had: that she heard different
frequencies in each ear and that her stapedius reflex was high (in
other words, a noise that triggers the ear to protect itself from loudness
had to be louder for her than what is considered normal).
about 42 on the AIT Checklist.
What pushed me to follow through was my sense of recognition of the behaviors
and reactions of the children in Annabel Stehli's
books of collected stories of children healed through Berard
AIT. So much of it seemed to be a bit like my daughter. And I considered
the sources of the information as well: highly educated, critically thinking,
and skeptical parents like myself...some even trained in traditional medicine
(Dr. Guy Berard himself, for example, was a surgeon in
his early career!).
story short: you may choose to get an
AIT audiogram done to give yourself
some extra peace of mind and some data to support your decision.
What I meant is that
I made the decision and commitment, financially, to proceed with Berard
AIT BEFORE having had an
to inform me of the specific hearing issues Amelia had that were only
revealed by the audiogram. I did not know previous
to having the audiogram results
that there were so many different types of audiograms. I thought
we had had the one and only available type, the one that showed Amelia's
hearing was within normal limits.
confirmed that her hearing was, indeed, within normal limits, but it revealed
what the conventional audiograms had not: that she had a discrepancy
in frequencies that she could hear in each ear, that her reflex was high,
AND that adding background noise dramatically diminished her ability to
discriminate the human voice (I forgot to put that in the send to the
I asked my
AIT Practitioner about why her other audiograms had never revealed
these things and only then learned that there are many and distinct types
of audiograms. Had I known that, I could have simply spent $125
to get an Berard
AIT audiogram months back,
when I was trying to decide whether to do Berard
AIT with Amelia. We would, of course, had to repeat it just
prior to the AIT, for the
filter determination, but that minor expense would have added dramatically
to my comfort in making the decision to proceed. I did get that
comfort, finally, but just days before the actual Berard
AIT, and weeks after having made the commitment.
Those interim weeks were
filled with anxiety and questions "Is this the right thing?"
"Will it be a waste of time?" or "Could it
actually do any harm, even psychically, to her self-image, or just cause
confusion?" etc. Once I had the results from the
it confirmed all my instincts and eliminated many of my worries.
I think everyone "wondering" if they should do it should be
advised to go request an audiogram,
to help make their decision easier and take some of the guesswork out
of it. Especially since Amelia didn't strongly match the
AIT Checklist, and I have passed that list to many friends
whose children I KNOW need
AIT, but they don't match the list strongly
Amelia was highly
distracted. I usually had to call her name several times
to get her attention before I could even begin to say or ask what
I intended to. "That was a question, Amelia, and a question
needs an answer." was something I repeated over and over.
As she grew older, she began to tell me that she was going to answer,
but just needed some thinking time.
She had strong perseverations
that lasted weeks and months on end. When it was whales,
we had to watch the same whale videos over and over, read every whale
book we could find.
She was totally logical
and reality-based, with little fantasy life or imagination.
At age 3 she asked her father what dolls were for!
She was always fidgety,
couldn't sit through a story or video without doing cartwheels and
with family or others consisted primarily of reciting her voluminous
memory of rote facts...about whales, scientific principles, car
makes and models. She would grill us with endless questions
for more facts on these lines to file away.
She had a strong inclination
and preference to be by herself, and would often retreat to the
back yard to spend hours simply looking at flowers and creatures she
could find. In the house, she would try to stake out a "private
space" and defend it against invasion by her highly devoted and
sociable baby brother, causing lots of tears on his part and scolding
and exasperated pleadings on my part. When I set up play dates
with friends, she would retreat and tell me she just preferred to
be on her own.
Though she has long
been able to dress herself, she would always refuse to do so and insist
that I do it for her.
She had little awareness
of her self-image and always came out of the bathroom with her
clothes on sideways and things half tucked in, "pucker tuckers"
we called them. I had to endlessly remind her to fix her pucker
Her quality and content
of conversation became markedly more appropriate to the context and
company; she would talk about the surroundings, what people were
doing, random thoughts that occurred to her.
She offered more and
extracted less information. She is more attentive to what
is happening around her and what is said to her, needing little if
any prompting to focus and respond to statements or questions.
have dramatically decreased in duration and intensity. She
now becomes deeply interested in something for a day or so, and is
no longer exclusive about her new interest but can now manage to include
it and share her mind-space with other interests simultaneously.
She is more aware
of her self and of others, spontaneously and voluntarily asking
about others and how they feel, showing compassion for them if they
She now watches Disney
videos and cartoons in which she never had an interest, and she watches
them just one time, rather than over and over. She has shown
a wonderful sense of humor and a truly poetic little soul and has
expressed some very imaginative thoughts and shown some interest in
fantasy play, which she very rarely ever did before.
She is physically
calmer, able to sit and read a book on her own rather than requiring
me to read it to her; able to sit through an entire feature-length
video without climbing all over the sofa or rolling on the floor -
she just sits and gets absorbed in the story and really watches it
are more often than not real conversations. When she is
somewhere, she seems to be "in the now" now, aware of where
she is and commenting about what she sees, rather than inside her
mind as before and commenting on what she is thinking about (usually
one of her natural interests and nothing to do with the here and now
of our existence).
She has been talking
freely, voluntarily and spontaneously about the kids at school, what
happened, who did what. Before we could never get her to
answer the question "what did you do in school today?"
Instead of talking about her one friend from last year, she is now
talking about all the kids by name in her class. She has been
asking to have friends come over and play, actually expressing a strong
desire for social companionship!
She has shown love
and affection toward her brother, freely bestowing hugs and asking
for them in return (she had a touch aversion before), engaging him
in games and play, showing tolerance and forbearance more often than
the previously dominant avoidance and rejection of his company.
She reads books to him now and tries to find ways to make him laugh
and tells us she thinks he is cute and funny.
She has been dressing
herself and helping herself independently in many ways that were previously
never seen. And I just realized in the last few days that
over the 3 weeks since Berard AIT,
I have ever more infrequently reminded her about pucker tuckers.
I probably haven't done it at all in at least 10 days!
Now, these things individually
can be written off as coincidence, or maybe just a natural part of growing
up. But the fact that they happened collectively in a short
period of time cannot be written of as coincidence. Growing
up? Yes, she is about to turn 6. But...the stories of other
children who benefited from Berard AIT
included children much older than Amelia, who exhibited the same overdependence,
aloofness, isolation, perseverations, unawareness of self. And for
those children, of various ages, the same patterns of improved behaviors
occurred: increased calmness, increased independence, increased
self-awareness, increased sociability, increased inter-activeness.
Yet another coincidence?
We Noted These Differences After Berard
Before Berard AIT, she was
not responsive to my voice, seemingly inattentive to those speaking
to her. The human voice is at one of the higher frequencies,
for which Amelia had spotty reception given that she heard different
frequencies in each ear. Totally reality based: maybe she was just
working so hard to understand reality with a handicapped sensory system
that she had no energy left for fantasy? It seems like a miracle for
us to see her laughing at the Disney humor and giggling and narrating
what she thinks is so funny about it. Not things she ever could do
well, if she couldn't hear well, how she could interact in the
conversation? Instead, like many hard-of-hearing folks, she resorted
to relating what she knew and was comfortable talking about...her
storehouse of natural facts.
Social Skills Improved:
Her social isolation and withdrawal: she always went to quiet
spaces, where her system could relax and have downtime from it's usual
overstressed state of trying to make sense of the sounds around her.
Now that she can hear voices, she welcomes the company of friends
and family, as they are no longer the invasive assault on her overworked
senses that they previously were.
with a more relaxed system, she's willing to take on more, she
has more energy and focus to devote to it. It's one of the most consistent,
and most rewarding, outcomes of
Visual Impacts: she
was super visual, highly distracted by visual input and we worried
about how we could ever help her deal with the cluttered visual environment
of the elementary classrooms. Our
AIT Practitioner suggested she may have been "hyper-vigilant"
visually because that was a sense she could receive well, while her
audio was not working, so she became overly dependent on her visual
for information. That seems to have been a great insight, because
now Amelia seems more "balanced", less dependent on visuals,
more attentive to sounds and voices.
She also had lots of speech pronunciation problems, especially with
softer sounds like "r" and blends like "fl" and
distinguishing between "f" and "th". She would
always say "flower" as "slower" for example. But
just days after the
was completed, we heard her correcting the pronunciation of a little
friend of hers who say "shottish fishels" instead of "scottish
thistles". We were totally amazed that not only could Amelia
even hear the mispronunciation, but she easily said the correct pronunciation
when she told her friend how to say it.
It is hard to recall the
myriad of little improvements, and Amelia's behaviors were never very
extreme or obvious to others. Even the
AIT Practitioner with whom we worked, told me she initially was thinking
to herself "why are you here". But as our Practitioner came
to know Amelia and her subtle patterns became evident to to our Berard
AIT Practitioner, I came to understand better how Amelia's hearing
issues were related to her behaviors.