Auditory integration training (AIT), as developed by French otolaryngologist Guy Bérard and based on the work of his predecessor, Alfred Tomatis, typically consists of 20 half-hour sessions of listening to specially modulated music over a 10- to 20-day period. AIT has been reported to be beneficial in several conditions, including AD/HD, autism, dyslexia, and hypersensitive hearing at certain frequencies.
[Our] review covers 28 reports on AIT. Twenty-three reports concluded that AIT benefits various population subgroups, three studies claim to show no benefit (or no benefit over that seen in a control group), and two studies reported rather ambiguous or contradictory results.
Considering the great difficulties in both providing a credible placebo treatment and assessing improvement in the subject populations, these results are quite encouraging. The balance of the evidence clearly favors AIT as a useful intervention, especially in autism. (January, 1993 – May, 2001)
Adapted from the Autism Research Institute website with permission.
Various methods of auditory integration training, or auditory stimulation have received considerable attention over the last 40 years. One such technique was proposed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French ear, nose and throat physician. Dr. Tomatis suggested that auditory stimulation could accelerate the development of communication skills, with positive effects in the area of language and learning. He developed an electronic device to modify sounds that provide a “workout” for the inner ear.
Over 200 treatment facilities, referred to as “Listening Centers,” provide sound stimulation through the Tomatis method. Practitioners suggest that this method can be helpful to many youngsters with autism and developmental delays (accounting for approximately half the clientele) as well as dyslexia and auditory discrimination difficulties. Listening skills, according to Dr. Tomatis, can affect our concentration, the way we process information, and the way we express ourselves.
Most reports on the Tomatis method have been anecdotal, with many positive reports from families. To date, research has been limited.
Paul Madaule is director of The Listening Centre in Toronto, Ontario. He worked personally with Dr. Tomatis, who helped Mr. Madaule overcome his own problems related to dyslexia. Paul Madaule wrote When Listening Comes Alive (now in its second edition), a book that explains the Tomatis Listening Method. It also includes a section of “Earobics” — daily exercises that allow readers to develop listening skills on their own.
The Listening Centre
599 Markham Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M6G 2L7
For locations of centers in America and Canada:
The Listening Center
12801 Hillcrest, Suite 101
Dallas, TX 75230
Further reading: When Listening Comes Alive; by Paul Madaule; 1994, 2nd edition, 204 pages.
This article was reprinted with the permission of Dr. Bernard Rimland of the Autism Research Institute