I’m a huge AIT (Auditory Integration Training) fan. More specifically, AIT for children. When you find something that works well for your child, how can you not want to shout it from the roof tops?
Our Story with AIT
My son had blocked ear canals as a child and was non-verbal. We didn’t know if he was non-verbal because he couldn’t hear or if it was because of autism (he was diagnosed at 3 years and 2 months old). When the doctor cleared out his ears, we were hoping for a miracle, but he didn’t start talking right away and sounds still bothered him. And by bothered him I mean he would scream and throw his head back if we used a blender, the vacuum, hairdryer…and don’t even get me started on outdoor sounds and crowds. Pure torture.
We started an OT program with Britt which was helpful and before long my son was repeating Dora’s “Swiper no swiping.” He became verbal, but only echolalia. He could repeat an entire movie, but could not form his own thoughts into words.
By the time kindergarten started, my son was verbal, but had a very difficult time pronouncing many letters and would drop off the end of words. Particular noises still bothered him and he was unable to tune anything out during class. Things such as the clock ticking, another student moving their papers around, and traffic driving by would make him unable to focus on what the teacher was saying.
My ah-ha moment came when I read the book When Listening Comes Alive and I knew I needed to find an auditory treatment program for my son. Like many other parents out there who are reading everything they can find to help their children, I next read The Sound of Falling Snow and there was no stopping me. I found the AIT Institute website and filled out their online questionnaire. Within 24 hours I heard back from Khymberleigh Herwill-Levin of the Brain Institute. And we picked my son’s spring break as the time for him to get AIT. I later learned that Khymberleigh was featured in The Sound of Falling Snow regarding her client Trevor on page 43. Imagine my luck!
At 6 years old, my son received AIT from Khymberleigh 2 times a day for 10 consecutive days. To my surprise, he loved wearing the ear phones and even started asking for his “Magic Ears.” Before and after his twenty minute treatment, Khymberleigh also performed sequencing and brain and body combination exercises with him. It was amazing to watch his progress of those exercises during the ten days.
The results were wonderful. When my son returned to school he was being tested for adaptive PE because he couldn’t throw a ball before spring break (and other things). During the test he picked up a baseball and threw it into the basket ten times in a row and he couldn’t even get a ball tossed out of his hand before treatment. He is by no means going to be a professional baseball player – but he no longer qualified for adaptive PE.
He also started pronouncing his words clearly, stopped dropping off the end of words, and the sounds of the classroom didn’t disable him from learning. His teacher asked me what I did over Spring Break because she was so impressed with how much better he was doing. He felt more comfortable in his own skin.
While we still had and do have many more challenges to overcome and to face, we are very happy with our AIT therapy. My understanding is that results vary for each individual who has AIT therapy and not everyone responds as well as my son did. Like all therapies, every child is different and has different needs. This is our story that I like to share for parents who may be interested.
- The Autism File recently posted this article on auditory processing and autism.
- IDEA Training Center: This article explains what the Bernard Method of AIT is.
- The Bernard AIT website Q&A page. May answer the questions you have regarding AIT.
AIT Institute. Find more information on AIT and if this therapy is a right fit for your family. They can help find an AIT practitioner in your area.
Additional Resources for Auditory Help:
There are other auditory programs that parents can research including iLs, The Listening Program, auditory-verbal therapy, to name a few. Talk to your pediatrician and OT to see what might be best for you. You can also go to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association website for more information on hearing resources.
Khymberleigh Herwill Levin:
In Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years Khmberleigh explains how AIT helps children be more successful in the classroom. She also contributed to our previous book: Sensory Parenting: Newborns to Toddlers, where she goes into depth about AIT’s history and how it works. She may be found at
THE BRAIN FITNESS LEARNING CENTER, Khymberleigh Herwill Levin MA. Sp.Ed / AIT and Neurocognitive Practitioner www.ait1st.com.
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