I am often asked about the difference between my method of AIT and the Tomatis listening center program. Dr. Tomatis was practicing his method in France before I developed my method. I learned the Tomatis program from him, and then determined that a more efficient method could be devised. My goal was to develop a program that would be as effective or even more effective, while requiring fewer hours of listening, and therefore, less cost for the families. Since my medical degree was in the field of general surgery, I went back to medical school and received my degree as an ENT (ear, nose and throat surgeon). This training provided the background necessary for pursuing my goal of developing a more efficient ear retraining program.
Over many years of clinical practice with a variety of patients, I perfected my method so that the music stimulation was sufficiently powerful to reorganize the auditory system with a total of 10 hours of listening, provided over a period of 10 to 12 days (in two 30 minute sessions per day). This provided a method of auditory reorganization that was practical and cost effective for most families.
An important difference between the Tomatis program and my method is the fact there is little research to document the effectiveness of the Tomatis program. While there are anecdotal reports of progress following the Tomatis program, clinical reports are not available to provide data on measured improvements. My method and equipment has been well researched for many years. In more recent years, after my method became available and well publicized, the Tomatis Centres reduced the number of hours required for listening, though it still requires 30 or more hours. No reasons or studies were provided for this sudden shift to fewer hours.
Now, to clarify some current misunderstandings. The terms “auditory integration training” and “AIT” were coined in response to the introduction of my method into the U.S. in the early 1990’s. The Tomatis program had never been referred to as ”auditory integration training” or “AIT” prior to 1992. The Tomatis method is not AIT and parents should not feel that they have “done AIT for their child” if they have only provided the Tomatis program. It is different from my method in theory and practice.
In recent years Tomatis practitioners have stated that Berard AIT is useful for reducing hypersensitive hearing and then should be followed by the Tomatis program to improve listening, processing and communication skills. Some Tomatis Centres even begin their program within a few days/weeks of completion of Berard AIT. My method is effective not only for reducing hypersensitive hearing but also for retraining the listening, attention, processing and communication skills.
In recent years, my practitioners have provided clinical studies that document the improvement in communication, attention, and processing skills achieved by my method. Berard Practitioners use standard tests to measure progress. These tests demonstrate statistically significant improvements following Berard AIT. Therefore, it should not be assumed that the Tomatis method must be used after Berard AIT to achieve this progress. In fact, it would be prudent to allow time for the Berard AIT to be integrated and stabilized in order to evaluate progress and decide whether more intervention is even necessary. This would also be helpful for families who try to carefully manage their resources so they can get the most benefit for their individuals with special needs. After all, it was for this reason that I developed my method of AIT.
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