By Amy Vega - May 15, 2014

Using IM to Work on Attention: Auditory and Visual

QUESTION:

Which IM Home game template is best for working on attention and processing speed? Can you suggest ways that I might modify the IM Home game templates to address these skills? I am working with two teenage boys that will like the game aspect of IM training.

 

ANSWER:

The templates in IM Home for games are broken up into 3 categories:

EASY – diff begins at 300 and ends at 200

MODERATE – diff begins at 200 and ends at 100

ADVANCED – diff begins at 100 and ends at AUTO

The most important thing at the start is for your client to feel successful and not receive too much negative feedback (buzzers). So look at the initial LFA scores to determine which template to start with. The diff setting will determine the millisecond range where positive vs negative feedback is received.  The chart below is a guide to help you set difficulty:

 

Client’s Millisecond Average:            Difficulty Setting Adjusted To:

More than 300 ms                                 300 (highest)

200 ms                                                  300 (add 100)

150 ms                                                  250 (add 100)

100 ms                                                  150 (add 50)

50 ms                                                    100 (add 50)

Less than 25 ms                                    Auto (most challenging)

 

To address attention:

IM training in and of itself addresses attention. But it is important to note which modality is stronger and which is weaker in the person you are working with. If visual attention is stronger and auditory attention is weaker, you will want your client to train IN AUDITORY MODE (without visuals/games) to force auditory attention and processing to do the lion’s share of the work and improve. If you provide the visuals/games, it is so powerful that the auditory attention system tunes out.

Conversely, if auditory attention is stronger and visual attention is weaker, then you will want to train WITH AUDITORY & VISUALS/GAMES…you can follow this with training on just the visual alone (that is another discussion for later).

 

Factors to consider when modifying templates to address attention include:

1.       Shorter versus longer exercises – to address sustained attention, you should increase the duration of one task in a training session so that it is progressively longer (the length should be determined based upon age and what is developmentally appropriate – up to 30-45 min on one exercise).

2.       More versus less distraction – to address selective attention, you should choose what is at first least distracting and progress to most distracting. There are static background displays in IM that are the least distracting, games are moderately distracting, and adding background sounds to the games makes it the most distracting.  Additionally, training with IM-Home can proceed from minimal distractions in the training environment (quiet office or bedroom) to more challenging (open area where there is talking).

 

Factors to consider when modifying templates to address processing speed include:

1.       Slower versus faster tempo – you can manipulate processing speed and self-regulation (impulse-control) with the tempo you set.  Once best scores are achieved at default 54 tempo, you may increase the tempo (with guide sounds turned on) to facilitate faster processing speed.  You can also reduce tempo and ask your client to hold back and try not to hit ahead of the beat to address impulse control (i.e., tempo 30)

2.       Difficulty setting – manipulating the difficulty setting means you are manipulating the intensity of feedback to be processed and responded to – be sure to use this feature to your advantage.

 

NOTE: If motor planning and sequencing are impaired and your client is making linear movements rather than circular with hands, that issue will need to be addressed first. Efficiently, rhythmic movements are critical in establishing consistent timing; therefore, it is important that the motion flow naturally and circularly. You will not want to start IM training with guide sounds or visuals in that instance as the feedback messes them up and stalls progress.  Rather you want them to complete high reps at slightly slower tempo with modeling/physical cues as needed with rhythmical movement to improve fine motor coordination BEFORE advancing training to guide sounds etc.

 

 

Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP

Interactive Metronome, Inc

Clinical Education Director

Clinical Advisory Board Director

Clinical Education Administrator

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