• Individuals with language-learning disabilities show slowed or delayed timing in the brain (in particular in the brainstem), so that they are not processing the timed or temporal elements of speech quickly enough to decipher sounds accurately and comprehend what is being said (also called temporal processing). Auditory Processing Disorder is at the heart of language-learning disabilities and is the leading cause of problems with learning to read and write. But there is hope!! Research shows that auditory processing (or the brain’s ability to understand speech & language) can be improved (Kraus & Banai, 2007). Interactive Metronome® training targets the underlying problem with timing in the brain. Once mental timing is improved, the brain can process information in the speech stream more timely and accurately, leading to development of phonological skills that are so vital for auditory comprehension, reading and writing.
Kraus, N. and Banai, K. (2007). Auditory-processing malleability. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(2), 105-110.
  • In this study, McAuley & Miller (2007) show that we adapt to what is happening in the environment around us by either speeding up or slowing down so that we are in sync with everyone else or the particular activity we are engaged in. Have you seen how some individuals do not seem to be able to do this effectively?? They are revved up and hyper when they should be calm and focused. Or they are stooped over and appear as if they may drift off to sleep while everyone around them is actively engaged in activity. These individuals are clearly “out of sync.” The authors of this study discuss the importance of “temporal processing” or the brain’s ability to keep time to keeping in sync with people and events in our environment. Interactive Metronome® (IM) training teaches an individual to keep time in pace with his/her physical surroundings in an engaging organized sequence of exercises. Timing in the brain is a foundational skill that once learned, leads to improvement in many other areas that depend upon the perception of time or “temporal processing.”
McAuley, J.D. & Miller, N.S. (2007). Picking up the pace: Effects of global temporal context on sensitivity to tempo of auditory sequences. Perception & Psychophysics, 69(5), 709-718.
  • Phillips-Silver & Trainor (2007) found that synchronized movement to rhythmic sound enhances the brain’s ability to perceive timed and rhythmic characteristics of sound. Moving the body to a beat rather than just listening alone or listening while watching a visual display provides a stronger stimulus for the brain’s internal timing mechanism so that the brain can better perceive the temporal (or timed) information when listening (i.e., when listening to someone speak or enjoying music).
Phillips-Silver, J. and Trainor, L.J. (2007). Hearing what the body feels: Auditory encoding of rhythmic movement. Cognition, 105, 533-546.
  • Infants, before than can speak, are exposed to rhythmic sounds in the form of music and song. This research by Bergeson and Trehub (2006) shows that their little tiny ears and developing brains are already tuned just like an adult’s to hear the slightest changes in tempo, tone, and rhythm. They discuss the importance of the brain’s “internal clock” as it relates to how infants respond and move their bodies to music and other rhythms. IM providers who specialize in infant care and early intervention are reporting very good results when using the Interactive Metronome® in the treatment of infants and young children who have developmental delays or disorders with improvements in the areas of: sensory processing, pre-speech/cognitive development, and motor skills. Case studies can be found at www.interactivemetronome.com .
Bergeson, T.R. and Trehub, S.E. (2006). Infants’ perception of rhythmic patterns. Music Perception, 23(4), 345-360.
  • According to Tallal & Gaab (2006), children that are language and learning impaired often struggle with
    understanding both spoken and written language (i.e., following verbal directions, understanding the teacher, reading, taking written tests) and have difficulty with coordination and motor skills. Research shows that a problem with timing in the brain (referred to in this article as an auditory spectrotemporal processing deficit) may be at the heart of language and learning disorders by interfering with phonological awareness (or understanding of the sound structure of spoken words). Phonological awareness is an important and reliable predictor of later ability to read and is the focus of much research. When timing in the brain is disrupted, children have difficulty keeping up with the pace of information in order to track and process brief, rapidly changing acoustic information in the speech stream and for coordinating the timing of muscles for coordinated movement. This basic problem with timing negatively affects children socially and academically, but can be improved with Interactive Metronome® training to specifically target and optimize timing in the brain. Given the importance of timing to language development and learning, it is no wonder that so many children are demonstrating remarkable improvements in speech, auditory processing (comprehension), reading, writing, and handwriting by addressing critical timing skills with the Interactive Metronome®.
Tallal, P. and Gaab, N. (2006). Dynamic auditory processing, musical experience, and language development. Trends in Neurosciences, 29(7), 382-390.
  • Have you ever heard the saying “timing is everything?” Our brain keeps time – in microseconds, milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours. This time-keeping function is critical for all of our human abilities and thinking skills. According to research, persons with musical training tend to consistently demonstrate better timing and rhythm than those who are not musically oriented. Children who play an instrument or are otherwise musically trained tend to also perform better in school, are focused, and complete projects on time. Here, Eck & Scott (2005) discuss the critical timing skills involved in the perception and creation of music. It is not surprising that musicians have better timing skills, and thus are more equipped to handle academic hurdles. Do you see the connection? If a child is struggling with school work, to focus or stay on task, has behavioral outbursts, is impulsive, or has trouble staying organized or managing time … the brain’s clock may be out of sync and areas of the brain may not be communicating efficiently or effectively, therefore the child may also be out of sync with other people and events in his/her environment. Interactive Metronome® is the only treatment program that provides training and feedback in order to improve timing skills that are so critical to academic and social success.
Eck, D. and Scott, S.K. (2005). New research in rhythm perception and production. Music Perception, 22(3), 365-369.
  • Music research is full of examples illustrating the critical role timing in the brain plays to music and speech
    perception. Music and speech contain multitudes of information that are precisely timed. According to Zanto et al (2005) and other researchers these timed elements must be parsed and yet also integrated together as a whole for a person to appreciate music or understand speech. It is AMAZING how complex the brain is and what is capable of. We now know that timing in the brain also determines how well a person will be able to focus or pay attention, to remember and learn, to read and write. It is just in the past 15 years that technology was finally developed to both “evaluate” a person’s timing skills and “improve” them. This patented technology, the Interactive Metronome®, has helped many children and adults overcome barriers to achievement in school, work, or in the social arena.
Zanto, T.P., Large, E.W., Fuchs, A., and Scott, J.A. (2005). Gamma-band responses to perturbed auditory sequences: Evidence for synchronization of perceptual processes. Music Perception, 22(3), 531-547.
  • Timing and rhythm are present in nature everywhere. In normal development, our brains are tuned to be in sync with nature’s clock so that we can accurately perceive information and events in our environment. Timing in the brain is critical for speech, language, cognition (thinking, focus), behavior, visual and motor skills (Mauk & Buonomano, 2004). When something goes awry with communication between areas of the brain involved in this internal clock then academic, social, and/or language-learning problems become evident. Imagine a brain with older “dial-up” Internet connections (poor, slower timing) versus newer, faster high-speed cable (faster, more efficient timing). Imagine doing therapy that involves only sitting and listening or viewing information and how much LESS effective this is than incorporating timing, rhythm, and movement to an auditory beat in order to engage the brain’s internal clock. There is a NEED to engage and stimulate the brain in a way that taps into the foundation of all skills. Let’s get moving! Therapists who incorporate synchronized movement to rhythmic sound into treatment sessions using the Interactive Metronome®, overwhelmingly report better treatment outcomes in a variety areas.
Mauk, M.D. and Buonomano, D.V. (2004). The neural basis of temporal processing. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 27, 307-340.
  • “Time is essential to speech.” This study by de Cheveigne (2003) makes clear that in order to understand speech, the brain depends upon its internal clock (or what is known as temporal processing) to decipher at a minimum: 1) whether the left or right ear heard it first or which direction the voice came from, 2) pitch and intonation or WHO is speaking, 3) each individual sound within each word, 4) how the sounds blend together to make each word, including whether each sound is a vowel, consonant, voiced, voiceless, and 5) whether there are pauses between sounds and words that add emphasis or meaning. When timing in the brain or temporal processing is off by just milliseconds, a person may have difficulty processing and understanding speech. Interactive Metronome® is a patented program that addresses the underlying problem in Auditory Processing Disorders, tuning the internal clock to the millisecond in order to more accurately perceive speech.
de Cheveigne, A. (2003). Time-domain auditory processing of speech. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 547-561.
  • Timing skills play a pivotal role in the development of speech production and perception, or the ability to
    speak and understand the speech and/or intent of others (Kello, 2003). Not only must a child rapidly decipher the timing characteristics of each individual sound, syllable, word, and phrase in the speech stream, but for successful communication to occur there must be precisely timed coordination between centers of the brain for language and cognitive processing or thinking skills and the muscles and structures of the mouth and throat (or voice box). On top of that, a child must process and understand other information associated with what is said, such as demeanor of the person (Is he happy? Angry? Sad? ) or humor (Was he serious? Or was he joking?) Many children on the Autism Spectrum either don’t understand what you said, or don’t understand the unspoken social aspects of speech. All of this depends upon timing in the brain!!! That’s a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time! However, in normal development the brain’s “internal clock” functions very precisely so that children learn to speak intelligibly and understand you when you speak to them, including your mood and intent. Interactive Metronome® (IM) training impacts the very critical timing centers of the brain necessary for effective communication & social skills.
Kello, C.T. (2003). Patterns of timing in the acquisition, perception, and production of speech. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 619-626.
  • To understand speech, we must take chunks of information that arrive at the ears at different times and link them together so that all of the distinct sounds, syllables, and silent pauses become words & phrases & emphasis that hold meaning. This is referred to as “temporal integration” because all of the information in the speech stream contains timed elements that the brain must continuously and accurately calculate in order to perceive them and attach meaning to them (i.e., did I hear “factual” or “actual” or did someone sneeze, “achoo!”). In an editorial published in the Journal of Phonetics, Nguyen & Hawkins (2003) summarize our current understanding of the connection between a problem with processing the timed elements of speech for speech perception (a problem with timing in the brain) and developmental language disorders like Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and Dyslexia. Researchers have found that children with these disorders tend to have trouble processing the short and rapidly changing sounds of speech that are occurring in milliseconds. The Interactive Metronome® program allows therapists to evaluate critical timing skills, and a millisecond score is produced. Prior to this patented technology, there was no way to objectively measure this ability. Following assessment, therapists can then tailor a training program to specifically target weaknesses in timing and rhythm. By improving the underlying problem with timing (temporal integration), parents, teachers, and therapists report far better results from targeted therapies that focus on phonics, reading, writing, language, and articulation/speech.
Nguyen, N. and Hawkins, S. (2003). Temporal integration in the perception of speech: Introduction. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 279-287.
  • Hirsh & Watson (1996) point out that after studying pitch, frequency, and other aspects of speech for so
    long, researchers are now much more interested in learning about the underpinnings of our ability to understand speech in the first place. They are now very interested in learning more about the brain’s internal clock and how the brain breaks down information in the speech signal into various timed elements to perceive and comprehend what is being said. They realize that the brain’s ability to keep and measure time is vital for effective speech, language & cognitive skills (like focus and attention, thinking speed). In the past 10-15 years, there has been an explosion of research examining not only how the brain keeps time, but what mechanisms and structures of the brain are involved. Interactive Metronome® is patented technology that both measures and improves timing in the brain, which experts now know is critical to academic, cognitive, behavioral, and motor performance.
Hirsh, I.J. & Watson, C.S. (1996). Auditory psychophysics and perception. Annual Review of Psychology, 47, 461-484.
  • In order to understand what someone is saying, we first receive speech at the eardrum in a simple waveform. This simple pressure wave is then transformed into complex multi-faceted temporal (or time-dependent) information that the brain must interpret in order to understand what is said, who said it, and whether the person who said it is happy, sad, angry, etc. This study by Shamma (2003) outlines the process by which our brain “reads” the timed elements of speech so that we can communicate effectively. If timing in the brain is off by even milliseconds, this process does not work properly and an Auditory Processing Disorder and/or Language-Learning Disorder results. Interactive Metronome® is becoming a standard of care in the treatment of these disorders by addressing & improving the underlying problem with timing in the brain. Visit www.interactivemetronome.com to read case examples and additional research.
Shamma, S. (2003). Physiological foundations of temporal integration in the perception of speech. Journal of Phonetics, 31, 495-501.