During Better Speech and Hearing Month, we wanted to share some great news about our clients with APD. We have had a lot of success stories from Providers, but this one about Louise really stood out. She was a bright young girl who was having difficulty reading and processing directions. However, between her "can do" attitude and a little IM training, she was able to improve across the board. As it turns out, she is also amazing at soccer! Read her story today.
Individuals with language-learning disabilities show slowed or delayed timing in the brain (in particular in the brainstem), so that they are not processing the timed or temporal elements of speech quickly enough to decipher sounds accurately and comprehend what is being said (also called temporal processing). Auditory Processing Disorder is at the heart of language-learning disabilities and is the leading cause of problems with learning to read and write. But there is hope!! Research shows that auditory processing (or the brain’s ability to understand speech & language) can be improved (Kraus & Banai, 2007). Interactive Metronome training targets the underlying problem with timing in the brain. Once mental timing is improved, the brain can process information in the speech stream more timely and accurately, leading to development of phonological skills that are so vital for auditory comprehension, reading and writing.
Kraus, N. and Banai, K. (2007). Auditory-processing malleability. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(2), 105-110.
Timing skills play a pivotal role in the development of speech production and perception, or the ability to speak and understand the speech and/or intent of others (Kello, 2003). Not only must a child rapidly decipher the timing characteristics of each individual sound, syllable, word, and phrase in the speech stream, but for successful communication to occur there must be precisely timed coordination between centers of the brain for language and cognitive processing or thinking skills and the muscles and structures of the mouth and throat (or voice box). On top of that, a child must process and understand other information associated with what is said, such as demeanor of the person (Is he happy? Angry? Sad? ) or humor (Was he serious? Or was he joking?) Many children on the Autism Spectrum either don’t understand what you said, or don’t understand the unspoken social aspects of speech. All of this depends upon timing in the brain!!! That’s a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time! However, in normal development the brain’s “internal clock” functions very precisely so that children learn to speak intelligibly and understand you when you speak to them, including your mood and intent. Interactive Metronome (IM) training impacts the very critical timing centers of the brain necessary for effective communication...
Infants, before than can speak, are exposed to rhythmic sounds in the form of music and song. This research by Bergeson and Trehub (2006) shows that their little tiny ears and developing brains are already tuned just like an adult’s to hear the slightest changes in tempo, tone, and rhythm. They discuss the importance of the brain’s “internal clock” as it relates to how infants respond and move their bodies to music and other rhythms. IM providers who specialize in infant care and early intervention are reporting very good results when using the Interactive Metronome in the treatment of infants and young children who have developmental delays or disorders with improvements in the areas of: sensory processing, pre-speech/cognitive development, and motor skills. Case studies can be found at www.interactivemetronome.com
Bergeson, T.R. and Trehub, S.E. (2006). Infants’ perception of rhythmic patterns. Music Perception, 23(4), 345-360.
Have you ever heard the saying “timing is everything?” Our brain keeps time – in microseconds, milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours. This time-keeping function is critical for all of our human abilities and thinking skills. According to research, persons with musical training tend to consistently demonstrate better timing and rhythm than those who are not musically oriented. Children who play an instrument or are otherwise musically trained tend to also perform better in school, are focused, and complete projects on time. Here, Eck & Scott (2005) discuss the critical timing skills involved in the perception and creation of music. It is not surprising that musicians have better timing skills, and thus are more equipped to handle academic hurdles. Do you see the connection? If a child is struggling with school work, to focus or stay on task, has behavioral outbursts, is impulsive, or has trouble staying organized or managing time … the brain’s clock may be out of sync and areas of the brain may not be communicating efficiently or effectively, therefore the child may also be out of sync with other people and events in his/her environment. Interactive Metronome is the only treatment program that provides training and feedback in order to improve timing skills that are so critical to academic and social success.
Eck, D. and Scott, S.K. (2005). New research in rhythm perception and...
“Time is essential to speech.” This study by de Cheveigne (2003) makes clear that in order to understand speech, the brain depends upon its internal clock (or what is known as temporal processing) to decipher at a minimum: 1) whether the left or right ear heard it first or which direction the voice came from, 2) pitch and intonation or WHO is speaking, 3) each individual sound within each word, 4) how the sounds blend together to make each word, including whether each sound is a vowel, consonant, voiced, voiceless, and 5) whether there are pauses between sounds and words that add emphasis or meaning. When timing in the brain or temporal processing is off by just milliseconds, a person may have difficulty processing and understanding speech. Interactive Metronome is a patented program that addresses the underlying problem in Auditory Processing Disorders, tuning the internal clock to the millisecond in order to more accurately perceive speech.
de Cheveigne, A. (2003). Time-domain auditory processing of speech. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 547-561.
Are you looking for a gift for your child who is participating in IM sessions? Parents at our clinic ask me all the time what would be a good gift for their child. Something to enhance their therapy yet is fun. Below I’ve listed some games which can be found at the Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon or Toys R Us, so they are easy to find.
Major league Lacrosse’s Most Valuable player from 2011, Paul Rabil, has a condition called auditory processing disorder or APD. Like many others with a learning disability, Paul doesn’t consider his condition a “disability”. He treats APD as a driver for determination and success.
Auditory processing disorder is little known and notorious for being misdiagnosed. The symptoms of ADHD include problems with paying attention, following directions, low academic performance, behavioral problems, and poor reading and vocabulary; which are often misdiagnosed for ADHD or Autism. Read Rosie’s full story on the NY Times.
Many IM providers that are SLPs or Audiologist use IM or IM-Home to help patients process sound more efficiently.
Mom came to me one afternoon, and in telling her story her eye’s teared up. She had phoned home from work one afternoon, and her daughter answered the phone! This was the first time that this had EVER happened! Mom was thrilled as she was able to ask her daughter questions and have them answered. She also noticed that her daughter was much more interested in going to school and church functions. She actually asked to invite a classmate over for a play date. Read the full story