Five-year old Evan lives with his parents in Winchester, Virginia. I spent ten days with them to understand their family dynamics and treat Evan with Auditory Integration Training.
As with many autistic children, Evan resisted being held, squirmed and whined, could not maintain eye contact, and talked seldom. When I first met him the best his mother Paula could do was try to keep him on her lap.
I discovered that Evan was also very light-sensitive and at first needed a dim room to function even marginally—but ironically his response to light became an indicator of his progress. By the third day he could wear the headset if his brother Ryan would lie on the sofa with him in a dim room, and he began calling his AIT sessions his “goodnight music time.” As a reward for listening quietly I offered him a “drum machine” and he began to play definite rhythms and experiment with the melodies programmed into it.
This phase of his development peaked when he was able to remember and sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” in response to Ryan in a fully lighted room. By the way, I have noticed that many autistic children seem to have perfect pitch, and Evan appears to be no exception. And music evidently provides him with structure. One day I asked him if he was ready for his music and was dumbfounded when he replied, “Yes; it’s on my schedule.”
Other advances came one on the heels of the other. Evan could now name the shirt he wanted (“Madagascar”) and dress himself. He learned to hold a sandwich and use tableware—when his place was bare in a restaurant, he indignantly asked, “Hey! Where’s my fork? He no longer covered his ears from loud noises, and his sentences were as long as 8 words. He loves water and the nearby lake, just like other children his age.
Evan now will talk on the phone and invite others to play with him. And by the way, he’s now fully POTTY-TRAINED."
Read About Trace and Ashley William's AIT Success Story
"Ashley was almost 9 years old and her brother Trace was 10 1/2 when they first arrived with a large set of challenges, not “simple” autism alone. Trace’s ADHD kept him from concentrating to develop coherent language skills, and incomplete thoughts leaped from him like sparks. Ashley rarely spoke or responded because of poor conceptualizing — when asked to pick up a yellow ball she apparently lacked the concept of a ball, much less a yellow one. And neither one of them was potty trained.
But a few AIT sessions later their growth seemed miraculous. Suddenly they could both multitask; at the same time they listened to the AIT disks, both of them could concentrate enough to draw and spell. Their mother remarked that for the first time Trace was drawing things she could recognize, and Ashley was proud of being able to color inside the lines and assign colors to keep track of different objects. “Conventional Wisdom” has it that multiple tasks split a child’s attention. But these were autistic siblings; an invitation to these tasks not only piqued their interest in the sessions, it also eliminated any wrangling over who had their mother with them by placing her in the “nontreatment room". They now showed two new expressions — concentration while working and smiles at their results.
Soon both of them branched out. Ashley loved solving puzzles, and Trace made a variety of designs with lots of things — even candy, which was replaced in the jar instead of eaten. When one of them was in a session, the other had no trouble thinking of things to do and even talk about. Trace no longer went off in three directions at once, and Ashley’s blank stares had disappeared. Both of them discovered rhythms and made a game of them, first with objects of different sizes and then using musical notation. When they returned home everything suddenly felt dull.
The following Saturday was Ashley’s ninth birthday, and what a surprise! She invited her whole softball team, and she laughed and gabbed with her friends over her presents. She and Trace even found time to play with each other. What a change from our first meeting; their smiles and excitement made everyone happy.
Potty training was no longer a problem, and they called about their progress. And the best surprise of all was the hand drawn and lettered cards they sent for our birthdays. Now it’s hard to remember that first meeting when its place has been taken by the photo of them sitting together on the porch swing."
Read About Ganesh's AIT Success
Soon he stopped resisting the headphones and started responding to arange of sounds, including voices. Now he could HEAR the difference between a statement, a question, and a command. His playful father found that the mantras he had taught Ganesh began paying off. Ganesh learned patience because he could respond to the tone of those talking to him, and tantrums faded away as he saw that only sentences could get what a very bright boy really wanted. By then his parents had stopped responding to his tantrums and had learned how to tell him what he must do and why. Ganesh’s vocabulary and grammar exploded because he could communicate just what he wanted in sentences. He could quietly play by himself on the computer (with remarks but no pants, as most boys his age do), and he even played “air guitar.” He grinned at using a fork and spoon, and proudly ate huge portions neatly at the table, a first for him. Better, Ganesh shared voluntarily—is popup books, identifying things and even emotions in pictures, and horseplay with his father. When we confirmed what he saw and heard himself, his thoughts and laughter came like lightning. He is possibly the quickest child I have ever worked with."
About Berard AIT and Autism Treatment