- Chris Sass
IM is Cool- An ADHD Story
Ricky is a 10-year-old boy with a diagnosis of ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, anxiety and fine motor delay. Ricky attends public school and is in the 4th grade where he had been struggling with paying attention in class, completing assignments, and focusing on tasks. Ricky’s mother was very fearful that in 4th grade he would get lost in the shuffle and fall behind in his schoolwork. Ricky would never choose to sit and read a book. Getting homework done took hours each night and included a fight from Ricky.
Mom decided that she wanted to come to our local Children’s Hospital to see if Interactive Metronome (IM) was available there and to enroll Ricky. She had reviewed some of the research and felt that this could help Ricky in a way that traditional therapy techniques didn’t address. Ricky was evaluated and although he loved and played sports, he came out below average on the motor performance testing. He was extremely anxious during the evaluation, but held it together until it was over. Mom gave other information to us about Ricky’s poor study habits, difficulty with getting assignments done at home and school, poor sleeping habits, lack of interest in anything except his skateboarding and poor social skills. He was also described as grumpy and disagreeable.
It was easy to get Ricky involved in the exercises as long as I related them to a sport or incorporated a larger motor activity along with the targeted switch activation. We did basketball exercises, sorted baseball cards, pretended we were snowboarding or surfing on different balance boards – all while activating a switch in some way so that he could learn to focus. It was very difficult for him to lower his scores initially, as he had no idea how to focus or concentrate. At the end of our sessions, this energetic little guy was mentally and physically exhausted, falling asleep in the car on the way home.
Functionally there were many changes at home and school. By our 3rd visit, mom reported that he was starting to sleep through the night. Something that he hadn’t done in 10 years! Although he did still wake up, he started to learn how to remain calm and go back to sleep. After our 10th visit she called and told me that his handwriting was much more legible – neat and orderly. The biggest change though was that his homework was getting done quickly, neatly and correctly! His 4th grade teacher gave him high marks and said that he was very pleasant and hard working!
“IM is so cool – and it really really helped me!” This was what Ricky said as he headed out the door after our second to last session. When retested, his scores were age appropriate and his timing and coordination were within the exceptional range as well.
By Wendy Harron, OTR/L
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