Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Interactive Metronome Therapy-Music to my ears!

So, I wanted to share the new therapy we are doing with Aidan called interactive metronome therapy.  It has been around for a while and has had great success in children with autism and adhd, but I was unaware of it until the fall of last year.  Better late than never, I say!

As you recall from previous posts, Aidan has a difficult time with coordination.  He had been diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder prior to his autism diagnosis.  His fine motor skills are less than ideal, making things like handwriting a horrible experience for him. Additionally, skills such as riding a bike, a scooter or a big wheel never came naturally.  He just could not do it. He didn't have the coordination or balance. Today, he still cannot ride a bike well, but has improved with his scooter.

Determined to get Aidan "balanced" so to speak, we started searching for therapies that would include some type of balance/coordination treatment.  Scott called me from work one day asking me to take a look at "Interactive Metronome Therapy", and I quickly obliged.  Here is a link: https://www.interactivemetronome.com/.

So what the heck is metronome therapy?  Well, it is a type of therapy that helps children and adults with neurological issues and poor motor function.  Here is a snippet from their website:

"IM is an assessment and treatment tool used by therapists and other professionals who work with pediatric and adult patients with neurological conditions that affect cognitive and motor functioning. IM provides an objective method for measuring deficits and for tracking improvement.

IM is an evidence-based, engaging therapeutic modality that improves cognitive and motor skills. The design of the program ensures that patients recognize progress as it is occurring, increasing their motivation toward therapy and their ultimate recovery. IM is used to improve: attention, coordination, language processing, reading and math fluency, control of impulsivity/aggression"

I quickly found a practitioner in our area, Dr. Vicki Parker, in Ballantyne who owns "The Brain Trainer" http://www.thebraintrainer.com/.  I called and scheduled an assessment.  Aidan's results were what we expected. The metronome test results were poor.  Below are his results:

After waiting 6 months, we were finally able to start therapy.  Wait lists are LONG for therapists.  They are bogged down with more patients than they can handle, so if you are looking for a second career or are just starting out on a path to college, get into occupational therapy or speech therapy.  You will be lucratively employed.

Aidan attends therapy twice a week for one hour.  He does 30 minutes of metronome therapy, followed by 30 minutes of therapy to increase his processing speed and auditory processing skills.  So far he has gone 3 times, and we have seen small improvements at his baseball practices and games.  His moves appear more fluid and he isn't stopping to think about his next step.  He is simply just reacting like the other kids and is doing so appropriately.  He caught several baseballs that were thrown to him from the other end of the field and got a few kids out.  He had NEVER done that before.  He also hit the ball the first time, every time when he was up to bat last Saturday at his game; a new accomplishment.

So are we satisfied?  We really are.  I can't say this will work for every child, because as we know, each child is different depending on where they fall on the spectrum and how severe their impairments are, but for us, we are more than happy.  This therapy seems to really target the coordination part of the brain that Aidan seems to have been lacking his entire life. He will continue with his therapy for the next 8 months (or longer if needed), so I will continue to track his progress.

Much love....