Get the latest news on Interactive metronome training, it's application and breakthroughs as well as insights in the science behind it and the latest tips and success stories from clients and therapist using IM and IM-Home.
As summer approaches, the world changes for a child with a sensory processing disorder. The type of clothing you wear, the temperature, the foods you eat, your daily schedule, where you play, the list could go on and on. These changes can put our sensory kiddo’s over the edge. But, there are things you can do to help!!
Self awareness impacts so much of our daily life. Awareness of where we are in space has a huge impact on safety. Awareness of other people around us impacts development of our social skills. Awareness of how we maintain our body impacts development of self care skills.
Most of us don’t realize how important focus is to the development of gross motor skills. Jumping, running, walking, throwing a ball – they all require some amount of focusing skills, especially for those who have a medical condition which impacts the development of those skills.
I have had the privilege of working with many children who are recovering from their bout with cancer. I have had many children who have gone through intensive chemotherapy and radiation that are left with some motor challenges after their treatment is over. These kiddos are near and dear to my heart, as a child in my family was one of the victims of the terrible thing called cancer. His diagnosis was sudden and tumor removal surgery was scheduled within a few days. When he awoke from surgery, you could tell things were “different”. His speech was slurred and his movements were shaky. His balance was very impaired, as we watched the little soccer star have difficulty with every step. His parents were just heartbroken. Chemo and radiation followed the surgery as well as a bout of rehab which included IM as part of his therapy regimen!
I am currently working with a teen who has a great difficulty with initiating anything from movement to speech to fine motor skills. He has a multitude of diagnosis from autism to ataxia. It took over 3 hours to perform standardized testing with him as he had difficulty initiating each task requested of him. He is such a COOL kid who loves drawing and music. Due to his difficulties he is homeschooled. School was just such a difficult place for him as he just took so much longer to perform tasks than the other children did.
Every few weeks, I have a new batch of kids who will be receiving IM during their occupational therapy sessions. This also means there is a whole new batch of parents who like to know what exactly it is that their kids are doing and working on. I always refer them to www.interactivemetronome.com as well as having them search Interactive Metronome on youtube so they and their children will get some idea of the specialized treatment that their child will receive over the next few weeks. So hopefully the terminology listed below will help you get a better understanding as a parent when your child comes running out to you from their session saying something like “I got 15 bursts today and my task average was 65!”
Several of the teens that I see have come into the clinic for learning issues, but also are wondering if IM will help them in sports. Whenever a child brings this up to me, I really like to involve them in creating an exercise that they think will help them to work on their specific sport. Now sometimes, the activity is very crazy, and the child is unable to perform it – but sometimes they come up with something really good that I then ask their permission to use with other children.
Wow, did you ever think you would hear those words come out of your child with ADHD’s mouth? Homework tends to be a struggle with our kids affected by ADHD. Afterschool can be rough in general, as they have held it together all day long in school, and then there is the issue of their medication wearing off around that time. No matter what, homework tends to stretch into the evening hours as you work with your child to get all of their homework done. This is such a bad cycle, as then the kids don’t have time to go outside and play or to just be a kid!
I am currently working with a little 7 year old boy who has a developmental coordination disorder. When you observe him, you notice things that are subtly different from his same aged peers. His body movements are somewhat awkward and he has a hard time figuring out how to move his body through space. He can’t skip or perform a jumping jack and riding a bicycle is difficult for him. His fine motor skills are also affected and it’s difficult for him to have a steady hand when building with blocks or printing his letters.
A 9 year old girl with a diagnosis of hypotonia was referred for Interactive Metronome to help with strength and coordination. After working with her for one session, we began to discover some sensory issues that had not been addressed before that were impacting the development of her skills. Another therapist asked me if we should stop IM because we wouldn’t be able to handle her sensory issues during our sessions. I reassured her, that we’d be able to adapt the activities and work with her to help her sensory system.
IM and Transverse Myelitis – a tool to recovery
Transverse Myelitis can be very scary. Its onset is fairly quick, and its symptoms can be long lasting. It can be very treatable though, and typically when patients are medically stable, they can benefit from some type of rehabilitation therapy...
Pervasive Developmental Delay: We have seen tremendous improvement with the use of the Interactive Metronome
Pervasive Developmental Delay
I have had the opportunity of working with many children who are diagnosed with PDD. The diagnosis in general seems to have a very wide range of abilities and areas that are affected. I have found in my area (Northeastern part of the country), that these children seem to fall somewhere between those who are diagnosed with Autism, and those diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. So their responses to using the Interactive Metronome have been very similar, with great progress in a shorter amount of time...
Why Can’t I use a Regular Metronome?
Some parents have asked me if they could just use a regular musical metronome and get the same results as Interactive Metronome at home or IM-Home. A standard metronome is typically used by musicians to help them practice the tempo of music. They have also been used in traditional therapy to help patients with their timing and rhythm, however there is one piece that is missing. – FEEDBACK!
Guidance shows improvement in children with Pervasive Developmental Delay
I have had the opportunity of working with many children who are diagnosed with PDD. The diagnosis in general seems to have a very wide range of abilities and areas that are affected. I have found in my area (Northeastern part of the country), that these children seem to fall somewhere between those who are diagnosed with Autism, and those diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. So their responses to using the Interactive Metronome have been very similar, with great progress in a shorter amount of time.
Some of my patients are very sports oriented. When we start IM, I tell them all about how professional sports teams such as the Miami Dolphins or the golf pro ViJay Singh use IM as part of their training to improve and enhance their performance. Every once in a while, I get a patient who just really “gets on a roll” and makes improvements very quickly earning lots of “bursts” (so many consecutive super right on the beat hits).
Bill was one of those kids. He just loved beating his scores during every visit. He got the idea in his head, that he wanted to reach 1000 bursts before he completed his sessions. Every visit, Bill would request to perform various exercise that he knew he was good at, just to increase his number of bursts so he could reach his goal. Now a kiddo (who happened to have Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD) who has set his mind to something is very difficult to stop!...
Multi tasking and IM
The ability to multi task is a very important skill that we learn at a very young age. Typically when we enter a classroom, we are required to listen to a teacher while filtering out extraneous noises or while writing notes. This skill requires a tremendous amount of good quality focus that can be held even through distractions in our environment...
I have many parents ask me right away – “How long until we see some improvement?” or “What should I look for?” In my experience, this is very unpredictable. Some of the patients who I see who I think will do really well, take much longer to show improvements and others who have more difficulty make progress more quickly. But it also sometimes happens in the opposite way.
Sometimes the children who have the most difficulty have the furthest to go – so improvement may seem to come more quickly. Sometimes its easier to see even the littlest thing – like they were able to feed themselves an entire meal instead of throwing their food or spoon – are much more obvious. In other situations, especially with my patients who have more of the ADHD/ADD type symptoms we need to look more closely at what they are doing and how they are doing it. I especially see progress first in these patients during homework time. That is when I hear that they are sticking with their homework longer or getting it done faster or even just that they can sit at their desk for 20 minutes at a time when before it was more like 5 minutes before they were up and running around or asking questions.
Falling Apart at the Seams
A few weeks ago, I met an 8-year-old called Samantha who absolutely could not sit still unless it was in front of the computer and she was playing her chosen games. When she came to the Occupational Therapy Evaluation, she refused to do most tasks on the standardized testing, and could not sit for more than a minute before she was up and running around the room. Even with parental guidance, she continued to refuse to participate and was just falling apart at the seams. Her mother reported that this was what a typical school day was like for this child.
A few years ago, she had received a diagnosis of a Sensory Integration disorder, and had attended therapy. Then, when she started school, she was discharged with a good sensory diet, but family let it go by the wayside over time. As symptoms began to emerge again over time, they didn’t think about restarting sensory diet activities, and behavior got out of control in all of her environments. Because the family wanted to try to keep her calm, she got anything she asked for, was able to decide her own bed time, what she ate at every meal and what she got to do during her playtime – which was almost always sitting in front of the computer. Her sensory system was starving and she was so dysregulated it was hard to know where to start during treatment sessions...
It’s all in the Timing…..
It’s amazing in our culture how many references there are to time or timing… “His timing was just off today”...””Time is money...”Timing is everything”…the list goes on and on. It’s “time” for us to start looking at that on a more personal level. Since time is mentioned so much, it must be important, right?
These phrases all refer to timing as something important for success. When we talk about a quarterback or a pitcher on a team, we know their timing needs to be spot on for accuracy and success. This is what we need for our children with special needs too. Even when we look as simply as our sleep/wake cycles – circadian rhythms– the importance of a sleep wake cycle can make or break someone’s day. Have you ever met a person who was excited that they couldn’t fall to sleep at night? Or how about breathing? When we are comfortable, we are breathing very rhythmically. If we aren’t, we tend to pass out! Even our heart beats out a rhythm on a regular basis.
Is IM a shot of self-confidence?
When working with children with Cerebral Palsy and Asperger’s Syndrome it sometimes initially seems that they are overconfident when you are just speaking with them. But after a few physical challenges, hearing stories from their parents and actually getting the chance to talk with them and know them better, you tend to find that the trend in self-confidence goes down a quick spiral.