Interactive Metronome® (IM) provides a new educational technology aimed at facilitating a number of underlying neural timing related planning and sequencing central nervous system processing capacities that are foundational to our ability to attend and learn. This training is intended to complement our existing interventions. IM is a PC based interactive version of the traditional music metronome. The method uses a tapping motion of each limb as a fundamental motor skill catalyst. The motions that are used develop precise fundamental control over basic mental functions. It helps the person consistently concentrate without interruption.
IM can help people with the following issues: motor planning, sequencing, rhythm, timing, concentrating, thinking, and interacting with others. These are all areas that affect one’s learning or coordination. Students that have problems focusing, attending, and concentrating in school have improved significantly with Interactive Metronome®. People seeking improvement with their golf swing, baseball swing, or basketball throw have experienced results.
Interactive Metronome® provides a unique educational technology where the training is intended to complement existing interventions. The universe works on precisely timed cyclic or rhythmic patterns. Our natural timing or rhythmicity allows the human brain to:
“Plan and sequence thoughts and actions recognize that patterns exist in their environment as they occur connect their actions and thought patterns with their consequences as they occur perform complex problem solving activities such as copying shapes, writing words, language, social behavior, and other academics learn from one’s experiences and mistakes.”
The object of the IM training is to help individuals improve their ability to selectively plan and sequence, without interruption by internal thoughts or external distractions, over extended periods of time. Simple limb motion exercises are used as systematic outward rhythmicity catalysts to an underlying mental control improvement process. Interactive Metronome® Training improves one’s ability to:
“Recognize that rhythmic patterns or cycles exist in our surrounding focus our attention long enough to recognize individual patterns exist within groups of simultaneously occurring patterns in the surroundings create patterns (our actions and thoughts) that are in sync with other patterns (entrainment) adjust or stop our own patterns so they do not interfere with the patterns of others improve our ability to learn from experiences.”
The Interactive Metronome® methodology uses a tapping motion for each limb as its fundamental motor skill catalyst. However, the purpose of the program is not to learn to move your limbs in exact time with a steady beat. Instead, the purpose is to develop precise fundamental control over the most basic mental functions by using the program’s movements. These movements used are simple and facilitate the activity to consistently concentrate without interruption. The listener uses a limb (arm or leg) to tap in time with the Interactive Metronome’s reference beat that is heard through headphones. The trigger, attached to the limb, sends a signal to the computer. The computer then analyzes when the tap occurred in relation to the reference beat. The information is translated into a sound that changes according to a real-time spatial location within the headphones for the sensation of early, late, or on-time sound.
The IM program has been shown to produce significant results in children and adults with a wide range of physical and cognitive difficulties including ADHD. The March/April 2001 issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy identified five core areas of statistically significant improvements gained through the IM training program. These were: