When I was tutoring a child with dyslexia, I was looking for resources online and discovered Interactive Metronome (IM). I was intrigued based on my gut instinct that timing or processing speed is related in so many ways to communication success. I wanted to learn more, so I took a free introductory course online to earn ASHA-approved CEUs. Over the course of the next few days I took all seven of the free online courses. I was hooked. In July, I will take the IM certification course to become a certified provider of IM for assessment and treatment.
In the meantime, I am reading up on the research behind IM. In particular, an article that appeared in a 2013 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience (The Ability to Move to a Beat is Linked to the Consistency of Neural Responses to Sound) is of particular interest to me as an SLP. The authors present data on a tapping test administered to 124 individuals between the ages of 14 and 17 with 6,000 trials selected for analysis. The results reveal that individuals with less tapping variability (jitter) have more consistent speech-evoked brainstem responses.
The ability to tap consistently to a beat, then, relates to the auditory brainstem response to sound, which is in turn linked to reading ability and phonological awareness. Variability, or timing jitter, hinders “the development of stable mental representation of speech sound categories necessary for phonological awareness. Thus, an explanation for the relationship between the ability to tap to a beat and reading ability . . . is that both skills rely on the shared neural resource of consistent auditory brainstem timing.”
I look forward to attending the certification course in two months. Are you a certified IM provider? What do you think? Is it helping your students? I’ll be sure to blog about what I learn.
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