Jerry started a new therapy a few weeks back called interactive metronome. He was evaluated for continuing his occupational therapy a several months ago and they believed he would benefit greatly from IM before continuing his traditional OT program.
IM is an assessment and training tool that helps strengthen the brain's ability to synchronize thought and movement to a steady metronome beat. It improves timing in the brain and helps with attention, motor coordination and balance, language processing, reading and math fluency, and being able to control impulsivity and aggression. Basically, there is a real science behind the phrase that "timing is everything."
Jerry is in his third week now. It is a ten to twelve week program, twice a week for an hour each time. He puts headphones on and listens to a series of beats, similar to a metronome. The beats are regulated by how fast or slow they go. Jerry is fitted on his hand with a button that he claps with each beat. He either claps his hand on his other hand, on his leg, or he taps one or both of his feet on a floor pad or alternates between his feet and hands to keep the beat. And I have to say, it can get pretty tricky!
I watched the initial evaluation for him and I can see where it would be difficult at first for a neurotypical person to match the beat while remembering which hands and/or feet to use. Needless to say, Jerry was not thrilled after our first visit!
He loves Mrs. Heather though and she is very patient with him. She lets him earn breaks to be pushed on one of the sensory swings or have snack time. He still says he doesn't like going and keeps asking "how many more," but I believe it will get easier as his timing gets better. And I am super excited to see how this will help him in all areas of his development.
Right now, the goal is to get him to slow down. He is consistently ahead of the beats. For the time being, they increased the frequency of the beats to try and keep time with Jerry and then they will gradually begin to slow them down in hopes that he too will slow down. Again, this should help him at home and at school where he often tends to rush through tasks and activities.
The hardest part is that the therapy is an hour after school two days a week and so there is no time to go home and let him unwind from his day before we go. Thankfully, there is a park across the street from All Children's and we stop there to swing for 20-30 minutes before we head over and that seems to be helping.
I'll update everyone on his progress and where he started and finished on the charts at the end. If you want to visualize what IM is, click on THIS link to see a video.
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