Frequently Asked Questions
What type of problems/difficulties do you treat?
We help children and adults with a very wide variety of difficulties, including a number of exceptionally bright and well-performing clients, who simply wish to enhance their performance even further.
What age group do you treat?
A child can start auditory therapy from 3 years old (without an audiogram), if they present areas where this may help e.g. hypersensitive hearing - it also depends on the child’s ability to sit quietly for 30 mins. Other than that, we can treat people of all ages with Auditory Integration Therapy.
From a Neuro-developmental point of view - we can usually assess a child from 6 years old, but the programme tends to work best when the child is at least 7 years old. We can treat adults as well as children - many parents have indicated that the programme could help them.
Nutritional Therapy is for any age group.
Do you treat more than one child from the same family?
Yes, but each person is treated individually based on their own individual assessment. There is a discount for extra family members.
Can I come for an assessment only?
Yes, but first we would need to undertake an Initial Consultation to see which assessments are necessary in the first place. Once the assessments are done, we send you a written report and then you have a subsequent report reading (all included in the price of the assessment). From there, you can decide what to do further with guidance from us.
Will you consult the GP or other professionals for a medical or personal history?
In general this is not required. However, if you have any reports that are relevant, please bring these along at the time of the assessment. Appointments at the Centre are kept strictly confidential.
What other information am I required to provide?
The Consultation will require details of the concerns, Neuro-developmental questions, Auditory questions, Nutritional questions and pregnancy/birth details - in order to gain a thorough picture of each client.
How long do the assessments take?
The Audiogram takes 45 mins. The Full Neuro-developmental Assessment takes 1 hour. The Nutritional Consultation can take up to 1.5 hours
Will I get a written report after an assessment?
Yes, you will get a written report of the assessment results together with our recommendations for any programmes we judge might be helpful.
How long after the assessment can I start a recommended programme?
The programmes can start straight away, depending on our schedule. The programmes should be started within 6 months of the assessments, if a longer period elapses, some tests may have to be re-taken to ensure the treatment is still relevant to the client.
What does the assessment for Auditory Integration Therapy entail?
Where possible, an initial hearing assessment is done which includes a pure tone audiometric test, together with laterality tests. Based upon the results, an AIT programme is created for a client. If someone is unable to communicate or complete these tests, we rely on observations and distraction tests.
How do the programmes work?
The principal behind all our programmes is retraining the brain using appropriate, and often novel, input through one or more senses. Old less useful ways of processing are replaced by new appropriate ways of processing sensory input, thus re-balancing the senses.
How long have you been providing these programmes?
The Neuro-Balance Centre was opened in February 2020, but prior to this one of our Practitioners was a senior clinician at The Key Clinic, providing similar programmes.
What research is available?
There is lots of research available - please contact us directly if you would like to know more.
Are these programmes safe?
Yes, all our programmes are non-invasive and non-harmful.
Will I get a report after each programme?
Yes. We report any improvements that have been identified during the course of programmes. Where appropriate we also record the results of the standard clinical tests, both before and after treatment.
Do programmes have to be repeated?
With Auditory Integration Training (AIT) improvements often continue to occur in the weeks or months following the treatment and one single programme is normally sufficient. If the audiometric test or observed behaviour indicates that further improvements can be made, a second programme may be considered, but normally not until some time has elapsed.
How will you tell whether the therapy has been successful?
We carefully monitor progress throughout the period of treatment. Where appropriate we conduct standard clinical tests soon after completion of each series of treatments. In our post-treatment report we will highlight relevant changes that have occurred compared with the conditions during the initial assessment. We also keep in contact over the following year to assess and document any further results.
Do you conduct longer-term follow up research?
Yes, clients will be sent post-treatment questionnaires at regular intervals.
What does an Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT) programme entail?
Two half hour sessions per day with a minimum three hour interval between sessions over 10 days, either consecutively or two five-day weeks within a 12 day period.
During each session a client listens to music filtered through an Earducator, using a pair of high quality closed headphones. The Earducator machine randomly modulates the amplitude of the high and low frequencies in order to retrain the ears to hear in a more balanced way. A range of individual filters may also be used depending upon the results of the audiometric tests.
What is the sound intensity during listening sessions? (AIT)
The highest intensity that an individual is exposed to during AIT listening sessions varies depending upon the individual. However, it will not exceed 80 dBA SPL (slow scale) and will in practice be at a much lower intensity. Whenever it is not possible to obtain an audiogram, or the individual cannot easily communicate, the starting level is always low and careful observation is made when increasing it. The music should never be uncomfortable to listen to.
What music is used for AIT?
All music meets the criteria considered appropriate for AIT and are high quality recordings from a list of tracks tested by The Society of Integration Techniques (SAIT) as suitable for use for AIT. The full auditory bandwidth is used subject to the need to apply filtering based upon audiometric test results.
If my child has a history of ear infections, grommets and antibiotics, can AIT help them?
In many cases this is an indicator that we can probably make a big difference. Many of our clients presenting with speech & language difficulties have such a history. It is quite likely that they missed out on important stages in normal speech and language development while they were in pain or unable to hear. AIT rebalances the hearing and this seems to restart the development process.
Are there any side effects during AIT?
You may notice behavioural or mood changes and, very occasionally, feelings of nausea. These are short-lived and generally indicate the programme is taking effect and progress is being made.
What does the Neuro-developmental programme entail?
A full neuro-developmental assessment takes approximately 1 hour. The test covers gross and fine muscle control, co-ordination, balance, patterns of motor development, presence of aberrant reflexes, laterality, oculo-motor functions and visual perceptual ability. On the basis of these tests, a personal programme of Neuro-developmental exercises is prepared for the client to carry out. These are either done in our Centre with our Intensive programme (30 mins of exercises 1:1 with a Clinician, twice a day over a 10 day period, including regular assessments), or at home (with video support and regular assessments in our Centre).
What training and qualifications do the staff at the Neuro-Balance Centre have?
AnneMarie Smellie, co-founder of The Neuro-Balance Centre is a Certified Key Clinic Neuroplastician, trained by Sarah Warley, founder of The Key Clinic - a centre specialising in Learning, Behaviour and Emotional difficulties. She worked as a senior clinician at The Key clinic. She is also a qualified Curative Hypnotherapist with over 15 years of clinical experience, specialising in anxiety issues.
Arabella Thring, co-founder of The Neuro-Balance Centre, has 17 years experience working as a Complementary Therapist. She Is a qualified Auditory Therapist, (trained in Dr Guy Bérard A.I.T method), Homeopath, Mindfulness Teacher and Reflex Therapist. She is also founder of An Olive Branch. Arabella trained with the Sound Learning Centre, The British School of Homeopathy, The Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University, Oxford University Mindfulness Centre, The Mindfulness in Schools Project and The International Institute of Reflex Therapy in Barcelona.
We have, at times, other well trained and qualified assessors and therapists working at the Centre.
Can I contact clients that have received these treatments in the past?
Due to client confidentiality, we are unable to provide contact details for past clients but will make any testimonials available.
Are results guaranteed?
We cannot guarantee specific results but the outcomes of the programmes have been extremely encouraging. Most clients experience improvements and display very positive results in many areas of their life. These may include improvements in educational, cognitive, emotional, behavioural or social performance as well as general physical well-being. Improvements are sometimes immediate, sometimes continuing in subsequent weeks and months, sometimes not starting until some time after the programme.
Will I be able to come to the Centre during term breaks and holidays?
Yes, we are open for assessments and treatments daily, including during term breaks, holidays and some weekends.
What happens if someone falls ill during one of the programmes?
We would not want to continue if someone becomes ill, so we would offer a break until he or she was feeling better. In the case of AIT, we continue from where we left off or start again, depending on the time lapse.
Can I get funding for the programme from the NHS?
The NHS currently do not offer funding for any of the therapies that we provide.
Will my health insurance pay for the programme?
Health insurance companies generally do not pay for the programmes as they are not classified as medical interventions. We suggest you speak to your health insurance provider for more details.
Can I get funding for the programme from other sources?
We will assist clients in applying for charity funding and can supply sample letters and resources information on request.
Are you insured?
We carry appropriate Professional and Public Liability Insurance.
Do you carry out CRB/DBS checks?
Our staff all receive Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service checks and are registered with the ICO for Data Protection.
What information do I require for the Nutritional Consultation?
You will be provided with an initial health questionnaire prior to the appointment - any further information required will be requested at the time of booking. The initial consultation usually lasts for 1/1.5 hours and will involve a detailed discussion of the client’s (and their families) health history, diet and lifestyle - with the aim of understanding symptoms, potential triggers, goals for treatment, and review of any prior diagnostic testing and/or therapies. A basic health and development check (including height, weight, nail/skin analysis) may also be carried out.