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.
Timing skills play a pivotal role in the development of speech production and perception, or the ability to speak and understand the speech and/or intent of others (Kello, 2003). Not only must a child rapidly decipher the timing characteristics of each individual sound, syllable, word, and phrase in the speech stream, but for successful communication to occur there must be precisely timed coordination between centers of the brain for language and cognitive processing or thinking skills and the muscles and structures of the mouth and throat (or voice box). On top of that, a child must process and understand other information associated with what is said, such as demeanor of the person (Is he happy? Angry? Sad? ) or humor (Was he serious? Or was he joking?) Many children on the Autism Spectrum either don’t understand what you said, or don’t understand the unspoken social aspects of speech. All of this depends upon timing in the brain!!! That’s a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time! However, in normal development the brain’s “internal clock” functions very precisely so that children learn to speak intelligibly and understand you when you speak to them, including your mood and intent. Interactive Metronome (IM) training impacts the very critical timing centers of the brain necessary for effective communication & social skills.
Kello, C.T. (2003). Patterns of timing in the acquisition, perception, and production of speech. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 619-626.
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.
Infants, before than can speak, are exposed to rhythmic sounds in the form of music and song. This research by Bergeson and Trehub (2006) shows that their little tiny ears and developing brains are already tuned just like an adult’s to hear the slightest changes in tempo, tone, and rhythm. They discuss the importance of the brain’s “internal clock” as it relates to how infants respond and move their bodies to music and other rhythms. IM providers who specialize in infant care and early intervention are reporting very good results when using the Interactive Metronome in the treatment of infants and young children who have developmental delays or disorders with improvements in the areas of: sensory processing, pre-speech/cognitive development, and motor skills. Case studies can be found at www.interactivemetronome.com
Bergeson, T.R. and Trehub, S.E. (2006). Infants’ perception of rhythmic patterns. Music Perception, 23(4), 345-360.Continue reading
Humans perceive time. We use this ability to predict what is coming, to think about how we will react, and then to respond in a timely fashion. It is well-documented that children with ADHD have an impaired sense of time. Areas of the brain that control our perception of time are affected in children with ADHD (i.e., working memory). In an article published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers found that children with ADHD who also have a Reading Disorder have even more difficulty with timing skills. Research has shown that Interactive Metronome, a training program that addresses the underlying problem with timing in the brain, improves symptoms of ADHD and reading.
Toplak, M.E., Rucklidge, J.J., Hetherington, R., John, S.C.F., and Tannock, R. (2003). Time perception
deficits in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and comorbid reading difficulties in child and adolescent samples. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(6), 888-903.
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!...Continue reading
Have you ever heard the saying “timing is everything?” Our brain keeps time – in microseconds, milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours. This time-keeping function is critical for all of our human abilities and thinking skills. According to research, persons with musical training tend to consistently demonstrate better timing and rhythm than those who are not musically oriented. Children who play an instrument or are otherwise musically trained tend to also perform better in school, are focused, and complete projects on time. Here, Eck & Scott (2005) discuss the critical timing skills involved in the perception and creation of music. It is not surprising that musicians have better timing skills, and thus are more equipped to handle academic hurdles. Do you see the connection? If a child is struggling with school work, to focus or stay on task, has behavioral outbursts, is impulsive, or has trouble staying organized or managing time … the brain’s clock may be out of sync and areas of the brain may not be communicating efficiently or effectively, therefore the child may also be out of sync with other people and events in his/her environment. Interactive Metronome is the only treatment program that provides training and feedback in order to improve timing skills that are so critical to academic and social success.
Eck, D. and Scott, S.K. (2005). New research in rhythm perception and production. Music Perception, 22(3), 365-369.Continue reading
Has your child ever had trouble concentrating on daily tasks? Although Mason Roach, a 6-year-old boy, was not diagnosed with ADHD, he still showed similar symptoms. Mason had trouble following through with simple tasks, such as taking a shower and brushing his teeth. His Mom came to Lisa Poe, OTR/L for help...Continue reading
The media sums it up pretty well. This is from an article last Sunday in Central PA’s Patriot News:
When a head injury, disease or behavioral disorder disrupts that carefully synchronized brain clock, everything from breathing and body movements to intellect and emotion can be undermined. But a relatively new therapy known as Interactive Metronome has restored the internal timepiece in the brain of many patients with autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD, stroke, traumatic brain injury and other cognitive disorders.
Researchers (Nicholas et al, 2007) are asking whether genes responsible for timing in the brain are in some way flawed in children with Autism (including High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s). Individuals on the Autism Spectrum display a significant number of symptoms that show timing in the brain is severely disrupted, from difficulty with sleep to the brain’s ability to process information, to attention or the ability to switch from focusing on one thing to another (they often become fixated), to communicating & reciprocating in conversation, to sensory processing and integration, to motor coordination (including the muscles for vision and visual perception). The authors found that there is indeed a case to be made that “clock genes” are involved, however they urge further research. More and more professionals are including Interactive Metronome in their comprehensive treatment programs for children on the Autism Spectrum in order to improve the timing skills that are critical for development of speech & language, cognitive, social, and motor skills.
Nicholas, B., Rudrasingham, V., Nash, S., Kirov, G., Own, M.J., and Wimpory, D.C. (2007). Association of Per1 and Npas2 with autistic disorder: Support for the clock genes/social timing hypothesis. Molecular Psychiatry, 12, 581-592.
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...Continue reading
A Brain-based Approach for ADHD and LD
Donna Abler, a holistic occupational therapist, is accepting summer registrations to help children overcome motor, behavioral and cognitive challenges associated with attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities (LD) through a natural, drug-free approach. Developed in the early 1990s, Interactive Metronome (IM) is a computerized, brain-based therapy tool that has gained national attention as a breakthrough intervention to support processing abilities in the brain, including language, motor and cognition skills. Its effectiveness is backed by clinical research...Continue reading
“Time is essential to speech.” This study by de Cheveigne (2003) makes clear that in order to understand speech, the brain depends upon its internal clock (or what is known as temporal processing) to decipher at a minimum: 1) whether the left or right ear heard it first or which direction the voice came from, 2) pitch and intonation or WHO is speaking, 3) each individual sound within each word, 4) how the sounds blend together to make each word, including whether each sound is a vowel, consonant, voiced, voiceless, and 5) whether there are pauses between sounds and words that add emphasis or meaning. When timing in the brain or temporal processing is off by just milliseconds, a person may have difficulty processing and understanding speech. Interactive Metronome is a patented program that addresses the underlying problem in Auditory Processing Disorders, tuning the internal clock to the millisecond in order to more accurately perceive speech.
de Cheveigne, A. (2003). Time-domain auditory processing of speech. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 547-561.Continue reading
The "Time Doc" (K. McGrew) Voice of America interview on focus and "quieting the busy mind"
Why is a scholar in intelligence theory and testing spending time working with and researching the brain-clock based neurotechnology of Interactive Metronome?
I have now explained this connection on my recent Internet radio show interview. In it you will learn why IM technology appears to increase focus (controlled attention; working memory) in a manner similar to mindfulness meditation and other brain fitness programs. You will learn that these technologies help to "quiet the busy" mind that is due to the default brain network, via the strengthening of the salience and central executive networks. The connection with general intelligence (g) is also discussed via Jensen's neural efficiency hypothesis and the temporal g notion of neural efficiency. If you want to read more, check out the Time Doc's posts at the IM-Home blog (check for posts under my name or under the category of "science"... and be sure to click on "see other stories" if it does not give you all the posts) These include the Time Doc's own personal experience with the IM-Home brain clock based technology... Read more...
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.Continue reading
Brain training helps Topeka child with ADHD
When Aaron Davis hears a beat his brain fires a reaction to his hands or his feet. When his parents, Richard and Brenda, see the mental to physical connection, they remember at one time the simple task was impossible. Richard says, "We get emotional. It's incredible, the difference."
A year ago, Aaron struggled in school, lacked social interaction, and seemed to be in a world of his own. Brenda says, "We were told he had a wheat allergy and he had a gluten allergy and to take all of that out of his diet. So we did that for a month and there was no improvement. Then we were told the natural food market has these wonderful vitamins and that will help. We tried that and nothing worked."
Doctors then told Richard and Brenda their son had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. The solution: medication. But Richard says, "He was still struggling in school, he was still behind."
Nothing made Aaron better. Just when the family had given up all hope, a friend suggested Interactive Metronome. A program that retrains the brain. Doctors say IM uses a repetitive exercise that changes or remaps neurons in a certain part of the brain resulting in a change in behavior. Brenda says, "The first time he went to IM, that night, we already saw a difference."Continue reading
Alertness versus focus: Same or different?
Often upon completing a brief description of the benefits of IM to an individual, which centers on the benefits of increased controlled attention or “on demand focus”, people often ask me why not just drink one of those highly advertised energy drinks. These drinks claim to increase alertness, attention, energy and focus. Drinking an energy drink is much easier when compared to committing to IM training for three weekly hour sessions over a period of 4-5 weeks
In general, the primary claim of these energy drinks is increased alertness. Thus, it is important to understand that alertness is not the same as controlled attention or focus. Given all the claims circulating in the “cognitive enhancement” market place (energy drinks, brain fitness technologies), it is important that the discourse be scientifically-based and grounded in a professional consensus of terms. So let me attempt to add some order to the increasing confusion of terms.
I first turn to the highly respected Annual Review of Psychologyfor an article published by Posner and Rosthbart (2007).Their comprehensive research review makes a distinction between three different attention networks—alerting, orienting, and executive attention. These three different attention networks are orchestrated by different areas of the brain (see figure below). They also differ in the primary neurotransmitters utilized by each system---alerting (acetylcholine), orienting (norepinephrine), and executive (dopamine). Although related and often working collaboratively, they are different forms of attention.Continue reading
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...
In order for a child to have good self-control (i.e., behavior), the timing system in the brain must be operating normally. Faulty timing is at the heart of ADHD. Researchers in Australia recently developed a set of questions for parents of children with ADHD that will help doctors and therapists better pinpoint whether there is a problem with timing skills and whether or not they are getting better with treatment. This is a valuable tool for professionals who use Interactive Metronome in the treatment of ADHD to measure and document the effect of the treatment, which improves timing in the brain.
Houghton, S., Durkin, K., Ang, R.P., Taylor, M.F., and Brandtman, M. (2011). Measuring Temporal Self-Regulation in Children With and Without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Sense of Time in Everyday Contexts. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 27(2), 88-94.