Interactive Metronome® (IM) is an evidence based, engaging therapeutic modality that improves cognitive and motor skills.
Interactive Metronome (IM) is an objective assessment and training tool that improves neural synchronization and function in children and adults who display impairments in cognitive, communicative, sensory, motor and/or academic / vocational performance. Training plans are individualized to meet the unique needs of each person.
What is IM?
Interactive Metronome® (IM) is an evidence-based assessment and training tool that measures & improves Neurotiming, or the synchronization of neural impulses within key brain networks for cognitive, communicative, sensory & motor performance. As the individual activates a trigger in time with a steady auditory beat, IM technology provides real-time auditory and visual feedback for millisecond timing. Knowing whether he is hitting before, after, or exactly in sync with the beat to the millisecond allows the individual to make immediate, online corrections to improve timing & rhythm over the course of training.
Peer reviewed studies repeatedly confirm the importance of timing & rhythm for human performance. According to IM research, improving Neurotiming may result in better function in the following areas:
Expressive & Receptive Language
Reading Comprehension, Rate & Fluency
Upper Extremity Function (Parkinson’s, hemiplegia, CP, hand function)
Athletic Performance (golf, soccer)
Why is timing important?
Timing is everything, a phrase we’re sure that you have all heard a million times. But what you likely don’t think about when you hear this phrase is how fundamental timing is to everything that we do as humans, both spectacular things and simple things.
Precise timing is responsible for a stellar athletic performance, or a group of musicians making a perfect melody or it can even be the key to a funny punch line. Timing is responsible for a person being able to walk without falling or speaking without stuttering. Timing is what allows us to focus, process language, keep our balance and have smooth gait, play a sport, and even read. Timing is responsible for the synchronous communication of our brains’ network system that connects cognitive processes and physical movement. Therefore the ability to have accurate Neurotiming is one of the most critical factors in human performance.
Timing is a domain-general mechanism and it is the basis for attention, working memory and processing speed, all of which are critical for social interaction, attention, handwriting, behavior and language development. IM is the only training program that improves timing in the brain in an organized, systematic, flexible and engaging format. Research shows that combining whole body movements with cognitive tasks leads to overall better outcomes. IM is a patented and unique training tool that challenges thinking and movement simultaneously, providing real-time millisecond feedback to help synchronize the body’s “internal clock.”
Part of what makes IM so unique is its ability to improve domain-general mechanisms. Domain-general mechanisms are “jack-of-all-trades” mechanisms that function across a wide range of processes. Timing is a domain-general mechanism that affects every part of human life. Sleeping and eating are on natural timing cycles. Speech relies on timing, pauses and emphasis. Walking relies on coordinated, timed movement. In fact, it seems that every essential brain function relies on timing. It is this timing that affects the rate our brains process inputs (temporal processing) and respond to those stimuli.
IM synchronizes and improves the efficiency of our internal brain clock(s), which improves temporal processing and neural efficiency. Since conditions such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Parkinson’s, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and TBI have all been associated with poor temporal processing, improving neural efficiency could potentially slow or reverse the affects of a host of clinical disorders. Greater neural efficiency results in more efficient brain connectivity, communication and synchronization between the essential brain networks. Increasing that efficiency is only part of the process. Now, you have to be able to apply the improvements to daily life. Back to billiards; you’ve made your choice of shots, but can you make your body complete the fine motor sequence needed to put the ball in the pocket?
It is essential that children be able to filter out distractions, hold information in working memory and process that information in order to learn. ADHD makes it difficult for children to sustain attention and focus.
Much of our lives revolve around timing. Reading relies on timing. Sleep cycles rely on brain timing. Speaking is all about pauses and timing. Walking in rhythm relies on coordinated, timed movement, as does dancing; even baking cookies is a matter of timing. Synchronizing the body’s “internal clock” helps the functional brain networks communicate rhythmically and efficiently. The efficient communication between the brain and body allows all systems to be working at peak levels. When everything is working at the optimum level, the brain’s cognitive processes are free to work on memory, processing and coordinating action, all while still maintaining focus!
IM training also addresses sustained attention by guiding users to repeatedly respond to a cue across varying lengths of time.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents a unique set of challenges. Children deal with a wide range of symptoms and require very different treatment plans. Children that have this special blend of social and communication troubles face very unique challenges, especially in over-crowded schools.
ASD is related to behavior, emotions and communication, not intelligence. Children with ASD may learn, think and interact in their own unique way, but nearly half of those diagnosed with autism have average or above average intelligence. In fact, many of these people, regardless of IQ, have exceptional abilities or savantism in music, art, mathematics, literature and computer science. This can make training with these children a challenge.
Sensory Processing Disorder
auditory Processing Disorder
Difficulty with processing sound and language can present a multitude of problems for children. IM understands how these difficulty processing speech and ambient sound can lead to cognitive deficits and behavioral changes. Children may have trouble hearing directions, educational instruction and warnings. Those miscommunications may be misinterpreted as poor behavior, impulsivity and learning disabilities.
As with every one of our senses, hearing is all about the brain processing and responding to external stimuli. Over-crowded schools can lead to problems for children who cannot hear teachers and administrators. Without proper supervision, children with APD could fall behind or be mislabeled as being lazy and poorly behaved. But IM training can help!
Processing and responding to stimuli is a major function of the human brain; in fact, one could argue that it is basically the only function of the brain. IM training goes directly to the source, timing in the brain. APD is related to the body and brain’s ability to synchronize and appropriately respond to stimuli. If the brain and body cannot communicate effectively, efficiently and rhythmically, the signals may get crossed. Sometimes they don’t make it at all. That is where Interactive Metronome® can help. IM training helps ensure the neurons in the brain are firing at peak levels, thereby freeing cognitive function to work on sensory processing, control, attention and coordinated movement.
Developmental delays take multiple forms, including impairments of general intelligence, difficulty with specific scholastic skills, trouble coordinating motor skills, and social communicative disorders like Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). With so much changing in the developing brain, it is unclear how much is affected by many developmental disorders. One thing is for sure, the source of problem is timing in the brain.
Children with learning disabilities (LD) can present a variety of challenges for parents and educators. Untreated, these children may also face difficult and unique challenges that are pervasive throughout life. Learning disabilities affect all areas of academia, speech and language.
Dyslexia is the most common reading disability, but it is unique from other reading difficulties because it is not just a receptive language-base learning disability; it also affects children’s expressive language skills, and in some cases, the ability to recognize voices and sounds. It can lead to difficulty with speech and reading, mirrored handwriting and inability to attend amidst distractions.
Reading and writing are very important to childhood development. Trouble reading can make it hard for children to be exposed to new thoughts and materials, which is often amplified by ADHD and the language disorders associated with dyslexia. LD can lead to:
Difficulty following directions
Trouble learning new information
Difficulty with reading and math
Fortunately, although the symptoms may vary, the cause is the same…timing. The domain-general mechanism of timing is a “jack of all trades” mechanism that manifests itself in sleep cycles, speech patterns, ability to attend over time and overall efficacy of brain communication. This timing in the brain, or temporal processing, has been shown to be deficient in several common conditions, including everything from mild learning disability to severe autism spectrum disorder.
In fact, a study from Baylor University reveals that students who received “just 15 minutes of IM training, four days a week” in addition to language and reading intervention, demonstrated significant improvement in reading rate, fluency and comprehension over students who just received language and reading instruction.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) goes beyond trouble with vision and hearing, often affecting the tactile, proprioception, or vestibular system. Difficulty interpreting stimuli can lead to developmental delays, behavioral changes, difficulty with activities of daily living, ADLs and social problems. Over-crowded schools can lead to problems for children with hypersensitivity to touch or sound. Without proper supervision, over stimulation from the surrounding environment could make it impossible for children with SPD to engage and learn.
Processing and responding to stimuli is a major function of the human brain; in fact, one could argue that it is basically the only function of the brain. IM training goes directly to the source, timing in the brain. SPD is related to the body and brain’s ability to synchronize and appropriately respond to stimuli. If the brain and body cannot communicate effectively, efficiently and rhythmically, the signals may get crossed. Sometimes they don’t make it at all.