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Autism Research 2005: Report on the Changes in Scores for a Group of 13 Children with Autism After Berard Auditory Integration Training

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by Rosalie Seymour, SLP/A, Berard AIT Practitioner and Maoilíosa Ó Rathaille, B.A., M.Sc., C.Stat., Lecturer in Mathematics and Statistics, Waterford Institute of Technology

Conclusion on this AIT Clinical Study

"AIT does, in fact, appear to be a worthwhile, frequently beneficial intervention which confers improvement in a number of symptoms, in a significant proportion of disorders on the autism spectrum."

This study was done to answer two questions:

  1. To determine whether AIT made any difference for those children with autism who participated .

  2. The next question to answer was, is this difference bigger than one can expect from ordinary chance? 

Two methods of assessment were chosen:

While 17 children with the diagnosis of Autism were included in this study, in total there were 13 parents who completed their before- and- after ATEC checklists and 12 who returned their ABC forms. These checklists were completed before AIT started, and then four months after the conclusion of AIT.

The ATEC - Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist gives a Total score, as well as sub scores for

  • Speech,

  • Sociability

  • Cognitive / Sensory awareness, and

  • Health-Physical-Behavioral issues.

 The Autism Behaviour Checklist (ABC) has a total score, then also

  • Hyperactivity

  • Irritibility

  • Lethargy

  • Stereotypy and

  • Inappropriate Speech… (One point must be clarified, on this checklist a mute child will have a lower – i.e. better - score than a child who speaks a lot but it is inappropriate in content or style.)

 As we get to know more about the results we get from AIT, we might be able to learn what to offer people as expected outcomes. This does not seem altogether simple, since there is quite a spread of possibilities of changes after AIT, making prediction a bit hard to do.

RESULTS
Pre-AIT and Post-AIT  scores were calculated for each of the sub-scores and for the totals for both ATEC(n=13) and ABC(n=12) scores. The hypothesis was tested to see if there was any change in performance between the original scores and the scores found after the treatment was carried out (post-treatment – pre-treatment). The results are summarised in Tables 1(ATEC) and 2(ABC) below. In all cases, the 1-sample sign test for a median is used.

Table 1: Comparison of ATEC score changes for the two groups after the study period
 
 
Factor

Median of the differences

P-value: test of no difference

Significant (5%)

Speech

0

0.508

No

Sociability

-3

0.0005

Yes

Sensory/

Cognitive awareness

 
-1

 

0.0117

 
Yes

Health/

physical/ behaviour

 
-5

 

0.2668

 
No

Total

-9

0.0005

Yes

These calculations show that there were improvements for the group of children in Sociability, Sensory/Cognitive awareness,  and the total score.

The changes in Sociability, Sensory – Cognitive and the Total scores are significant. That is, we can confidently say they were not as a result of chance but likely to have been due to AIT.

 
Table 2: Comparison of ABC scores
 
 
Factor

Median of the differences

P-value: test of no difference

Significant (5%)

Irritabilty

-11

0.002

Yes

Lethargy

-6

0.0386

Yes

Stereotypy

-4.5

0.508

No

Hyperactivity

 
-16

 

0.0063

 
Yes

Inappropriate speech

 
-4

 

0.289

 
No

Total

-10

0.0063

Yes

These results show that there were improvements for the group in all the areas covered by this checklist. There were significant changes in the areas of iritability, lethargy, hyperactivity, and the Total scores. That is, we can confidently say they were not as a result of chance but are likely to have been due to AIT.

CONCLUSION

The results of this study confirm the results of other  studies (Autism Research Institutethat have shown significant changes occur in areas of importance to the well-being and progress of children with autism.

To quote Dr. Steven Edelson (Autism Research Institute):

 ‘…a review of the available literature on AIT has produced 23 studies with positive results and only 3 claiming no benefits from AIT. While none of the research done thus far on AIT is of Nobel Prize quality, the positive studies are far more credible than those with negative results.  As we point out in our comments, the 3 studies that claim no benefits are deeply flawed, with conclusions that are not supported by the research procedures nor the research data.

'AIT does, in fact, appear to be a worthwhile, frequently beneficial intervention which confers improvement in a number of symptoms, in a significant proportion of disorders on the autism spectrum.’

 


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