Who is Georgiana Thomas?
Georgiana Thomas was diagnosed as severely autistic at the age three. By defying the odds and the experts and stunning those who knew her and heard about her, Georgiana went from special education to straight A’s in a mainstream school after receiving AIT.
Although Georgiana had no speech at four, she is now fluent in six languages, including Arabic, spoken and written.
Georgiana Thomas caught the interest of the late Dr. Bernard Rimland ( who was director of the Autism Research Institute) when she won the Regent’s Honor Award for the University of Hartford. He was skeptical of Georgiana’s former diagnosis of severe autism, and had it validated by the physician and autism expert who had diagnosed her. Dr. Bernard Rimland then conducted the first of many double blind studies on auditory training.
Her story is detailed in her self-published autobiography, Overcoming Autism. Georgiana attributes her recovery to divine intervention, AIT, and parents who finally paid attention when they were led in the right direction.
Today, Georgiana lives in Corvallis, Ore. She is happily married to a contractor and is blessed with a bright 8 year old. She is a successful professional caricaturist. She has appeared on 20/20, Larry King and numerous other shows.
What Does It Feel Like to Have Auditory Integration Training?
Auditory Training can be defined as physiotherapy for the inner ear with the use of modulated music played through filters and headphones… His job (Dr. Berard’s) was to tune my hearing as one would tune a piano. He did this by having me listen to programmed music through headphones for half an hour twice a day for ten days strainght. The many varieties of music were programmed with filters and modulated at different volumes to cover the entire range of frequencies.
Before my first listening session began, Dr. Berard instructed me to keep the headphones on at all times without exceptions. He warned me that no matter how painful the loud music was I should never remove the headphones, and I obeyed…
During my first listening session, I did what Simple Simon said and kept the headphones on the entire time, even though it was excruciatingly loud at times. The music was ecletic and totally unpredictable, because it was all fragmented and distorted. It went from being painfully loud to very soft and then it would hit average frequencies.
The longer I listened, the more I daydreamed. Each day consistently easier as I grew accustomed to listening and daydreaming myself into a relaxed state of mind. The songs would undulate from loud to soft and then would be so broken up into fragments that even familiar songs would be almost unrecognizable…
Half way through A.I.T., I began to notice my hearing was less sensitive and that I was much more relaxed around other people, which lowered my tension level.
By this time, I was much more comfortable with the different volumes and I was no longer tempted to take the headphones off. My hearing was totally readjusted to normal and all I had to do was sit and daydream while listening.
There was also a notable difference in my behavior because my tension level was way down from what It had been my whole life. For the first time, I could relax around noisy people and was no longer terrified by certain sounds. It was as if I had been underwater my whole life and suddenly I popped up and could experience the world for the first time.
(Thomas, 2000, p. 124 – p 127)