You may have heard of interactive metronome (IM) training but not known what it is. IM is a drug-free therapy that some claim can help kids who have learning and attention issues. The concept behind it is that people can “retrain their brain” to focus and work more efficiently. Here are some common questions parents may have about this alternative treatment.
What is interactive metronome training?
A metronome is a device that makes a ticking sound to help musicians keep a beat. Interactive metronome training is a computer-based therapy that trains people to match various beats.
Does IM training help kids with learning and attention issues?
IM therapists say concentrating and keeping a beat eventually stimulate the growth of important connections in the brain.
Those connections would then help the brain work more efficiently and become more organized. And that, in turn, would help kids improve key skills. Those skills might include focus, making sense of information, reading, movement and controlling impulsive or aggressive behavior.
“IM therapists believe it helps build important connections in the brain.”
What will IM training be like for my child?
In IM training, kids listen to a beat while wearing headphones. They’re asked to clap their hands or tap their feet to the beat. The computer then tells them how well they’re doing. The goal is for kids to get better at matching various beats over repeated sessions.
How long does IM training take and who provides it?
Therapy usually involves 15 to 20 sessions that are spread out over three to five weeks. Each session lasts for an hour. IM therapists say the effects are permanent. So once the brain is trained there’s no need to come back for more training. Various types of professionals provide IM training. They include educators and occupational, speech-language and physical therapists.
What kind of children might be helped by interactive metronome training?
The company that markets IM training and products says IM helps with many conditions. These include:
Is there evidence that interactive metronome training works?
There’s no evidence that IM training helps kids with their learning and attention issues. Some studies suggest certain benefits, but they are conflicting. The National Resource Center on ADHD says more studies are needed to determine whether IM training is effective as a treatment for ADHD.
There have never been more treatment options for kids with learning and attention issues. This includes many drug-free or “alternative” therapies. Before you start any treatment it’s important to ask questions about how effective and safe it is.