Interactive Metronome (IM)
The Interactive Metronome® is an advanced brain-based assessment & treatment program developed to directly improve the processing abilities that affect attention, motor planning and sequencing. This is accomplished by using innovative neurosensory and neuromotor exercises developed to improve the brain's inherent ability to repair or remodel itself through a process called neuroplasticity. This then strengthens motor skills and many cognitive capacities such as planning, organizing and language. Motor planning and sequencing are central to human activity; from the coordinated movements needed to walk or climb stairs, to the order of words in a sentence to provide meaning. It can also be used to improve peak performance in a sport. The IM program provides a structured, goal-oriented process that challenges the client to synchronize a range of hand and foot exercises to a precise computer-generated reference tone heard through headphones. The client attempts to match the rhythmic beat with repetitive motor actions. A patented audio or audio and visual guidance system provides immediate feedback measured in milliseconds, and a score is provided indicating timing accuracy.
More than a decade of clinical research in IM demonstrates gains in motor planning and sequencing which leads to improvements in: Attention and concentration, Language processing, Behaviour (aggression and impulsivity), Motor control and coordination and Academic performance
- ADHD Study: This study was published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2001. A double-blinded, placebo controlled study of 9 to 12 year old boys diagnosed with ADHD found those who completed the IM programme showed significant improvement in coordination, control of aggression/impulsivity, reading and language processing.
- Motor Control Study: “Improving student motor Integration by use of an Interactive Metronome” by Stemmer, P.M. (1996). This study was presented at the 1996 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Association in Chicago, IL. A comparison of IM trained special education students to a control group found that the IM-trained group improved significantly in both motor control and motor coordination as measured via independent assessments (Bruininks Oseretsky and SIPT Motor Accuracy Test) compared to the control group. Parents of the IM-trained group also reported marked improvement in their children’s ability to attend to tasks, read, write and general behaviour.
- Timing in Child Development Study: These results were published by the High/Scope Foundation, a prestigious, non-profit educational research institution. A correlation study of 585 children in a public school district found significant correlations between IM score and academic performance in reading, mathematics, language, science, social studies, and study skills. This suggests that timing and rhythmicity play a foundational role in the cognitive processes underlying performance in these academic areas.
- Further Studies: Findings in a recent study by Neal Alpiner, MD, “Functional MRI Study of the Effects of IM on Auditory-Motor Processing Networks," suggest that IM works by augmenting internal processing speed within the neuroaxis. The key regions affected appear to include the cerebellum, prefrontal cortex, cingulate gyrus and basal ganglia.