Sometimes parents, and even practitioners become confused when they read or hear different information about my AIT method. This information will provide important guidelines that should be followed in a Berard AIT program.
2. The minimum age for the listener is 3 years old. There is no upper age limit.
3. The listener should be examined by a health care practitioner prior to the start of the listening sessions to assure that there is no ear infection, excessive wax and/or fluid present that will interfere with the transmission of the sounds through the auditory system. If an ear infection should develop at any time during the AIT program, the training must stop and can not resume until the individual is clear of infection and excessive fluid.
4. The optimal schedule provides for 20 listening sessions lasting for 30 minutes, over a 10-day period. In most cases, the listener has two sessions a day for 10 days. At some AIT clinics, the listening sessions are given for 10 consecutive days; however, it is also acceptable to have a 1- or 2-day break, but only after the first 5 days of listening. The number of sessions and length of them are not subject to change until formal research procedures determine that such changes are beneficial.
5. Berard AIT can be repeated 6 months after the previous program. Those with a diagnosis of autism should wait for 9-12 months before participating in AIT again.
6. There is no research or clinical data that supports the provision of “booster” (a few days of AIT) sessions. If it appears that the individual may benefit from more AIT, the entire 10 days should be done. Berard AIT can be provided until there is no more benefit seen.
7. Audiotests are typically obtained prior to, at the midpoint, and at the end of the 10 hours of listening. The first and mid-point tests are used to determine whether any narrow-band filters will be used. The first test should be obtained not more than two weeks before beginning AIT.
8. Filtering peaks is optional for those with developmental disabilities who may not be able to cooperate with the audiotest procedure. Studies have shown that improvement occurs even without narrow-band filters due to the modulation of the music. In fact, the protocol for selecting filters is complex and there are only specific cases when filters are necessary. Not all peaks in the audiotest are filtered.
9. The intensity level (volume) during the AIT listening sessions should not exceed an average maximum output of 85 dBA (slow scale) and may be set at much lower intensities depending on the individual's comfort level. Basically, the music is played at a moderately loud, but not uncomfortable, level. The 85 dBA level for a total of one-hour per day is well below the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) guidelines for non-hazardous noise levels. The OSHA Noise Standard permits exposure to an average noise exposure of 85 dBA for eight continuous hours.
10. Once the AIT program has been started, headphones should not be used for recreational music and other listening. It is well documented that use of headphones has reversed the benefits obtained from AIT. For computer and language labs at school, or for watching a movie on a plane, place the headphones around the neck and adjust the volume so it can be quietly heard from the ear pieces near the neck.
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