Several months ago I had the privilege of meeting Cheri Moore, a former special education teacher, who has been trained in Dr. Guy Berard’s Auditory Integration Training. She was kind enough to introduce me to Dr. Berard’s book, Hearing Equals Behavior and Dancing in the Rain, by Annabel Stehli. Both books were fascinating reads. Since that time, I’ve told people that I know just enough about Auditory Integration Training or AIT, to be dangerous! With that said, I want to take this opportunity to tell you what I’ve learned, and how it may be helpful to your son or daughter.
AIT was developed by Dr. Berard, an ENT from Annecy, France, and has been used throughout the world for more than 40 years. AIT is a safe, 10 day listening program, which improves a variety of hearing issues: Hyper sensitive--hearing too well, Hypo-underactive hearing, and boardline hearing loss; Apraxia-- repeats speech heard or no speech; stammering and stuttering; and language issues (word recall, spelling, reading, and comprehension). Children with Autism, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia, and other disorders have had success with Auditory Integration Training.
Simply stated, and I do mean SIMPLY, AIT retrains the brain to properly process what is being heard. You may say, “But, we just had our child’s hearing tested. The test showed that her hearing is fine.” That is true, but the audiologist was looking for hearing loss/deafness. As I understand it, AIT practitioners have their audiologists test for hearing sensitivities by testing above zero decibels looking for sensitive hearing to quiet sounds and for auditory processing difficulties by testing all frequencies, which are typically not included in a routine hearing test looking for hearing loss. The Berard Hearing Evaluation is unique, because it checks to see if one hears with both ears (Weber test) and checks for hearing sensitivities to loud sounds (Loudness Discomfort Test). If your child covers her ears, talks loudly over others, withdraws when others talk, or has trouble saying what she wants to say when she wants to speak; then she would benefit from AIT.
Cheri Moore takes a very holistic approach when working with clients. She encourages them to rule out physical/medical issues known to affect the health of the ears. She offers AIT, Dr. Delacto's sensory integration techniques, and Dianne Craft’s, “Brain Integration Therapy” along with sensory integration purposeful play activities.
The following is an auditory processing checklist that she has compiled based on information from Fisher, Auditory Processing Disorders and Kranowitz, The Out-of-Sync Child .
If you have 3 or more characteristics, the Berard hearing test is recommended. Please mark each circle considered to be of concern by the patient or caretaker.
- Difficulty learning through the auditory modes (quickly tires , yawns, or becomes irritated when taught out loud as opposed to visual)
- Frequently ask “What?” or “Huh?” noise or no noise
- Thinks they heard correctly and acts on it, but misunderstood
- Request information to be repeated (a coping behavior)
- Unable to stay focused when listening more than ______ minutes
- Experiences fatigue after “intense listening”
- Easily distracted, especially in background noise—hearing the background more prominently than person speaking
- Deficits with auditory integration for sound blending/phonetic skills
- Difficulty associating new sounds to visual symbols (letters, numbers)
- Difficulty following/remembering sequence of all spoken instructions
- Poor short-term memory (forgets what was just said)
- Does not remember simple, everyday routines
- Displays slow or delayed response to verbal stimuli
- Reduced tolerance to loud noise (covers ears, runs away)
- Hears something before you do (hypersensitivity)
- May cause covering of ears, screaming to cover it up, talks loudly
- Problems with spelling, reading, vocabulary
- Repeats speech back to you (echo)
- Monotone voice or talks over others
- Needs background white noise (music, fan) to concentrate or go to sleep
- He or she subvocalizes (thinks/reads out loud)
- Immature speech, has poor articulation
- Exhibits poor social skills, misses non-verbal social cues
- Does not understand how all the information fits together
There are also vestibular weaknesses such as:
- Car sickness, trouble riding a bike or swinging
- Writing fatigue--too much pressure on paper or not enough
- Unusual tolerance to spinning, jumping, hanging upside down
For more information about AIT, please visit these websites.
Moore Auditory Training, Cheri Moore, B.S. Special Education
Auditory Integration Training Services, Sarah Gewanter, MSW, LCSW, Director