By Amy Vega - September 2, 2014
I’ve been working with a client for several weeks who has autism, and he still requires total hand-over-hand assistance with IM training? His mother says he is more aware of his environment, or “more with it,” and is much more communicative since we started IM training (even though it has been ALL hand-over-hand). What can I do to facilitate his own performance with IM? At what point should I consider discharge if he can’t do the training on his own without my hands-on assist?
Regardless of diagnosis, IM training can have a significant impact on function when administered with total hands-on assistance, as long as the IM Provider’s own timing skills are in the exceptional range. The best measure of whether IM training is helping is to evaluate changes in function through your own professional observations and through observations of others like parents/caregivers, teachers, physicians, etc. You are likely to miss important changes in function if you are only focused on IM scores or whether your client can do IM “on his own.” If you are focusing on IM performance AND observing for functional changes, you will know whether Interactive Metronome is benefiting your client.
If you or someone else (i.e., a parent) are observing improved cognitive, communicative, sensory, and/or motor performance, even if you are providing total hands-on assistance, it is best to continue the training while observing for further functional change. Always look for opportunities for your client or student to take more of an independent role in IM training and wean from your assistance as you are able. Some individuals who require total assistance in the beginning weeks of IM training go on to complete IM training more independently over time as timing and rhythm improve (or increased neural timing and network synchronization takes place). Others will continue to require your assistance, and that is okay too as long as they derive benefit.
To learn more about the effectiveness of IM training with total hands-on assistance, you may be interested in the following on-demand courses offered by IM University (approved for CEUs):
Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP
Interactive Metronome, Inc
Clinical Education Director
Clinical Advisory Board Director
Clinical Education Administrator