This month we would like to focus on the brain. It is such a complex and beautiful thing! It is the “boss” of us – from breathing and keeping our bodies upright, to making our limbs move and feeling our sensory-loaded environment, all the way to allowing us to speak and think fantastic thoughts and organize all of our activities and responsibilities! When children have difficulties in any of these areas, it is hard to know how to help them – how can one maximize efforts? How can one reach deep inside the brain and make meaningful and lasting changes? The answer may be Interactive Metronome!
At Kid Talk, we have therapist who are trained in a therapy tool called Interactive Metronome – or IM. IM is a way to “re-wire” and “tweak” the timing in your brain to allow it to work better and faster and more efficient. Children and parents have noted improvements in conversation, speech timing, organization, movement efficiency, attention, and even sports performance.
The following information is taken from the Interactive Metronome website (www.interactivemetronome.com). It shares, so well, what IM is and a little bit of the benefits IM can provide!
Did you know that your brain has an “internal clock” that keeps time? And that it does so at various intervals: microseconds, milliseconds, seconds, minutes, and hours? Timing in the brain (or what scientists call “temporal processing”) is responsible for detecting where a sound is coming from as sound hits one ear microseconds before the other, for waking up and putting to sleep our brain every 12 hours or so, and for focusing attention, reading comprehension, remembering information, processing speech, motor coordination, and several other human capabilities.
There exists a growing body of literature describing the neural timing deficits in ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism, Reading Disorders, Auditory Processing Disorder, Parkinson’s, and other conditions. Traumatic Brain Injury or Stroke may also disrupt timing in the brain. By addressing timing in the brain with Interactive Metronome (IM) alongside functional therapy interventions you are not only addressing areas of ability that impact achievement and independence but also the heart of the problem, that of deficient neural timing within and between regions of the brain that are underlying many of the problems you are working on in therapy. This leads to more efficient treatment and better overall treatment outcomes.
IM’s game-like auditory-visual platform engages the patient and provides constant feedback at the millisecond level to promote synchronized timing in the brain. Exercises can be customized and involve a hierarchy of increasingly complex and precisely timed motor movements intertwined with gradually higher & faster cognitive processing, attention and decision-making. It is the only neuro-motor therapy tool that can be used successfully with all patients across the therapy spectrum, even those that require total hands-on assistance due to cognitive and/or physical impairments and those that are very young or elderly.
IM takes therapy to a new level. Rather than simply performing repetitive movement or cognitive activities to achieve functional gains, therapists that incorporate IM into functional therapy activities report their patients are more engaged, more alert, complete far more repetitions of functional movement patterns and activities in a more precise and timely manner, and demonstrate faster progress toward cognitive, communicative, and physical therapy goals. Patients who are challenged and can see measurable improvements are more motivated to continue their therapy and achieve optimal success.
Who can benefit from IM? Anyone who may be struggling with:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger’s, PDD)
- Brain Injury
- Brain Tumor (following surgery or chemotherapy)
- Auditory Processing Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Dyslexia/Other Reading Disorders
- Language-Learning Disabled
- Limb Amputation
- Non-verbal Learning Disorder
- Sensory Processing Disorder
- Stuttering/Speech Fluency
- Executive Function/Planning & Sequence
- Working Memory
- Processing Speed
- Self-Monitoring/Impulse Control
IM can be implemented in the clinical setting and be an addition/enhancement to your child’s regular therapies. IM can also be carried out in the home with the IM Home program put into place. IM Home allows your therapist to monitor and change your child’s programming based upon performance reported through the online IM Home site.
If you, or anyone else you know, is interested in learning more about IM and how it may benefit your child, contact Kid Talk and one of the therapists would be happy to talk with you!