“The Interactive Metronome (IM) is a research-based training program that helps children and adults overcome attention, memory, and coordination limitations,” according to the official Interactive Metronome website. It is a therapy that has multiple applications, and it can potentially help individuals of any age with mental and physical disabilities.
Positive outcomes in focus, attention, speech, language, reading, coordination, gait, and balance can come about through Interactive Metronome therapy.
IM is research-based and objective, and therapists from multiple disciplines can utilize the tools in their therapy sessions. IM is designed to help with cognitive and motor skills, and most patients do see progress throughout the therapy, which is motivating for success.
How Does Interactive Metronome Therapy Work?
Any musicians are familiar with the term “metronome,” as it is a device regularly used to help keep time and maintain a steady beat. Many individuals learned in psychology courses about the brain’s “internal clock,” and it is this clock that is responsible for detecting where sounds originate, regulating waking and sleep states, and aiding our ability to focus attention, remember information, or coordinate our muscles and movements.
Conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism, Parkinson’s disease, auditory processing disorders, and other issues are often the result of problems that occur within the brain. Some researchers believe these problems in the brain also impact the brain’s internal clock and timing, and IM works by addressing these issues in timing. In addition to other therapeutic approaches, Interactive Metronome therapy works by addressing a source of the problems within the brain.
Interactive Metronome is a neuro-motor therapy tool that involves game-like auditory and visual stimuli as well as movement exercises. One exercise involves a patient standing in front of a computer screen with a headset and gloves with a push button — the patient is asked to clap each time she hears a loud “ding,” and the computer tracks how accurately the claps match the sounds. Other movement exercises involve moving the hands or feet to repetitive sounds at a steady rhythm, similar to that of the musical metronome.
For individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities, these exercises can be very difficult. But through continued work, patients work on brain plasticity and processing speed.
IM can help children with ADHD improve impulse control or aid sensory integration in children with autism. Interactive Metronome is used often by occupational therapists, but it is also used by speech and language pathologists, physical therapists, physicians, and educators.
Visit Interactive Metronome online to find a provider near you.
Photo by Earls37a