By Amy Vega - October 3, 2014

Improving Concentration with IM Training

Question:

We have a young adult client with significant concentration issues. Would it be better to give her 4 blocks of medium length exercises, or is it most important to get at least one of them into the 30 minute range?

Answer:

At this age, your eventual goal should be for your client to sustain attention/concentration for at least 30 consecutive minutes, optimally 45-60 minutes. Here is what I have found to be the most effective way to work on sustained attention/concentration:

·       Have your client perform Both Hands for 5 min. What is her Task Average? If it is where you want it to be, progress to the next step.

·       Double the time to 10 minutes. The goal is for your client to match her 5 min Task Average score or do even better. Once this is achieved, progress to the next step.

·       Double the time to 20 minutes. The goal is for your client to match her 10 min Task Average score or do even better. Once this is achieved, progress to the next step.

·       Double the time to 40 minutes. The goal is for your client to match her 20 min Task Average or do even better.

Monitor performance closely during the session and note if your client experiences cognitive fatigue or lapses in attention. Allow for some lapses and watch for your client to redirect attention back to task…or not. If your client cannot get back to focus, stop the exercise and note the time. Then, adjust from the above schedule as indicated and progress your client more gradually. 

It is helpful to go back and require your client to get the same “best score” or better it by performing IM with the weaker processing modality once optimal performance is achieved in the stronger modality (i.e., if your client does IM wonderfully via auditory-only modality and achieves best score for sustained time of 45 min, then progress to auditory-visual mode for 45 min, then even to visual-only mode without sound for 45 min using Training Visual screen with center flash). 

Improvements made with IM appear to be modality-specific for some clients (i.e., auditory skills get better if auditory was challenged during IM, visual gets better if visual was challenged during IM).

 

 

Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP

Interactive Metronome, Inc

Clinical Education Director

Clinical Advisory Board Director

Clinical Education Administrator

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