By: Kara Lyons, OT
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Did you know that precise timing is responsible for the synchronous interaction within our brain that connects physical movement and cognitive processes?
Why is timing important? To name a few, timing is responsible for a person’s ability to walk without falling, catch or throw a ball, jump, climb a ladder, play music, and speak without stuttering.
Research suggests that training with the Interactive Metronome, or IM, supports the interaction between critical brain networks, specifically the parietal-frontal lobes, which are often associated with general intellectual functioning, working memory, controlled attention, and executive functions (McGrew, 2002).
What is the Interactive Metronome (IM)?
The IM is a computer based interactive program that provides a timed rhythmical beat, or metronome, which works to pace an individual’s movements.
In this program, an individual synchronizes a variety of upper and lower extremity exercises to a precise computer-generated tone heard through headphones.
The IM responds to a client’s physical movement by providing real-time auditory and visual feedback in milliseconds, indicating whether they are in sync with the beat, or they are too early or late.
What skills does the IM target?
• Improved timing, rhythm, and synchronization in the brain
• Motor planning, motor control, and bilateral coordination
• Attention, working memory, and processing speed
• Speech/language and social skills
Who could benefit from the IM?
Individuals with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, children with developmental delays or learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, auditory processing disorder, and dyslexia.
• Adult population
Post brain injury, stroke, or concussions, adults with ADHD, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, and amputees
How do you get started with this program?
• The first step is to be evaluated by an occupational, speech, or physical therapist that is also trained and certified as an Interactive Metronome Provider. You may find a provider in your area through the Interactive Metronome’s locator index.
• The assessment will consist of a comprehensive speech, occupational, or physical therapy evaluation, including an IM assessment, information sharing with the family and evaluating therapist, clinical observations, and other objective measures or evaluation tools (which may provide additional information regarding strength, coordination, fine and visual motor control, and/or speech and language abilities). At that time, the evaluating therapist will identify concerns expressed by the family and work to establish functional goals for the child.
• The IM assessment provides data on the child’s current level of functioning, including their timing tendencies, attention to task, their ability to motor plan, sequence, or coordinate the movement patterns.
• The evaluating or treating therapist will determine if the client is appropriate for the program before customizing a treatment plan and program.
• REPETITION and FREQUENCY are critical for making lasting, functional changes in the brain.
• It is recommended that a client participate in the program at least 3 times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes of training per session.
THE IM HOME UNIT
The IM home training unit is an option for families to meet the minimum recommended frequency or if the client is unable to attend therapy in the clinic setting.
To purchase and utilize the IM home program, a client must establish a relationship with an IM home certified therapist (also available through the IM Locator Index). The treating therapist will customize the child’s treatment plan, provide ongoing feedback, and adjust the plan as needed.
Overall, the IM is an excellent adjunct to traditional therapy services as it provides objective data (the child’s performance over time, measured in milliseconds) to support functional outcomes. If you are interested in the Interactive Metronome or feel it may be appropriate for your child, speak with your treating therapist.
For more information on the Interactive Metronome, including evidence to support the program, please visit https://www.interactivemetronome.com
To learn more about Interactive Metronome services at Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley and set up an evaluation contact us.