How Interactive Metronome Benefits Children With Language and Reading Impairment



Introduction

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. LD can lead to:


· Difficulty following directions

  • Trouble learning new information

  • Poor memory

  • Trouble focusing

  • Difficulty with reading and math

  • Poor handwriting

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. IM is the only training program that improves timing in the brain in an organized, systematic, flexible and engaging format.


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.”


What is Interactive Metronome?

Interactive Metronome (IM) is an assessment and treatment tool used to improve motor control and coordination, sensory processing concerns, cognitive processing, and attention and focus. Children with speech and language delays and/or other various physical difficulties can also benefit from IM. It has also been reported that IM training provides a boost to overall confidence. This therapy tool improves integration in the brain, resulting in greater neural timing, also known as, our internal clock.


How it works

During an IM Session, children view a game-like interface on a computer screen while listening to an adaptive beat via headphones. Children attempt to match the beat through tapping or clapping motions using sensors on the hands or at the feet. Children receive real-time feedback regarding the accuracy of their timing and motor coordination via changing tones and/or images on a monitor. By practicing these skills using the progressive and scalable program, children can calibrate the neural mechanisms that control mental timing and processing speed.

Interactive Metronome is a structured, goal-oriented program that can be beneficial on its own, or as a supplement to occupational therapy and/or speech therapy.


How Interactive Metronome Benefits Children With Language and Reading Impairment

IM is an evidenced based method of assessment and treatment. Numerous articles, case studies, and research has been published in support of IM and its positive impact on both children and adult populations.


-In 2012 a study titled, Reading Intervention Using Interactive Metronome in Children with Language and Reading Impairment: A Preliminary Investigation, concluded that with 4 hours of IM training, larger gains were made in most areas of reading skills.

-In 2011, a study title, Effects of Motor Sequence Training on Attentional Performance in ADHD Children, examined the effects of IM training on children with motor coordination challenges among the ADHD population. Results indicated significant effects on improving focus of children with ADHD.


-Similarly, a study titled Effect of interactive metronome training on children with ADHD was carried out to determine the effects of a specific intervention, the Interactive Metronome, on selected aspects of motor and cognitive skills in a group of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). After the study, a significant pattern of improvement across 53 of 58 variables favoring the Interactive Metronome treatment was found. Additionally, several significant differences were found among the treatment groups and between pretreatment and post-treatment factors on performance in areas of attention, motor control, language processing, reading, and parental reports of improvements in regulation of aggressive behavior.

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