Interactive Metronome & IM-Home Blog

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.

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Recent blog posts

Gross Motor Skills are impacted by your ability to Focus!

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. 

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Is the P-FIT it? Part 1—The P-FIT model described

 

The law of individual differences is the only proven law in psychology.  This law has resulted in decades of research regarding theories and models of intelligence and individual differences in intelligence.  Within the past two decades a general consensus has emerged from the psychometric intelligence research that the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of intelligenceis the most empirically supported taxonomy for understanding the structure of human intelligence.

[Note – this is the first in a series of posts intended to present an integration of intelligence, cognitive neuroscience, and applied neuroscience research with the goal to advance a set of hypotheses or model(s) that explain how the Interactive Metronome® (IM) technology results in improved cognitive functioning—specifically focus or controlled attention]

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Well, it was a leap of faith...

By Mary Jones OTR/L, LMT, CIMT 

Frank and I had known each other for years.  We became acquainted first socially through a mutual friend and then, sadly, on a professional level.  Headaches had led to brain scans and then on to brain surgery and he had requested that I be his primary therapist.  Traditional therapies were helping but only to a point and following three months of outpatient services I was saddened to hear that his physical therapist was ready to discharge him.  Having known Frank before his accident, I had the advantage of familiarity with his drive to succeed and his passion for independence.  Despite his initial skepticism, Frank had begun to accept his fate that Interactive Metronome was the one card as yet left unturned towards his recovery.  

 

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A Preliminary Study of the Effects of Interactive Metronome Training on the Language Skills of an Adolescent Female With a Language Learning Disorder

 

This 2008 study published in Contemporary Issues In Communication Science and Disorders demonstrated the effect of IM training on expressive and receptive language skills in an adolescent female with a language learning disorder (LLD).  According to the study, the subject (Renee) was in 7th grade and was experiencing difficulty with both oral and written language.  Renee was extremely frustrated and required several special accommodations at school like increased time for test-taking, altered or shortened assignments, modified grading scale, open book exams, and shortened verbal instruction. She spent part of the time in the regular classroom and received special education services in the areas of reading, writing, and math.  The IEP showed specific emphasis on word retrieval, syntax (with pronouns specifically), reading, writing, and math.

Sabado, J.J. & Fuller, D.R. (2008). A Preliminary Study of the Effects of Interactive Metronome Training on the Language Skills of an Adolescent Female With a Language Learning Disorder. Contemporary Issues in Communication Sciences and Disorders, 35, 65-71.

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Natural Remedies for ADHD: One Boy’s Success Story

By Dorothy Foltz-Gray 

An interactive natural remedy treatment helps calm a boy with ADHD.  

Last year, Aaron Davis, now 10, was picked as a class project leader, charged with keeping four of his classmates on task. The irony wasn’t lost on his parents, Brenda and Richard of Topeka, Kan.: Just two years ago, a simple command like “turn off the computer” was impossible for their son, diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) after he started kindergarten.

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IM-Home blog posts by Dr. Kevin McGrew (Volume 1: 6-3-12)

 

To help readers build their library of IM related information, Dr. Kevin McGrew has organized all of his IM-HOME blog posts up through 6-3-12 in a single on-line (and downloadable) PDF file. "IM-Home blog posts by Dr. Kevin McGrew (Volume 1: 6-3-12)" has been posted under the Neurotechnology section of the Research & Reports menu at the MindHub.  
 
Additional blog post archive volumes will be forthcoming.
 
Enjoy.
 
Dr. Kevin McGrew
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The Original Time Doctor and Time Machine: Jim Cassily

Jim Cassily was the inventor of the patented technology behind Interactive Metronome®.  Through a serendipitous set of events I recently learned about the early days of his development of the original “time machine.”  The purpose of this post is to share a portion of Jim Cassily’s role in the IM story.  I give special thanks to Jim’s wife, Katie, who has graciously supplied me with original documents, pictures, and anecdotes regarding Jim’s passion for sharing the technology he developed to improve the lives of others.  I consider it an honor to amplify a portion of Jim’s legacy via efforts to share information regarding the brain-based mechanisms involved in the IM neurotechnology (see Brain Clock blog). 

 

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Time Travels with the Time Doc—Trip 1: Quieting the Busy Mind

 

I have been blogging about brain-clock research at my home base (Brain Clock Blog) for many years and more recently have been blogging at the IM-Home website and blog. A problem with sharing information via blogging is that we bloggers make desired connections via hyperlinks. We insert them so the reader will read prior posts for related or background information. Often readers don’t want to take the time to bounce back and forth between linked stories...

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Learn more about the "Time Doc"

Many of you are already familiar with Dr Kevin McGrew. You’ve read his intriguing and elucidating blog posts and you know he is affectionately referred to as The Time Doc because of his incessant interest (et..em, obsession ☺) with any and all things related to mental timing. You may also know that his unique curiosity has lead to a vast collection of literature contained at one of his many blogs, The Brain Clock Blog. Dr McGrew’s singular effort to bring together and collectively analyze the existing literature has contributed greatly to our understanding of the role of temporal processing in various human abilities and medical conditions and how interventions like the Interactive Metronome may be improving the resolution, synchronicity, and performance of our internal clock...

Tagged in: Mental Timing
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IM for Kids with Cancer?

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!

Tagged in: Cancer
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Speech Improvement through Interactive Metronome

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.

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A gift from Russia: Testimony from a real Mother

Andrew was adopted in 2000 from Russia...he was 4 years old. (He is now 15 years old.) He had an un-repaired cleft palate, profound hearing impairment, severe malnutrition, profound insomnia of unknown origin, severe sensory dysfunction at time of adoption, along with intestinal infections (parasites and h. pylori). Andrew's had triennial neuropsychological testing, both privately and through the school district routinely since he joined our family in 2000. Through these evaluations, he's been diagnosed with PDD/NOS (pervasive developmental disorder/not otherwise specified), dysgraphia, attachment disorder, institutional autism, gross motor planning impairment, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), severe visual motor deficits, and RAD (reactive attachment disorder), emotional disorder among other things...
 

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A bit of research: Fast thinking

Cognitive psychologists theorize that the faster we are able to process information (or think), the more intelligent we are, and the more readily we can learn and demonstrate what we’ve learned. There are many recent studies that support this view, including this one published in the journal Intelligence. Each individual is born with a certain amount of resources for attending to and processing information. How well a person allocates those resources appears to be a major factor in determining intelligence. Taub et al (2007) demonstrated that Interactive Metronome (IM) training has a significant positive effect on reading achievement (affecting 4 of 5 critical pre-reading skills) in elementary school students. They proposed that IM training was primarily improving “processing [thinking] speed,” which in turn improved the students’ ability to allocate resources for attending and holding information in working memory … all essential for fluent reading.

Ben-Shakhar, G. and Sheffer, L. (2001). The relationship between the ability to divide attention and standard
 measures of general cognitive abilities. Intelligence, 29: 293-306.
Taub. G., McGrew, K.S., and Keith, T.Z. (2007). Improvement in interval timing tracking and effects on reading
 achievement. Psychology in the Schools, 44(8), 849-863.

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Are you new to IM?

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!”

Tagged in: General IM
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Individualized IM “on-demand focus” training

 

As summarized in prior posts, neurocognitive research suggests that the predominant gear of our minds transmission is neutral.  Our mental engine is working (idling) but to those observing us, our brain is not moving—we often do not appear cognitively engaged in any complex thinking or processing.

The typical person spends up to half their time engaged in the spontaneous chasing of miscellaneous thoughts down various rabbit holes of our minds.  Our thought promiscuous mind wanders here-and-there when daydreaming (“zoning out”) or becoming trapped in a cycle of negative unchecked thoughts (e.g., rumination over negative unhappy thoughts; mania; obsessions).  However, the unconstrained busy or wandering mind can also produce creative insights and thoughts.   An unquiet or busy mind can be good or bad depending on the demands facing the individual at any given time.  More importantly, the amount of optimal mind wandering may vary for different people.

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A little more science than usual: Great research on intelligence

In the literature, psychologists describe two forms of intelligence that each contributes separately to our ability to perform tasks. These are “fluid intelligence” and “crystallized intelligence.” Whereas crystallized intelligence is the information and knowledge about things we have learned over the years, fluid intelligence is our ability to strategize and problem-solve. In the example of taking a test, we would recall knowledge about facts and information we learned from class and from studying our notes to answer the test questions (crystallized intelligence), but we may need to answer the questions in a strategic way like crossing out all multiple choice responses that clearly are not the answer and narrow the choices down to the two most possible, working from there to get the correct response (fluid intelligence). Stankov et al. (2006) studied the physiological neural oscillations (or rhythmic, repetitive neural signals between brain regions in the central nervous system) involved in human intelligence, or what we know is our ability to learn, access what we’ve learned, and problem-solve. They discuss the importance of synchronicity in brain activity to intelligence and propose that the degree of synchronization in brain activity may account for differences between individuals’ cognitive processing abilities. In a small pilot study completed in 2004, Dr Alpiner demonstrated under fMRI that individuals who’d received training for timing and rhythm using the Interactive Metronome demonstrated more synchronous activity in the brain when compared to individuals who did not receive this training. Other researchers (Taub et al., 2007) who studied the effect of IM training on reading achievement theorized that synchronized metronome tapping (via Interactive Metronome) increases the efficiency of the brain’s timing (or synchronicity of neural oscillations), thus improving the ability to process, store, and retrieve information.

Stankov, L., Danthiir, V., Williams, L.M., Pallier, G., Roberts, R.D., and Gordon, E. (2006). Intelligence and the tuning-in of brain networks. Learning and Individual Differences, 16, 217-233.

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Testimony: Muscular Dystrophy

I just thought I would share this great testimony that I received with all of you: 

Amy,
Just HAD to share some exciting news!

You may recall me asking your advice on the 10-year old boy with Muscular Dystrophy that I’m working with. He has extremely low muscle tone, and as a result, we had to make a lot of modifications to the program for him. He could not perform the required arm circles when doing both hands tasks, and therefore found the speed very slow and hard to maintain. Most of the feet tasks couldn’t be done, as he is confined to a wheelchair. However, we do some of them when he is in his walking sling. When he started IM, even the 1 minute tasks completely exhausted him...

Tagged in: Muscular Dystrophy
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Sports and IM

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.

Tagged in: sports performance
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A person can only hold only “so much” information in working memory

A person can only hold only “so much” information in working memory … here is an anology: There are 5 babies in the bed. Put another one in, and one of the babies in the bed falls out. The bed can only hold “5” babies. Period. This study by Kane et al (2001) published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology further bolsters the theory that our ability to focus and pay attention is largely driven by how many bits of information (“babies”) we can hold in our working memory without losing them in the presence of more bits of information or distractions (“more babies”). Working memory is a skill that is dependent upon timing in the brain. The better the brain’s timing, the better working memory can hold onto the bits of information and use them for the situation (i.e., learning) or problem at hand. Taub et al (2007) have theorized that Interactive Metronome, a patented program that improves timing in the brain, primarily addresses thinking speed and working memory, thereby improving our ability to focus and learn.

Kane, M.J., Blecky, M.K., Conway, A.R.A., and Engle, R.W. (2001) A controlled attention view of working-memory capacity. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 130(2), 169-183.
Taub. G., McGrew, K.S., and Keith, T.Z. (2007). Improvement in interval timing tracking and effects on reading
 achievement. Psychology in the Schools, 44(8), 849-863.

Tagged in: attention
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I WANT to get my homework DONE!

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!

Tagged in: ADD/ADHD
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