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.
When Brenda and Richard Davis talk about their 9-year-old son, Aaron, they find it impossible to hold back their tears.
A year ago, Aaron, who was diagnosed at age 5 with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, had difficulty making eye contact and having a conversation. He couldn’t follow directions and was lagging behind in school by several years.
That began to change last spring after the Davises heard about Interactive Metronome and decided to see if it would help their son. Interactive Metronome is a clinically proven computer-based assessment and treatment tool that has helped children with developmental challenges improve their cognitive, behavioral, social and motor skills.
“We had resigned ourselves that he would live with us and not hold a job or go to college,” Brenda said, as tears spilled down her cheek. “Now, he’s going to go to college, and he’s going to be successful.”
“The simple fact that I can stick with a task until it is complete is a major break through for me!”
Mariko, Yamamoto is a college age student and has come a long way after going through the Interactive Metronome® program at IMprove in Okinawa, Japan. Mariko ’s inability to concentrate, her short attention span, and hyperactive behavior were taking a toll on her academic and daily life. One of Mariko ’s biggest problems was her inability to organize her tasks, like cleaning her room. She would never know where to begin cleaning and after hours of shuffling things around she would have to resort to calling her mother to help her get things put away correctly. She also found herself struggling with note taking during her classes and found activities, such as eating meals and washing dishes boring. She would often loose track of her original task and lose valuable study time.
The brain as a set of networks: Fine tuning your networks
Man has always known that the brain is the center of human behavior. Early attempts at understanding which locations in the brain controlled different functions were non-scientific and included such practices asphrenology. This pseudoscience believed that by feeling the bumps of a person’s head it was possible to draw conclusions about specific brain functions and traits of the person.
Eventually brain science revealed that different regions of the brain where specialized for different specific cognitive processes (but it was not related to the phrenological brain bump maps). This has been called the modular or functional specialization view of the brain, which is grounded in the conclusion that different brain areas acted more-or-less as independent mechanisms for completing specific cognitive functions.
IM is now used by therapists at TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehab Hospital, named one of America’s Top 10 Rehab Hospitals. You may recall TIRR in the news recently as the hospital that treated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after her traumatic brain injury. We are pleased that therapists at TIRR have chosen to add IM to their treatment tools as they lead the way in advanced rehabilitation.
My personal and professional experience and task analysis of IM-Home: Focus and controlled attention.
My personal and professional experience and task analysis of IM-Home: Focus and controlled attention.
I am departing from my original plan for this post, as I want to share my personal experience with IM-Home to date. I have completed my 16th session and have been task analyzing the demands of the IM.
My first conclusion is that IM is challenging! When I tell others that I am using a high-tech "clapping" machine that uses a cowbell sound, I am typically greeted with skepticism, much like my original skepticism. It sounds simple and easy. Trust me--it is a very cognitively demanding therapy.
Being an extremely visually oriented person with expertise in the analysis of numbers (applied psychometrics and statistics), I immediately gravitated to the IM visual and numeric feedback on the computer screen. In fact, I focused almost exclusively on the numbers. I more-or-less ignored the auditory feedback in my ears. Within a week I found it relatively easy to be "on target" and when off target, quickly and automatically adjust my pace to be in synch with my tireless IM taskmaster. However, I found that when I was in a groove and being "super right- on" (exactly on the beat) for a number of consecutive trials, my mind would start to wander to random thoughts. No sooner would my mind wander for a brief second then the feedback told me that I was no longer in rhythm. This happened constantly. Just when I was feeling like I had mastered the task, my mind would always start wandering.
This is one of our most AMAZING success stories involving a TBI patient
Kelly Buggle suffered a TBI from a car accident when she was a senior in high school. Her injuries included upper body trauma, fracture of both arms, broken vertebrates, cracked ribs, and the list went on. Because Kelly had so many physical injuries her TBI went unnoticed at first. Once Kelly recovered physically he family and friends started to notice that she couldn’t identify simple objects like a “microwave.” Prior to the accident Kelly was at the top of her math class and afterwards she couldn’t even do simple addition. In addition she couldn’t comprehend what others were saying to her and felt hopeless...watch her video testimonial...
These safety rules for ADHD children may seem obvious, but we find that reminders seldom hurt -- especially for caregivers who don't live every day with attention deficit and hyperactivity.
A parent or older sibling must always supervise free play.
Stop his jumping or running sooner than you might with another child.
When outside, hold hands.
When out for a stroll, walk on the side that's closer to the street.
Be ready to stop a child with your actions, not words, should he happen to dart off.
Hold hands in stores or malls, or place the child in a wagon or cart with a seat belt.
Article Published on Additude magazine.
Link between ADHD and body clock established
A link has now been established between ADHD & timing. Genes that control circadian rhythm do not function properly in ADHD adults, which also may explain why these individual have poor sleep patterns and suffer from depression. Theoretically if they are put back “on time” symptoms would improve. IM (Link to IM-Home) is the only measurable therapeutic device that works on timing in the brain.
To read the full article visit- http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/health/2011/1206/1224308615407.html
For more insight on timing visit The Time Doc’s Brain Clock Blog.
Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy
One of my favorite groups of patients to work with using Interactive Metronome® are those affected by hemiplegia. These are my kiddos who either totally neglect one of their arms, or who only use their arm when absolutely necessary. They constantly hear “use both hands” or “use your helper hand” time and time again. There are other options for those affected with hemiplegia such as constraint-induced therapy, which can also be beneficial, but IM is a great way to get them to start using their affected upper extremity.
IM helps with reading skills
One of the things that many of the parents of the children whom I have worked with have told me while we were doing IM sessions was that they noticed some type of improvement with reading. Some of these children had difficulty with reading and letter recognition from the start, and others did not, but improvement was still observed by parents or teachers.
Fireworks! Autism Spectrum, Social Interaction and IM!
Children who are on the Autism Spectrum generally have great difficulty with their social skills. They don’t know when or how to interact with others. Following conversations is very difficult for them as is giving eye contact. It seems that they are sometimes “Out of Sync” with their environment and the people who are in it.
Gift Ideas to enhance an IM program
Are you looking for a gift for your child who is participating in IM sessions? Parents at our clinic ask me all the time what would be a good gift for their child. Something to enhance their therapy yet is fun. Below I’ve listed some games which can be found at the Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon or Toys R Us, so they are easy to find.
Major League Success with APD
Major league Lacrosse’s Most Valuable player from 2011, Paul Rabil, has a condition called auditory processing disorder or APD. Like many others with a learning disability, Paul doesn’t consider his condition a “disability”. He treats APD as a driver for determination and success.
Smoking makes you fog up your memory!
We have all heard of the dangerous effects to our health from smoking cigarettes, the habit causes different types of cancers, emphysema, gum disease, digestive, nervous, and cardiovascular problems, the list goes on and on. To add to the dangers of smoking is Alzheimer’s disease, since smoking causes narrowing of blood vessels it could contribute to vascular dementia by depriving brain cells of oxygen.
Teenage autism and social Isolation
Hanging out with friends after school is a big part of a teenager’s life and is crucial for developing people and communication skills. For those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), social activity is very rare, especially after school and out of the family circle. This is something that has kept Professor Paul Shattuck of Washington University in St. Louis busy for many years; he says that limited or absent peer relationships can negatively influence health and mental health, especially during this difficult age.
Men more prone to ADHD than Women? Think again!
While more boys than girls are treated for ADHD, a new report shows that among adults the numbers have flipped, this suggests that a great number of girls are growing up untreated and only during adulthood they finally get treated. According to Dr. L. Adler, director of the Psychiatry and Neurology adult ADHD program at New York University School of Medicine, boys tend to exhibit the “H” for hyperactivity in ADHD more often than girls, so they get diagnosed earlier. Girls on the other hand grow up exhibiting laziness or lack of motivation in school, but by adulthood the attention deficit component of ADHD becomes more prominent and they tend to struggle with jobs, paying bills, and managing daily tasks.
The Brain Clock: It is possible to fine-tune the human brain clock
In my first post I reported how my scientific skepticism initially kept me arms-length from an IM school-based study, the positive results which stimulated my subsequent search for scientific and theoretical research to explain the IM effect. This search resulted in the Brain Clock blog and the conclusion that synchronized metronome tapping and other rhythm-based interventions must be improving a central “jack-of-all-trades” cognitive mechanism (the topic of my second post). The recent IM-Home “Sound of Music” post, which was abstracted from a post at the Brain Clock blog, featured the link between rhythm-based music therapies and recovery from brain injury, in the case for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Research evidence that continued to “close the door” on my initial IM skepticism, and which now has me blogging at the Brain Clock and the IM-Home blogs and, more recently, has me near completion of the 15th session of my first personalized IM-Home phase of therapy, was the discovery of research that consistently demonstrated that the resolution of the human brain clock could be changed—it could be slowed down or sped up! The human brain clock could be fine-tuned. I was enthralled! As I will share in future posts, I have personally found that the IM-Home training places considerable demand on my working memory, executive functions and attentional control (focus). I have weaned myself from reliance on the visual feedback to focusing primarily on the auditory feedback. This was initially hard for me as I am a very strong visual thinker and processor. The switch to auditory feedback has improved my mental focus (sustained concentration and attentional control). But I digress. I will share these personal experiences, in the context of explaining the cognitive operations that I believe are being sharpened by IM, in future posts.
A “Real Birthday Party” was in order for Raymond this Year!
Several years ago, I met a 9-year-old boy named “Raymond”, who had recently been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. He was very bright and got A’s in classes like math and history. Raymond knew a lot about video games and video game systems, and was willing to tell you every detail about them. He also confided in me that he had no friends and that kids laughed at him and turned the other way when he came over to them. The reason that he came to me was that his handwriting was illegible and very slow. And during his OT evaluation, I discovered that his coordination was well below age level (much more like a 4 year old) and that he had weakness throughout his body. I also noticed that his focus and concentration was very poor for non-preferred topics.
Children who have a Traumatic Brain Injury typically go through a course of rehabilitation. It seems that although there are clusters of similarities in these patients, there are rarely ever 2 that exhibit the exact same difficulties after their injury. I met a 7 year old who had fallen off of a truck, and had suffered a TBI. He required surgery to repair a hole in his skull from the fall. This little guy received OT, PT and speech for a year in an intensive program and did very well. One year post his accident, he was demonstrating great recovery in every area – walking with no support or braces, cognitively intact and able to complete 1st grade work without assistance, speaking clearly and without difficulty. His last resulting effect was a left hemiplegia. His left arm dangled from his side and was non functional. This was very frustrating to him and to his family.