DR Guy Bérard

On 16th June 2014 Dr Guy Bérard died at the age of 98, attended by his wife Nicole, and his physician.

He lived in Les Ollieres, in the region Haute-Savoie, France, in the foothills of the Alps.

So, quietly, passed a man who contributed greatly to the well-being of many people in his medical practice. But it is especially as the originator of the method he named ‘Auditory Integration Training’  that he will be remembered.

By his own account, he went to work in Indochina / Cambodia as a medical doctor since there were few opportunities available in France at the time. He reports being strongly influenced in his approach to his patients by his assistant who advised him not to talk so much to the patients , just fix them! He brought this philosophy into all he did, being an immensely practical man who physically built his own clinic with his own hands.

Dr Bérard recounts how he returned to France from time to time to take a number of further specialisations, notably in Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) surgery.

Upon the fall of Cambodia he returned to France, and it was there that he became aware that his hearing was deteriorating with attendant tinnitus. Here followed a series of trips to find someone who could help him. As he said: ‘ All agreed that there was no treatment, and that (he) would be completely deaf in 5 years.’

Around this time he met Dr Alfred de Tomatis whose work with modified music and sound to retrain the ear and psyche had been in operation for some years.

Dr Bérard joined Tomatis’s clinic, but it soon became apparent that these two thinkers were pursuing opposing concepts: Tomatis the emotional/psychiatric, and Bérard the practical/ mechanical one.

Since he was not silent in his opinions he soon found himself ‘set free’ to continue developing his own method, which we now know as AIT (or FST).

Thanks to the huge efforts of Annabel Stehli and her husband, Peter, who formed the Georgiana Organisation to promote AIT, Dr Bérard was brought to the USA to train practitioners. When I travelled from Cape Town, South Africa, in May 1994 to be trained by him he was 78 years old. I was struck by his immense wiry energy, his fitness, and sense of humour. I recall how after a full day of teaching in Westport, Connecticut, USA, he arranged a pair of bicycles with Peter Stehli’s help, because he needed to get out and moving. Peter told me he would travel anywhere he would be allowed to scuba! Didnt he break his collarbone skiing at the age of 88?

In 1999, after I had developed the Earducator in South Africa, I took it to him in his villa in Annecy (Les Ollieres), to seek his approval/comment. He was a gracious host, and he and Nicole treated me to a wonderful meal overlooking the Lac d’Annecy with its ‘fete du Lac’ fireworks show. He was then still as sharp and as fit as ever.

Today we can list centres all around the world offering AIT, from the UK and Ireland to South Africa, from the USA and Canada to Indonesia and China. In many different countries and in many diffferent languages, children and adults with disorders relating to listening and integration are being helped to live  more competent lives.

Over a million people worldwide owe a grateful acknowlegement to this man. He leaves a legacy of dedicated practitioners, who are faithful to his protocol, and some who continue to develop his protocol to make it even more accessible to a wider range of people.

I have been always guided by his strong conviction that we need to not place impossible burdens on the children or their parents, e.g. by unnecessary expense, or unncessary testing. But above all as a practitioner I valued his approach to the support of practitioners:- whereas similar auditory methods make their practitioners pay huge sums to maintain their licenses, Guy Bérard set us free to pursue our practices as our wit and energy took us. He was always there with advice and counsel:- he used to describe the ‘white rivaire‘  of faxes pouring into his office daily. He always answered them.

So we honour a great man, whose life’s work has made an indelible mark on the landscape of assessment and intervention.

 

It features speakers of note from many countries who will share their work and experiences with AIT,  with presentations on research, on therapies that combine with AIT, on Metabolic support, outcomes and experiences.

Parents will also share their experiences, notably Annabel Stheli the author of ‘The Sound of a Miracle’ and other books documenting exceptional progress using AIT in conjunction with other therapies. Annabel will present with her daughter, Georgie, whose journey to overcome her autism began with AIT in Annecy with Dr Berard!

 

 

THE EARDUCATOR

   In South Africa, the cost factor had prevented others from training, so Rosalie Seymour, the first AIT practitioner and trainer in SA, felt that the development of a South African-built device was essential. She supervised and funded its development, and the Earducator was created. This device found Dr Bérard’s enthusiastic approval, and was well-received at the first International Association of Bérard Practitioners conference in Antwerp, 2000.

In some countries the emphasis of AIT has fallen on assisting children with  educational difficulties, particularly the listening-skills problems underlying phonics problems, reading and spelling difficulties,  as well as autism, concentration problems, etc.

THE DAA The Georgiana Institute developed an alternative system of AIT delivery, namely the Digital Auditory Aerobics (DAA), also known as Earliest Adventures in Sound. The principles are similar to the Bérard approach, but the device uses pre-recorded discs with electronically modulated music, specially composed and performed and then modulated to be like Audiokinetron output.  These discs then play through a further filtering process, through earphones, as one would for AIT.

FILTERED SOUND TRAINING

Rosalie Seymour continued to research more cost-effective ways of bringing AIT within the reach of the client. With the team from Dataworks, a bespoke programming company in Waterford, Ireland, a PC-based programme was developed which delivers AIT – sound modulation with all the controls needed to ensure effective AIT. This allows AIT to be done effectively at home so that those who cannot access a local practitioner may still obtain the training with minimum disruption. FST brings costs within everyone’s reach.

 

 

 Filtered Sound Training

   the PC-Personalised Auditory Training System

 

high-quality auditory training within the reach of everyone
find the answers to
your questions on listening skills
and how difficulties can be helped.
Please feel free to contact us  for more…

Bérard Auditory Integration Training (or Bérard AIT as it is known) was developed by Dr Guy Bérard, a French Ear- Nose- and Throat specialist living in Annecy, France. Dr Bérard originally devised AIT to rehabilitate disorders of the auditory system such as hearing loss or hearing distortions (hypersensitive, hyposensitive, or asymmetrical hearing conditions).

After more than 35 years of clinical practice Dr Bérard concluded that in many cases distortions of hearing or auditory processing contribute to behavioural problems and could also contribute to learning difficulties. He found in the large majority of his clients that AIT significantly reduced some or many of the handicaps associated with dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, central auditory processing disorders (CAPD), speech and language problems, and a variety of sensory issues including auditory, tactile or other sensitivities (hyper or hypo), pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity), anxiety and depression.

AIT was designed to normalise the ways in which the brain processes auditory information. In other words it works to equalise the hearing response across all frequencies across the hearing range. AIT has over 35 years of scientific research and there are 28 clinical studies documenting its efficacy.

History

Dr Guy Bérard designed a device that rapidly modulated the high and low frequencies within selected music to create a type of auditory massage for the ear and brain centres for receiving sound. This device which is now called the AudioKinetron also contains filters to reduce auditory stimulation to selected frequencies in cases where an individual has painful hearing that interferes with attention and concentration.

While Dr Bérard was accumulating evidence in France he wrote a book entitled ‘Ecoute Egale Comportement’ (translated in 1994 into English as Hearing Equals Behaviour).

However the event that really catapulted this information into the awareness of the English-speaking world was the publication in 1991 of the book by Annabel Stehli : ‘The Sound of a Miracle’. This book documented the emergence from autism by Annabel’s daughter, Georgie, following AIT with Dr Bérard. This book became a best-seller, and was followed by two more: ‘Dancing in the Rain’ and ‘The Sound of Falling Snow’ which described other children’s dramatic progress after AIT.

As the demand for this training grew, Annabel and her husband Peter formed the Georgiana Institute and brought out Dr Bérard to train many practitioners in the USA and from other countries, in courses  held in Westport, Connecticut, USA, in the years between 1991 and 1994.

The device in use at that time was the French-built AudioKinetron, built by M Pierre Suire for Dr Bérard. The Kinetron accepts music from a regular compact disc or tape player and electronically divides the frequencies it finds into a high and low range. The machine then randomly presents either the low or the high frequencies in a rapidly and randomly shifting manner.

This sound is delivered via high-response headphones to the listener at loudness levels that typically may begin at 40 dB and rise to 85 to 90dB by the end of the training sessions.

The training itself consists of twenty half-hour sessions spaced over the ten consecutive days. Depending on the individual there may be transient side effects including headaches, mood swings, mild disorientation, euphoria, and nausea. As with any exercise programme fatigue is the most commonly-seen side-effect. Many people show no side effects at all. These side effects may appear intermittently for the month following AIT. It is evident that some powerful changes occur during AIT and it takes a while for the person to assimilate them. No long-term negative effects have been attributed to AIT.

Why Does It Work?

When an individual listens to this music the muscles in the middle ear shift and readjust continually in response to the modulated tones. This continual movement of the muscles in the middle ear becomes a kind of exercise that strengthens the ears ability to modulate sound.

It is believed that the cochlea experiences a ‘wash’ of fluid back and forth as well. The net effect is that the middle, and (to some extent) the inner ear receive the equivalent of a massage that allows for greater flexibility and responsiveness to sound stimuli. Auditory information from the ears is processed by the temporal lobe of the brain, which is also heavily involved in the processing of language-based information and has some role in emotional functioning.

There is speculation that AIT involves remapping of areas of the brain associated with auditory processing and that the temporal lobe stimulation encourages the development of new dendritic branching. Ongoing research will in time to come reveal more clearly how the kinds of changes practitioners regularly report are brought about.

New Developments

The Audiokinetron is no longer manufactured. A more recent South African device, the Earducator, has taken its place.  In the USA, a development known as Digital Auditory Aerobics (DAA) was produced by Annabel Stehli with Keith McBurnie. This device adheres to the same protocol as the Earducator and produces the same benefits, but is not accepted by the ‘old-guard’ traditionalists. Since Keith McBurnie’s passing, the DAA is no longer manufactured.

All these devices suffer from the same drawbacks in AIT delivery … they are costly, they are bulky, and a client has to travel to the rooms of the practitioner who has such a device in order to obtain the training.

A new concept in AIT-provision runs from a pc or laptop, using the sound manipulation capabilities of the pc with the control for levels of loudness, filters and session timing being built-in to the programme. It can still deliver the AIT-quality sound alternation via headphones and adheres to the original specifications of Dr Bérard with ONE  important difference… that it can be done in the client’s home! This new system is called Filtered Sound Training.

Furthermore, this new concept, FST, remains free of the (still unproven) restrictions regarding minimum age of training, and from the unproven filtering protocols of the old-guard AIT management.

For further information, contact Rosalie Seymour
Tel: 0044 7975945567
Email: rosalie@filteredsoundtraining.net

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF  AUDITORY INTEGRATION TRAINING (AIT)

The events that led to the development of Auditory Integration Training began in the practice of the late Dr Guy Bérard (1916- 2014), a French Ear – Nose – and Throat surgeon who practiced for a time in Cambodia and then later in France.  It should be emphasised from the start he developed AIT first as an intervention for his own progressive hearing loss and the tinnitus that accompanied it.

This new treatment rapidly became known in Europe for its usefulness in overcoming dyslexia. It was also found that certain cases of emotional and mood disturbances responded well to AIT.

GEORGIE

Hearing Equals Behavious…So it was that Dr Bérard was visited by the family of an American  girl, Georgiana Stehli, then 11 years old. Diagnosed by internationally – renowned experts variously as “autistic”, “psychotic” , “dyslexic” and “retarded”, she also had hyper-acute hearing. She received her AIT with Dr Bérard, and started a slow steady emergence from both autism and dyslexia. These labels soon became inappropriate as her giftedness in numerous areas can show. Her social skills developed, she is married with children, supports her home, runs her own business, and in addition travels as a speaker and counsels at an autism centre.                                              

What must not be forgotten is that these changes took hard work. For years after AIT Georgie’s mom, Annabel, with Peter, worked hard with Georgie to modify her problem behaviours. A “quick fix” it was not!  Those who have read her story as an overnight miracle with no hard work are likely to be very disillusioned with their own experience of AIT.

Professional opinion was guarded as the Stehli’s tried to tell of their experience, but they worked steadily at letting others know about AIT. They met with the late Dr Bernard Rimland (Autism Research Institute), who was intrigued by their account.  He obtained an audiokinetron from Dr Bérard and began to do research into its efficacy for autism.

Before this development  in the USA, across the border in Montreal, Dr Gérard Binet had already been successfully offering AIT to clients for some time.

                                                                                           

PUBLICITY MOUNTS…

Information to the English-speaking general public was not available for many years perhaps due to the fact that Dr Bérard’s book was published only in French!

When Georgie completed school and college with honours, and was well on her way to establish her own life, Annabel wrote her story, “The Sound of a Miracle”. In 1990 the CBS team went to Dr Bérard’s home to film a program which was well-received. Due to Annabel’s gift of communication, the book came to public attention quickly on its release in 1991, and sparked a demand for AIT in the United States. The Readers Digest featured it as Book of the Month in March 1991. In December 1991 the  ABC Television program 20/20 featured the story and some case studies. Annabel was invited to speak  frequently at conferences and meetings, she was interviewed by Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael,  the Australian “Beyond 2000” ran a feature, and many newspapers reported stories about AIT.

This information became available to South Africa, due to “Carte Blanche” screening the 20/20 segment, and the Readers Digest article. This prompted the first speech and language therapist in SA to work in Autism, Rosalie Seymour,  to visit  the USA to be trained by Dr Bérard as a practitioner.

THE GEORGIANA INSTITUTE

The Georgiana Organisation was formed by the Stehli’s to spread information about AIT, and they arranged for Dr Bérard to come to the USA  to train interested practitioners from various disciplines. Between 1991 and 1993 , 8 such training courses had been run, with about 20 people training per course.

At this time, some studies and a double-blind placebo study were conducted by various researchers, including Drs Rimland, Edelson, Panksepp , Highfill and Cimorelli, and Rudy, Morgan and Shepard, confirming the observed  benefits of AIT  were due to the treatment and not just chance.

FDA DIFFICULTY

Then  the FDA clamped down on  the Audiokinetron, putting a “class 3” rating on it (the usual procedure) that restricted further development of the practice of AIT in the USA, since nobody could  take a Kinetron across state borders, nor bring one into the country until their tests are concluded. ( A class 3 rating puts it into the category  of equipment that may be operated only by highly skilled practitioners, e.g. laser eye surgery.)

By now it is more than obvious, after these many years of AIT practice that the Audiokinetron has no proven risk .  Recently the FDA declared that they have no control over devices employed for educational purposes only, so while the Audiokinetron they had seized remains under investigation,  the Earducator  is not, neither are the DAA or FST systems. Such devices may be brought into the USA without restriction.

THE BGC DEVICE

A device similar to the Audiokinetron, was  later built by the USA engineer, Bill Clarke,  called the BGC device. It did not achieve Bérard approval, and is no longer being manufactured.

CHANGES IN LEADERSHIP

Dr Bérard retired in his villa near Annecy and ‘handed over the reins’ to Dr Stephen Edelson. He has since stepped down from this position to take up leadership of the Autism Research Institute, and control now rests with Sally Brockett in the USA .

The Auditory Integration Training-Pro website is the international representative of those doing AIT in a manner faithful to the original Bérard protocol.

THE EARDUCATOR

   In South Africa, the cost factor had prevented others from training, so Rosalie Seymour, the first AIT practitioner and trainer in SA, felt that the development of a South African-built device was essential. She supervised and funded its development, and the Earducator was created. This device found Dr Bérard’s enthusiastic approval, and was well-received at the first International Association of Bérard Practitioners conference in Antwerp, 2000.

In some countries the emphasis of AIT has fallen on assisting children with  educational difficulties, particularly the listening-skills problems underlying phonics problems, reading and spelling difficulties,  as well as autism, concentration problems, etc.

THE DAA The Georgiana Institute developed an alternative system of AIT delivery, namely the Digital Auditory Aerobics (DAA), also known as Earliest Adventures in Sound. The principles are similar to the Bérard approach, but the device uses pre-recorded discs with electronically modulated music, specially composed and performed and then modulated to be like Audiokinetron output.  These discs then play through a further filtering process, through earphones, as one would for AIT.

FILTERED SOUND TRAINING

Rosalie Seymour continued to research more cost-effective ways of bringing AIT within the reach of the client. With the team from Dataworks, a bespoke programming company in Waterford, Ireland, a PC-based programme was developed which delivers AIT – sound modulation with all the controls needed to ensure effective AIT. This allows AIT to be done effectively at home so that those who cannot access a local practitioner may still obtain the training with minimum disruption. FST brings costs within everyone’s reach.

 

TRAINERS: There are several international FST trainers for practitioners. These can be contacted by sending an email to rosalie@filteredsoundtraining.net

AIT INSTITUTE: This institute seeks to inform the public about all issues relating to AIT, while maintaining its distance from political affiliation.