Most of us don’t realize how important focus is to the development of gross motor skills. Jumping, running, walking, throwing a ball – they all require some amount of focusing skills, especially for those who have a medical condition which impacts the development of those skills.
One of my favorite groups of patients to work with using Interactive Metronome® are those affected by hemiplegia. These are my kiddos who either totally neglect one of their arms, or who only use their arm when absolutely necessary. They constantly hear “use both hands” or “use your helper hand” time and time again. There are other options for those affected with hemiplegia such as constraint-induced therapy, which can also be beneficial, but IM is a great way to get them to start using their affected upper extremity.
Some children with cerebral palsy have great difficulty with coordination and timing. They may have difficulty with their fine motor skills, catching a ball or walking smoothly. In watching these wonderful kids over the years, I have noticed 2 things, (1) that their timing can be off when they try to perform coordinated tasks. For example when they work on their ball skills they close their hands too early or too late to catch/bounce the ball and (2) that they sometimes lack self confidence in their physical skills making them less likely to practice them. Many of these kids have been in therapy for their entire life, and then when they reach 10, 11, 12 years old they grow tired and weary of the typical weekly sessions of practicing the skills themselves. While practice of skills is definitely necessary, I think we are learning to go a step further to address the underlying issues of timing and coordination with the Interactive Metronome program.
A 10-year-old girl named Amanda is another living trophy for us at Interactive Metronome. Amanda now stands without her walker or crutches for support and no longer falls, even when distractions are present. Before IM, she couldn’t do simple tasks, such as self-feeding, showering, getting into a vehicle, and buckling herself in a car independently and now she can! IM helped Amanda become a more functionally independent little girl. Read the full story here.
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