The Brain Clock: It is possible to fine-tune the human brain clock
In this fourth installment of my introduction as an IM-Home blogger, I share one more piece of the puzzle that convinced me that brain clock-based interventions hold considerable promise.
In my first post I reported how my scientific skepticism initially kept me arms-length from an IM school-based study, the positive results which stimulated my subsequent search for scientific and theoretical research to explain the IM effect. This search resulted in the Brain Clock blog and the conclusion that synchronized metronome tapping and other rhythm-based interventions must be improving a central “jack-of-all-trades” cognitive mechanism (the topic of my second post). The recent IM-Home “Sound of Music” post, which was abstracted from a post at the Brain Clock blog, featured the link between rhythm-based music therapies and recovery from brain injury, in the case for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Research evidence that continued to “close the door” on my initial IM skepticism, and which now has me blogging at the Brain Clock and the IM-Home blogs and, more recently, has me near completion of the 15th session of my first personalized IM-Home...
“I am now convinced that the IM-effect is impacting a fundamental and critical cognitive mechanism (or set of mechanisms) involved in a wide array of human cognitive and motor performance domains.”
Cognitive and intelligence researchers have long sought for (and argued about) the “holy grail”of intelligence—an underlying core essence or mechanism that plays a role in most all intellectual and human performance situations. It is typically referred to as g, or general intelligence. The general consensus touches on the concept of neural efficiency. Such a general mechanism or process is considered a domain-general cognitive mechanism as it works across multiple domains of human ability, or in other words...if you improve this one area of ability, it in turn improves several areas of ability in the same person like cognitive skills (focus, attention, memory), speech/language abilities (articulation, auditory processing, reading), and motor skills (coordination, gait, balance). It works across multiple domains of human ability. Some have referred to such general mechanisms...
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.
There are so many children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD these days. Some kids are struggling to pay attention in class or are labeled as the class clowns or troublemakers at school or other organized events. Whether it be a hyperactivity or an inattention to task, could there be a common thread that was missing when we evaluated these children? We utilized standardized tools such as the Bruininks, VMI ,WOLD and Jebsen. They all tended to score below their same aged peers on these tests, handwriting was poor and sometimes it just didn’t seem like they heard what you were telling them.
Why I choose to use the Interactive Metronome (IM)
Hi there! My name is Wendy Harron and I am an Occupational Therapist. I have worked at A.I. duPont Hospital in Wilmington, DE for the past 20 years helping kids suffering from Developmental Delay, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Learning Disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and various other genetic and developmental disabilities.
When heard about the Interactive Metronome words like "Technology", "Computers", "Cowbells", "Clapping" and "Tapping" flooded my ears. How could any of these help a child who has special needs? It seems that there are tons of techniques and modalities out there to help our children. How do you know which one to choose? Therapeutic Listening Programs, Astronaut Training Protocols, Captain’s Log, Brain Gym…. the list goes on and on. Each one different and requiring investigation to see which one will work for your family and your child. I had been reviewing research about a program called Interactive Metronome, seeing its positive impact on not only children with special needs, but adults with special needs, children in school, musicians, football players and even golfers! This was something that I needed to check out!