Success Stories

So many people have experienced success in AIT. Here are some success stories we’d like to share with you.

Hyperacute Hearing

Steph’s Story

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for providing the AIT therapy for my eight-year-old daughter. She experienced 30 ear infections by the time she was seven years old. She spoke in a high pitched tone and was diagnosed with hyper-acute hearing. She was also overly irritable. She suffered some difficulties in school. I always felt that her difficulties had something to do with her hearing. A year ago, she listened to the AIT tapes and she is a different child today! My last teacher conference was a pleasure! Her audiogram indicated an improvement. She is a much happier child. Her voice is not as loud or high pitched. Throughout all, Sarah was there as a professional to listen and answer questions no matter how big or small. She provided support throughout the last year. Your knowledge, expertise, and belief in AIT were always apparent. As a parent and a Special Educator, I highly recommend AIT training for children with hearing sensitivities. It made a difference in my daughter’s life. Thank you again.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)

William’s Story

William is 5 years old. He was diagnosed with PDD.NOS and has been receiving services since he was 18 months old. He has received speech therapy, OT, ABA, social/behavior group therapy, pecs program, special needs learning software, nutritionist advice, to name the course of our journey so far. In preparation for kindergarten, I decided to try AIT in the summer of ‘04 to try to increase Will’s focus and concentration. His issues consisted of speech delay, behavior, social and sensory problems. Will took to the headphones immediately, which surprised me very much. He actually enjoyed the sessions and commented that he liked the music. All in all, it went remarkably well.

Post AIT, regression set in and I was scared to death. His tantrum behavior worsened and nothing seemed to improve. Then, slowly and subtly things started to improve. He stopped holding his ears. We took him to a movie (first time ever) and he wasn’t bothered at all. At birthday parties he joined in to sing. His language started to increase; he seemed more comfortable, settled and happy. He was making more connections, his abstract thinking improved and he started talking in lengthier sentences. He recalled stories from a year ago! Never before had he been able to communicate memory recollection.

Overall, his hearing sensitivities decreased or disappeared, his language improved and his memory kicked in. I am thrilled for him and feel that aside from ABA, AIT therapy has been the most effective. William attends a collaborative kindergarten class with a regular teacher and a special education teacher. He gets on the bus every morning and every afternoon eats his lunch and is doing remarkably well keeping on task and retaining information learned. He is reading and writing, things I wasn’t sure would ever happen!

Zoe’s Story

My daughter Zoe has always been in and out of the hospital due to her sensory issues and behavior problems. She has a track record of multiple diagnoses. She was diagnosed first with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, and then with ADHD, ODD, severe insomnia, and last but not least, PDD/NOS this year.

Getting the necessary audiologist tests done was a challenge due to her behavior and developmental delays, but Sarah Gewanter had the answer to almost all of our problems. She sent us the disc set that included Speech Stimulation for language improvement.

It was very hard at the beginning to get Zoe to sit and tolerate the headphones, after about 10 minutes into a session she complained of her ears starting to hurt. Over a short period of time, we experienced that Zoe started to be more verbal and by the mid-point of the training she was communicating in 3-4 word sentences. When I turned on the dreaded coffee mill she did not cover up her ears for the first time. Instead, she smiled and wanted to help! Her overall improvement in expressive and receptive language is continuing to improve at a rapid pace. She is very sure of herself and wants to learn more.

Zoe has gone through a period of behavioral regression twice so far and we knew what we were ‘in for’. All I can suggest is to really have the ‘rules of the house’ in place and stay on the ‘same sheet of music’ with your partner in crime and it will pass just as quickly as the onset of the episode.

An interesting point to make is that Zoe was tested at school before her AIT and then again 6 weeks after her AIT and she showed an overall improvement in language and her IQ actually went from an overall 70 up to a 94.

I am aware that AIT is not a miracle cure for A.S.D or other L.D.’s but I do know that it is part of the solution to obtain what every parent wants for their child. A fair shot in life to become the best person possible. If given the opportunity I would let my daughter go through the program again. I am certain that in time when she is a little older she will continue to reap massive benefits from another treatment of AIT.

Autism

Zachary’s Story

I remember the day that Zachary was first diagnosed with Autism. The world seemed to close in on me and all that I wanted to do was physically and figuratively lock the doors in our house; in effect, barring anyone from entering our ‘new world’ of Autism. My wife, Teresa, immediately began to work for Zachary and ultimately provided the means for me coming to accept Zachary’s condition. One of the first things that Teresa did, as I sulked in constant denial, was to form a support network of other individuals with autistic children. In his divine wisdom, God allowed a member of our church who had an autistic daughter to be in one that dealt with AIT.

I turned to the first case study that I could find dealing with an autistic child and began reading. The first thing that struck me was that my Zachary shared every characteristic of autism with the child in the book. At that moment I accepted that Zachary was autistic and determined that I would do everything possible to provide him with as normal a life as he could have. I immediately called Teresa and told her ‘You have got to read this book! This is just like Zachary and I think that AIT may work for him.’ We discussed it and Teresa, who is a registered nurse, began doing Internet research on AIT the next day.

Teresa found the Counseling Center on the Internet and arranged to have Zachary’s hearing tested. Teresa also experiences sensitivity to sounds and large crowds and decided to have her hearing tested, as well. Teresa did Zachary’s first session during the morning and it was bad. He fought the headphones and cried incessantly. That night, I helped with Zachary’s second session and he acted the same way. We had to hold him down to keep the headphones on his head and I was so much of a distraction because he kept trying to get me to hold him, that Teresa asked me to leave the room. By my third session with Zachary, he was listening to about 25 minutes without much resistance.

The first hint that I had that the therapy was working was on the fourth day. Zachary was always able to hear airplanes long before I could. He would say, ‘Aw-pane’ and sure enough, thirty to forty-five seconds later, I would hear an airplane flying over. On this day I noticed that Zachary and I were hearing the airplanes at approximately the same time. This really got my hopes up. During Zachary’s tenth or twelfth session, I noticed that he was saying words that I had never heard him say before. Things that he had apparently heard, but never repeated. Furthermore, these words were not echolalia: they were spontaneous and articulate. The next day we were outside again and we heard an airplane. Zachary pointed to the sky and said, ‘airplane’ as clearly as I have ever heard. Teresa had marked results from her AIT therapy as well.

I knew that it was working for both of them because up until just after they had finished their therapy, I could barely hear our TV if they were in the room. If I increased the volume, either Zachary or Teresa would turn the TV down. Zachary learned how to do this at an early age. But after the therapy, I noticed that we could all watch TV at a normal level. Zachary’s progress has been tremendous to date. Unless we tell people that he is autistic, they really never know. Even when we tell them we always get the response, ‘he seems so normal.’

I am not saying that all of his progress is due to AIT. We have Zachary in many hours of speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy every day. We also give him herbal supplements and vitamins that assist his developing mind and control his autistic tendencies. These are all of the tools that we use to give Zachary the best chance he will have at a normal life and AIT, in my opinion, was one of the most effective tools that we have had in our quest to save our little boy. Now I see Zachary will be able to reach the summit. I am thankful to Dr. Berard and for Sarah Gewanter for giving us this tool.

Jesse’s Story

My 7-year-old son Jesse was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3. He was nonverbal and had many sensory issues which included not being able to stand the feel of getting his hair cut, could not stand the feel of getting his blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office and many sounds hurt his ears. We first went to The Counseling Center and met with Sarah when Jesse was 4. I thought that having to listen to the music through the headphones would be a problem for Jesse, but we put a video on and turned the volume off of the TV while he listened to the CDs and he actually liked it. Even before he finished with all 20 CDs we began to notice a big difference in him. He wasn’t holding his ears when he was near running water, he actually sat by himself for a haircut and laughed because it tickled, and he willingly sat and got his blood pressure taken. We noticed more positive results with Jesse’s hearing sensitivities and sensory issues in the weeks that followed.

We contacted Sarah once again just very recently and went through another round of AIT because last year Jesse inadvertently listened to music through headphones and over time I began to notice him holding his ears a lot. Once again it helped with his hearing sensitivities, but this time we are continuing to be amazed at how his language is developing. I believe that AIT along with Jesse’s ABA program at school has been one of the most effective therapies in helping Jesse to be all that he can be.

James’ Story

Our six-year-old son, James (diagnosed on the autism spectrum disorder at 3), recently completed his ten-day AIT in Asheville, North Carolina. We enrolled in the program to help James with some common autistic behaviors that get in his way of learning and being happy: heightened sensitivity to noise, echolalia, lack of ability to focus, attend, connect with people, etc. He was spending much time at home yelling “be quiet” and holding his hands over his ears. It is very frustrating and sad when you know that your child is unhappy, but are unable to help him.

After reading the research on AIT and reading Annabel Stehli’s Dancing in the Rain, we knew we had to consider this therapy, despite our fear that it may not work, or worse yet, that it may harm James in some way. So many stories of other children who benefited from AIT reminded us of James. It made sense that, given his premature birth (24 weeks), James’ nervous system was seriously underdeveloped, and the auditory integration training may help it along.

We were warned that there may be a period of time following the training when James may regress, and it is here! Transitioning back home, and especially back to school after being away for two weeks, he had more to deal with that he was able to. Happily, he held himself together in school, but once home, James’ undesirable behaviors intensified: yelling, demanding, crying, and irritability. We know that AIT has altered his sensory system and that these are like “growing pains”. We found that giving him lots of hugs and massages and words of reassurance help soothe him as he adjusts to his new sense of hearing.

On a much brighter note: today, two weeks after AIT, we are excited to report that James already seems happier and more focused, and that is a good enough reason to have traveled from New York to North Carolina for ten days! About halfway through his sessions, he began following our conversations for long periods of time and contributing more to verbal interactions with people. The other day I asked Brian a question, and James answered me before Brian did! Before AIT, James would rarely show even an awareness that I had asked Brian a question, much less contribute to the dialogue! Because using the telephone requires different auditory and social demands than face to face conversations, James usually repeats on the phone what he has heard others say, or says something completely out of context. On the telephone with his Dad, he recently asked, “And how is Khemo (our dog) doing?” which surprised us, since we rarely heard James initiate conversation with an original, direct question, then wait for a response. He is truly communicating! His Dad later asked me if I had prompted James to say that, and I was happy to say, “No!” Already some of his language and interactions seem more meaningful and relevant. He is better able to retrieve information and express it more quickly after being asked a question, whereas before he might drift away from the speaker after one attempt at a response. Of course, he still echoes and repeats, but we have seen this decrease considerably. Brushing his teeth even seems less stressful now. Last night he said he was not wearing his pull-up to bed anymore! His confidence level has shown a marked increase!

We are happily awaiting more positive results as James uses his new sense of hearing in different settings. To Sarah G.: you made it very easy for us to complete what could have been a highly stressful experience! Thank you.

Colby’s Story

I just wanted to say thank you very much for helping my son with the AIT program. As you know, he just turned 4 and has many words but is not yet conversational. By the end of the AIT program, he has begun to ask simple questions, is more aware and appropriate than ever, and have developed a clarity in his language that definitely was not there before. I was hoping that the timing of this AIT program would help him start to build the foundations of conversational skills and since he has only just finished and we see clear results already, I think this was just what we were looking for. We are looking forward to seeing continuing gains over the next 6 months to a year and will keep you updated about them. Thank you so much again for helping our son. I would recommend AIT to any mom or dad trying to help their child overcome the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. We are really glad we made the choice to do this.

Ben’s Story

It is true we were skeptical at the beginning, but after the 10 days of listening to the CDs, my son’s therapists called us happily to show how Ben suddenly came out with his first words. Here is what she wrote in her report that day: “When we did the counting book he took my finger and wanted me to point and count objects- then all of a sudden he counted each number (each page) -one to ten- It Was Great ” Since then he has gained lots of words, there is much more understanding, and his eye contact is great. He knows his ABCs, shapes, and colors, in fact, he is smarter than kids his age.

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