About the Auditory Training ProgramTM (ATP)
What is Auditory Training?
For most individuals, Auditory training is something that occurs naturally as part of our daily experience as we are exposed to sound from the world around us. However, for some individuals, the daily auditory experience is insufficient for the auditory system to develop and function efficiently and effectively, especially when the auditory system has been compromised by global developmental and speech and language delay, and pathology of the middle ear such as fluid, otitis media and other conditions. The aetiology of auditory processing difficulties is varied and it can occur on its own or it can co-exist with a number of difficulties and disorders such as learning difficulties and dyslexia, autism spectrum, speech and language delay, attention deficit and attention deficit disorder, dyspraxia, global developmental delay and other difficulties.
The rationale for providing auditory training is to give the individual a series of increasingly more difficult auditory exercises in a systematic way dependent on the weaknesses of the individual, to address the auditory deficits. The aim of the training is to improve the individual's auditory processing ability over time (Weihing & Musiek, 2007). Through regular evaluations using normed assessments, improvement can be gauged and adjustments made to the protocol of intervention.
What makes the Auditory Training ProgramTM unique?
The program's uniqueness arises from this program being the first to gather four different streams of auditory intervention into one customizable program. No other auditory intervention in the world offers this comprehensive approach to auditory processing remediation.
1. Auditory training using orchestral music, acoustic filtration and bone conduction incorporating Tomatis Techniques
This approach was first pioneered by Dr Alfred Tomatis in the 1980's. The general techniques have been explained by practitioners, Paul Madaule (1993), Doriene Davis-Kalugin (2004) and Patrick Dumas de la Roque (2007) in their various publications.
Auditory training using orchestral music typically has the following characteristics:
a) The underlying media is full spectrum orchestral music, in analogue or high definition digital format, to provide the auditory system with the complex experience of the complete spectrum of sound, particularly the higher frequencies, that may be missing in daily life.
b) Acoustic filtering of the music using a variety of high, low and band pass filters, which are progressive or partially filtered to train pitch discrimination skills.
c) The random use of sound treatments that invoke auditory attention.
d) The use of bone conduction transducers to address differences in the perception of bone conducted sound versus air conducted sound. This technique aims at resembling true hearing / listening as we hear and process auditory information via the two domains.
e) Volume intensity to train left versus right ear perception to further assist with auditory discrimination and address ear weaknesses.
ATP incorporates all these techniques into the one program. Furthermore, unlike many mass marketed sound therapy programs that use pre-recorded filtered music offering a short and restricted range of options, ATP offers access to studio sound quality and processes that are dynamic, simulating real time auditory experiences that are found in our natural sound environment, preventing auditory habituation.
2. Dichotic auditory training
Dichotic Interaural Intensity Difference (DIID) Training, was a procedure initially described by Musiek et al. (1979). The procedure is to present stimuli such as words and numbers with differing volume intensity differences between the left and right ears, to strengthen the auditory pathways under challenging conditions, aimed at strengthening the weaker ear's performance with specific exposure and training.
Subsequent to Musiek's work on DIID, Hurley & Davis (2011) expanded the dichotic intervention to incorporate dichotic time delay, auditory figure ground, and other areas which are pre-recorded.
The Auditory Training Program builds on this earlier work to incorporate Besson-of-Switzerland technology to provide an infinitely variable capability to adjust dichotic volume intensity, dichotic time delay and dichotic frequencies, however, these changes are done in real time, to diminish auditory habituation enabling micro adjustments to the auditory exercises in response to the clients presenting conditions, and not be constrained to the set points found in pre-recorded materials.
The program also incorporates a broad range of dichotic media ranging from numbers, single and multi-syllabic words, short phrase through to sentences of various lengths. The Auditory Training Program also uniquely offers bone conduction dichotic training and bone/air dichotic training that is the closest exercise to natural hearing/listening situations.
3. Speech, Language and Audio-vocal exercises
The program provides a broad range of age appropriate pre-recorded audio-vocal exercises that the client listens to and repeats, using male, female and child voices, structured with single and multi-syllabic words, short phrases, sentences of various lengths and stories, and which are also modified by the equipment intended to train the auditory system in the perception of the 44 phonemes (smallest unit of speech sound) found in the English language. The broad range of content enables a structured program of speech and language exercises, to be set for each level of language development.
In combination to the above, more complex speech and language training incorporates the use of the ear-voice biofeedback loop to provide the individual more advanced opportunities to listen to a word or phrase, repeating it into a microphone which is fed back to the individual and in this process, creating a biofeedback loop by listening to his/her own voice, impacting his/her own voice perception aimed and improving auditory skills and articulation.
4. Auditory working memory exercises
Research shows that auditory working memory is difficult to improve through auditory perceptual tasks such as listing to filtered orchestral music as the intervention does not directly challenge the working memory. To address this challenge, a auditory working memory component has been incorporated into the program. The auditory working memory component contains a range of exercises that automatically adapt to the working ability of the client providing a constant working memory and attention challenge.
A customizable clinical approach to auditory training
The use of comprehensive auditory processing assessment tools combined with a broad range of auditory intervention techniques, that allow infinite variation and micro customization to each individual's auditory processing presentations.
ATP in focus
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