Why Does Berard AIT Require Intensity and Repetition to be Successful?
By Sally Brockett, M.S. Director, IDEA Training Center
Families and individuals seek auditory integration training (AIT) in hopes of creating some changes in the skills and abilities of the listener. For example, there may be a short attention span, poor auditory discrimination skills, or improvement needed in the ability to follow directions. These are all very desirable outcomes, but the AIT schedule is so rigorously intense that some parents find it difficult to accommodate into their lives. Listeners must complete 10 hours (1 hour/day) of listening to specially processed music within a 12-day period, and the music is carefully selected so it will provide the appropriate type of stimulation. Parents often ask, "Why are 10 hours required and why must it be so intense?” The answer actually lies within the brain.
Brain plasticity is the mechanism that allows the brain to be molded or changed. Plasticity is an amazing feature with great power. However, there must be certain controls over it, otherwise, the brain would be constantly subjected to changes that may be beneficial at times, or possibly detrimental at other times. When one area of the brain (cortical map) grows, another area or map often shrinks, due to competition for neurons and synaptic space. To protect against whimsical changes within the brain, three prerequisites must be met. The brain will respond with change when these three conditions occur: attention, repetition and intense exposure. In other words, the individual needs to attend to a specific experience, the experience must be repetitious, and the exposure must be intense. Dr. Berard's method of AIT meets these parameters, which may be an underlying reason why it has been so successful for so many years.
It is for these reasons that AIT cannot be approached casually. The brain typically does not respond with significant, permanent change to casual exposures. A definitive effort must be made to "convince” the brain that it is the individual's intention to create a change.