By Amy Vega - June 20, 2014
How do you explain the benefit of IM to a parent of a child you think is a candidate? I find it hard to convince parents to give it a try (I’m an SLP).
Interactive Metronome® is an industry leading biometric technology that measures and improves the critical skills of human neural timing & synchronization. An analogy I like to use to help explain neural synchronization is that of an orchestra. Various neural networks for attention and cognitive processing of information must fire at precisely the right time (in microseconds to milliseconds), like a group of instruments in an orchestra playing a beautiful composition. Each musician knows precisely when to start and stop playing their instruments. In a well-trained orchestra, the musicians are in sync with each other. If this were not the case, the sounds coming from their instruments might be displeasing (as is seen in sensory processing disorder) or out of tune and confusing (as is seen with auditory processing, language, and reading disorders). Speech and language development and rehabilitation depend upon synchronized timing of neural networks.
The ability to tap consistently to a beat can be directly correlated to the consistency of the auditory brainstem response to a sound, a measure that has been linked to reading ability and phonological awareness, the explicit knowledge of the components of spoken language. There is considerable evidence that children with speech, language and reading disorders have co-occurring fine and gross motor impairments. These children tend to have much greater difficulty with timed or rhythmic auditory-motor activities, like clapping in sync with a steady beat, than children who are developing speech, language and reading skills normally. Tierney & Kraus (2013) discovered that there are shared neural pathways for auditory processing and motor planning & sequencing…and that individuals who are able to move more rhythmically and synchronously to a beat process speech sounds more accurately, and have less neural jitter. Those that have trouble synchronizing motor movements with an auditory beat and display less rhythm tend to exhibit greater distortions in the perception of speech, and have more neural jitter.
Additional research on this topic can be found at the NW University Auditory Neuroscience Lab website
There are 3 primary goals for Interactive Metronome® training. The first is to improve neural timing and decrease neural timing variability (or jitter) that impacts speech, language, cognitive, motor and academic performance. The second is to build more efficient and synchronized connections between neural networks. And the third is to increase the brain’s efficiency, performance and ability to benefit more from other rehabilitation or academic interventions.
Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP
Interactive Metronome, Inc
Clinical Education Director
Clinical Advisory Board Director
Clinical Education Administrator