What is the Metronome?
The Interactive Metronome (IM)-
A drug-free approach to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) problems, ADD, ADHD, PDD, and learning disabilities.
All of these disorders while different are similar in one regard. They all involve improper processing in the brain. So in simple terms the better the brain functions the better the person functions.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis-
There are a variety of symptoms and behaviors that make up the autism diagnosis. Frequently, speech or communication is impaired. Social skills are absent or abnormal. Learning problems may be present. Often, the child has fine motor coordination or balance problems. Sleep is difficult. Specific food can be addictive. There can be chemical sensitivities. Sound and light sensitivities are common. ASD is a spectrum. The spectrum includes the profoundly handicapped, the highly functional, and everything in between. If you have met one child with autism you may never meet another quite the same.
Interactive Metronome-Drug free treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
There are many tools used to improve the functions of a child with autism. A well researched drug fee tool is the Interactive Metronome. The Interactive Metronome (IM) is an evaluation and treatment tool for brain processing.
Example-The left half of the brain controls the right arm and leg.
Example-Vision is controlled in the back of the brain.
Example-Auditory (sound) processing is handled on the posterior (back) right side.
If areas of the brain are not coordinated together or processing is slow each task is handled separately. So it would be The brain has 2 halves and many regions. Each region in the brain is responsible for different funcvery difficult for someone to move, look, and listen all at the same time.
By measuring, sequencing, and timing, the IM is able to identify weak and strong halves of the brain. It is also able to identify the degree that each half is coordinating with the other.
Over the course of the treatment, patients learn to:
· Focus and attend for longer periods of time
· Increase physical endurance and stamina
· Filter out internal and external distractions
· Improve fine and gross motor function
· Improve their ability to monitor mental and physical actions as they are occurring
· Progressively improve performance.
Social Skills and Brain Function
In children with ASD, it is difficult for them to multi-task the brain. When processing speed is slow, doing many social things are very difficult. Social situations require someone to read body language, listen, speak, and think about abstract subjects. This involves nearly all areas of the conscience brain. Any impairment to processing speed or coordination of areas of the brain would impair social skills.
If there is a weakness in just one or two areas of the brain then it would be difficult to respond "normally". Clearly we all have different personalities and respond to things differently. If your brain is not processing correctly though, you may give an odd, strange, or nonsensical response.
Speech and Brain Function
Speech requires multiple brain processes. Your brain has to convert symbols into multiple sounds and tell your throat to make physical movements. Your brain has to coordinate your breath, jaw, and tongue just to create sound. All of this has to happen in fractions of a second. If you're processing, or coordination of the brain is impaired, speech may be difficult or impossible. In stroke victims speech is lost, even if the throat and face is not impaired, due to the loss of brain coordination.
By improving sequencing, timing, and coordination of the brain, the IM has shown to improve speech.
"Anna" had been diagnosed with PDD/autism, auditory processing disorder, and sensory motor dysfunction. She had receptive and expressive language deficits, auditory hypersensitivity, abnormal vocal prosody, motor planning deficits, poor limb coordination, impulsivity, distractibility, tactile defensiveness, and anxiety. She was home schooled and has been receiving both speech and occupational therapy since she was 5 years old. At age 12, LorRainne Jones, Ph.D., CCC-SLP from Kid-Pro Therapy Services in Tampa, Florida decided to try Interactive Metronome (IM) therapy with Anna. Three times a week Anna came to Kid Pro-Therapy Services to do IM. During the treatment, Anna stood in front of a computer while wearing headphones, a hand sensor and a foot sensor. She heard auditory guide sounds through her headphones and was prompted to match the metronome beat with various hand and foot movements. The sensors measured to the millisecond how close Anna was to the beat. Each session, IM because a little more challenging, improving Anna's mental capacities and endurance. The program was engaging and encouraging Anna to perform better each time. After just 9 weeks, Anna completed 25 sessions of IM. Dr. Jones administered subtests of the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language, including Antonyms, Grammatical Morphemes, Sentence Comprehension, Non-literal Language, Idiomatic Language, Pragmatic Judgment and Inference, and noted Anna made gains on every test.
Following IM treatment, reports were made of increased attending, improved concentration, "more talkative, more engaged" (parent report), improved conversational skills, improved balance and coordination, decreased tactile defensiveness, improved processing, and improved sleeping patterns. Her voice was no longer monotone and she improved her prosody of speech resulting in a more natural sounding voice. "IM is an important therapeutic tool for use with children and adults with motor planning challenges. For many of my patients, IM is where we begin treatment…as part of a comprehensive intervention plan," says Dr. Jones.
Mizuki, a 10-year-old boy, was diagnosed with autism at age 3. He showed strong signs of being overly sensitive to touch and sound. He would panic at the sound of the vacuum cleaner or blender. Rather than speaking, Mizuki would only make noises. Over the next few years, Mizuki participated in a variety of therapies to improve auditory language and sensory processing issues. When Mizuki began attending school he had a hard time reading out loud and he could not write properly. His spoken language consisted almost exclusively of echolalia (parroting) and he could not give and answer when questioned. Mizuki could not tell right from left and could not even do the simplest of addition problems. At age 8, when Mizuki was brought Improve in Yokohama, Japan, he began to use Interactive Metronome (IM). IM provides a structured, goal-oriented process that challenges the patient to synchronize whole-body exercised to a precise computer generated reference beat. The patient attempts to match the rhythmic beat with repetitive motor actions. An auditory-visual guidance system provides immediate feedback measured in milliseconds, and a score is provided. Mizuki's initial IM score was 157 milliseconds indicating a timing deficiency. He loved the IM and willingly cooperated with the IM providers directives. IM was instrumental in helping Mizuki communicate more normally and hold eye contact. After his second session, his fine motor skills showed improvement. His handwriting is becoming legible and he is doing math at grade level. His balance has improved and he runs more smoothly than before. He can even ride his bicycle in standing position now. After 15 IM sessions, Mizuki's post IM score was an amazing 26 milliseconds! His mother purchased an IM-home unit, which allowed him to do Interactive Metronome in the comfort of their own home. Over the course of two years, Mizuki completed over 55 IM-training sessions. Mizuki's development has brought him from being classified as autistic to "a slow developer" or having a "learning disability". Mizuki is a much more relaxed boy. It is as if he were a totally different person than he used to be. His mother intends to continue to use the IM-Home with him every 6 months.
Thomas Burkard B.Ed.