We all witness patients with neurological conditions facing the difficulty and frustration of completing simple, everyday tasks such as walking, talking, picking up objects or following instructions – limitations that can alter independence and quality of life. Fortunately, new technology allows us to go beyond traditional strategies in neurological treatment.
Interactive Metronome (IM), for adolescent and adult patients, is utilized as part of a comprehensive physical, speech and cognitive therapy program. IM improves the brain’s timing and processing skills through the use of physical exercises performed in response to a computer-generated beat.
Interactive Metronome is a computer-assistive assessment and training program. Specially certified therapists are trained to use this treatment tool to improve the brain’s natural timing, more specifically, the millisecond timing needed for those everyday tasks.
When using the IM, a patient attempts to match the rhythmic beat with repetitive motor movements. The interactive features engage the patient with auditory and visual guidance and provide real-time feedback. The technology provides an assessment of the patient’s information processing, timing and motor planning skills, and an individualized computer-assisted training program is developed. Therapists can then target the patient’s sessions on working memory, attention, visual and auditory processing, language skills and cognition, as well as sequencing, motor coordination, balance, gait or fine motor skills to enhance overall quality of life.
The IM therapy can be assigned to patients following a stroke concussion traumatic brain injury or who have multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. It is important to note that this therapy is also known as a “second-chance” program for those who are years past their illness or injury.
Kelly A. Raub, MA, CCC-SLP/L, CBIS, IMC, is a speech language pathologist in Outpatient Neurorehabilitation at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network. Her areas of interest and specialty include TBI, post-concussive syndrome and head and neck cancer.