Know how one kind of sound therapy can make your child a better learner.
By Regina G. Posadas
(Published in Manila Bulletin )
Children react to sounds in different ways. In school, many students do not mind the buzz of activity and the chatter inside the classroom or the cafeteria, and the loud ringing of the bell. But there a number of youngsters who are greatly bothered by noise, or even by regular, everyday sounds like the barking of a dog, a whistle blowing, or the flushing of the toilet. They may tune out conversations and refuse to communicate because of this aversion to sound. Consequently, their learning and development are affected.
If your child reacts adversely to noise or to certain sounds, he may benefit from Auditory Integration Therapy or AIT. AIT is a safe and effective sound therapy developed by Dr. Guy Berard of France. It is backed by more than 30 years of scientific research and 28 clinical studies, in addition to being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Because it is an educational intervention system – and not a medical one – AIT is non-invasive and drug-free. In the Philippines, AIT is offered at the Sound Therapy Learning Center in San Juan, which is run by the husband and wife team of Mike and Stephanie Borbe, both AIT Practitioners.
Is AIT for you?
According to the Borbes, AIT is most beneficial to children who exhibit the following signs and symptoms of Auditory and Sensory Processing Issues:
- short attention span
- poor comprehension
- difficulty listening, understanding and remembering
- poor concentration around noise or crowds
- hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to sound
- delays in speech
AIT is likewise ideal for:
- people who want a competitive edge
- students who want to increase their focus
- seniors who want to protect their hearing
- the learning disabled
- individuals with ADD, AD/HD, autism, dyslexia and other related disorders
Mike explains that AIT helps reorganize the brain to improve hearing distortions and sensory processing capabilities. Of course, a person can hear, listen, and learn better with reduced sensory overload. AIT also strengthens and balances the auditory system, and makes the synapses of the brain stronger.
Simply put, AIT enables a person to sift through the noise and focus on the task at hand for better concentration, enhanced learning, and often, much improved behavior. This is achieved through 10 hours of music therapy, divided into two 30-minute sessions a day for 10 days. The treatment can be completed straight or with a maximum break of 2 days for the participant. For optimum results, at least 3 hours of rest is also recommended every day between the two sessions. A child or adult can retake AIT only after at least 9 months. Three is the minimum age for participation, but there is no maximum age.
Thankful for AIT
The Ligot family is just one in several who appreciate AIT and has seen and experienced its benefits firsthand. Mom Weng Ligot recounts that her son Anthony Miles, now 8, has undergone AIT twice – first when he was 4 in 2008, and then in 2010 when he was 6 – since being diagnosed with autism when he was 3. Before Miles had AIT and other types of therapy, Weng observed that his son had difficulty communicating, showed no “awareness” of the goings-on around him, didn’t maintain eye contact, had no “sense” of danger, had problems with balance and coordination, and didn’t speak spontaneously. Miles would often just repeat what his parents said. He was also uncomfortable with bright lights and crowded places, was terrified of being at the edge of a chair, and he wouldn’t sit still. In school, Miles’s teachers reported that although he knew some of the lessons, he wasn’t very focused on the assigned tasks. He usually ambled around the classroom and didn’t interact with the other kids.
Post AIT, though, plus a couple of other helpful treatments, Weng noticed a marked improvement in Miles. He was better at eye contact, was more aware and focused, and became more coordinated. His teachers, who were intentionally not informed of the AIT sessions, were amazed at the changes in Miles. They asked Weng what she did that made Miles more cooperative and more attentive. According to them, Miles now sits down in class and has noticeably improved social skills, because he interacts and is more interested in the other kids. But for Weng, the most evident improvement was in her son’s motor skills. “After AIT, he now runs straight. Before, his body was bent when running and he didn’t move so well. Now, he swings on his own, enjoys the seesaw, and can climb all the way to the top of the jungle gym,” she proudly says. It seems that her boy was able to successfully overcome some of his fears as well.
Even Miles’s communication skills improved. Says Mom Weng, “He is better at both receptive and expressive communication, and he can write down his thoughts.”
At the new special education school that Miles now attends, he continues to excel and is on track to finish number two among the thirty students, based on his tests and academic performance. He exhibits a love of music, too, and plays the flute impressively.