“Music has charms to soothe the savage breast. To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak”
- William Congreve
Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT) trains the brain to interpret better what the ears hear.
Pauline Allen, our Founder, was personally trained in 1995 by Dr. Guy Bérard in France and was also authorised in 2000 by Dr. Bérard to train other AIT practitioners. Pauline was a member of the Society of Auditory Integration Training (SAIT) and has been a member of the Berard Auditory Integration International Society (BAITIS) since its inception.
The Sound Learning Centre was established in 1994, and since 1995 it is one of the few centres in the UK offering Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT). This is a sound therapy using modulated music, delivered directly via headphones, from an approved Bérard AIT device (Audiokinetron or Earducator). It is provided personally or under direct (on-site) supervision in a therapeutic environment, by a Bérard AIT practitioner. Currently our Centre has three approved Bérard AIT Practitioners.
Although there are many people offering different sound therapies, which as a generic term are sometimes called Auditory Integration Training (AIT), they are not all the same. The use of the term AIT should not automatically be construed as Bérard AIT. We ourselves offer a ten day "In-Home" Sound Therapy Programme and since we began using it we have seen good results. It uses professionally pre-recorded music on CDs using the modulation from an Audiokinetron. It is for use "In-Home" by those unable to attend our Centre. This programme does not however meet the requirements to qualify as Bérard AIT.
We also provide written reports following assessments designed to identify reasons for the difficulties that parents and teachers often see. In our experience these difficulties often relate to the under-performance of the client’s sensory systems. We also work with adults as well as children.
Background to Dr. Guy Bérard:
Dr. Bérard, was a French ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist, who identified a link between hearing distortions and many behavioural or learning problems and who developed the Bérard AIT programme. The important link between how we hear and how we behave is stressed by Dr. Bérard in his book titled “Hearing Equals Behavior: Updated and Expanded” and expressed as “Everything happens as if human behavior were largely conditioned by the manner in which one hears.”
Many clients who come to us have difficulties in efficiently processing what they hear and this affects their social, emotional, behavioural and/or academic performance. Sometimes they have been previously diagnosed with one or more ‘conditions’ including dyslexia, dyspraxia, Auditory Processing Disorders (APD or CAPD), Asperger’s, Autistic spectrum disorders and other special needs. Although we do not claim to treat these conditions we have seen many clients with such a diagnosis show improved performance following Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT) because of improvements in the way they hear and process sound.
Following AIT, speech therapy, private tuition or extra help in school are all likely to be more effective once the auditory system has been retrained to processes sound more efficiently. For this reason we believe that improving auditory processing through the use of Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT) is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways of triggering rapid progress.
Between them, the staff at The Sound Learning Centre have trained in five sound therapies: the two clinic-based programmes, ‘Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT)’ and the ‘Tomatis Technique’ plus three home-based programmes, ‘Johansen’, ‘SAMONAS Sound Therapy’ and ‘The Listening Program’.
Why we use Bérard AIT in our Centre:
We choose to specialise in Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT), because we feel it is both the quickest and the most effective sound therapy. It is specifically designed to quickly trigger improvements in auditory processing and help with sensory difficulties. Improving sensory processing leads to improved intellectual performance, improved learning ability and increased sense of well being, resulting in social, emotional and behavioural improvements.
We recommend Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT) because:
- It is quick (typically 10 days)
- Improvements are often rapid
- Results are long lasting
- The programme can be individually tailored to each client’s needs through the use of client specific filtering where applicable
- It allows us to observe and respond to any changes as they occur and discuss the process with the client on a daily basis
- It is delivered in a structured, supervised environment
- It reduces problems of family dynamics which often make therapies difficult to perform at home
- We perform assessments of each client, by trained practitioners, prior to AIT and produce written reports
- Where ever possible, we measure hearing profiles before, during and after the programme
- We support clients following completion of AIT and request and encourage regular feedback
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Following an assessment which will be followed by a written report, a protocol is prepared for each client. The programme involves two 30-minute sessions each day with a minimum interval of three hours between sessions. A standard programme is twenty sessions, normally taken over a period of ten to twelve days. A break of one or two days may be taken but it is not advisable before completing half of the programme.
Our Centre is open some weekends and throughout most holiday periods including Christmas and Easter. We are open for the weekends associated with school half-term holidays in order to ensure that the AIT programme can be taken in as short as possible a period of time.
During therapy the client sits comfortably in a relaxed environment and listens through a pair of high quality headphones to music processed through specialist devices designed and approved by Dr. Bérard known as an Audiokinetron or an Earducator. These devices rapidly and randomly modulate the amplitude of the high or low frequencies in order to retrain the ears to hear in a more balanced way. Additional filters may also be used, depending on the results of any reliable hearing tests performed during our Standard Assessment.
Following AIT clients have often reported spontaneous improvements in their ability to cope with challenging situations and family dynamics are often significantly improved. As one client wrote “…It is like the war has stopped in our house. I dreaded waking up to face another day” Guardian Grandparent
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Changes in hearing, auditory processing or behaviour are often seen during the course of the programme and improvements are likely to continue developing during the following weeks and months.
Typical changes include:
- Hearing thresholds at different frequencies tend to flatten and move closer to the theoretical ideal – in other words hearing test results may improve
- Balance in the hearing profile between the two ears tends to improve
- Over-sensitivity tends to reduce or be eliminated
- Listening skills improving
In the case of children, parents often report that they are:
- Much more responsive
- More confident
- More observant
- Eager to learn
- Participate better with others
Parents have also reported that:
- Speech and language development has improved and, in some cases, has emerged for the first time
- Temper tantrums have diminished
- Children have performed better at school, either socially or academically
- Such changes are often accompanied by improved self-esteem
- Dietary and eating habits improve
We have also seen may adults, who were functioning below par:
- Show renewed energy and enthusiasm across many aspects of their lives
- Perform better at college, university, or work
- Improve their social life
We do believe, and the experiences of many past clients since 1995 has shown, that a wide range of improvements can result from Bérard Auditory Integration Training (AIT). We have many clients who have reported significantly improved processing of the sounds they hear and we know that improvements in auditory processing can influence and help improve social, emotional, behavioural or academic performance – see some of our success stories.
How do you measure success:
Success is judged against observed improvements in performance by parents, clients, teachers, speech therapists and OT’s etc. However, when possible, we take hearing profiles before, during and after the programme, as these provide objective evidence of change in auditory perception. We provide written reports and also encourage and document feedback over a period of nine months – see our research section.
“What I found so helpful were more the insights about my children – you really got to know them and understood their difficulties which even as a parent I could not do… I just shouted at them…”
- Parent – J. D.