Saturday, June 5, 2010

Calming Rhythms

fMRI-derived image of difference between brain...Image via Wikipedia
 The Blog OT and Self Regulation has some interesting thoughts on the use of rhythm and the Interactive Metronome.  This blog is written by an Occupational Therapist who specializes in developmentally challenged children.

I have begun to work with a product called "Calming Rhythms" from REI Institute. Calming Rhythms is a CD with three 20-minute pieces of music/alpha-rhythms that are played for a calming affect. Jeff Strong, the head of REI, has tested the product on children with autism and found it to be quite effective, but with a few occasional side-effects - acting out behaviors in some children.

As for non-customized solutions: The "Calming Rhythms" CD is a powerful recording that I found to work for some children and to be counter-productive for others.  

Apparently, you can get too calm and become passive:

Listening Program
I am still new to listening programs, but have seen progress with my kids and my colleague's clients, too. Therapeutic Listening (TL), as I mentioned in another post, has 4 classes of CDs: self regulation, time and space, praxis and connectivity (to the environment). I use the self-regulation CDs to help reduce the fight or flight response and the time and space CDs to help with correcting the auditory imbalance itself. After that, I move to the connectivity CDs to try and help re-integrate the child into his/her environment, with the hope that it'll help with social issues.

The self-regulation CDs appear to make a person more passive - which can be good or bad. I tried a week's worth myself and had a friend do so, too. We both became noticeably calmer, but more passive. I stopped standing up for myself. I certainly don't want that to happen with my clients. So, when I see that symptom, I move to a third stage - Interactive Metronome (IM). Perhaps not a full program, but certainly enough to break the passivity and induce a shot of confidence. With one client, I moved in and out of TL and IM in the hopes that he would find an easy place to settle. It appears to have worked and he is discharged. I'll check back in a few months to see if he is still doing well. For More, See...

Theresa also has some interesting annecdotal insight on the effect of ADHD meds such as Alderall and Ritalin on Brain Timing:

This question came up for me recently. Does ADHD meds suppress timing? In this case, the meds are Adderall. I see a 6 year old girl who had excellent scores on IM prior to starting Adderall. Afterward, her score fell into the severely deficit range. Interesting. The above study found that there was no difference in timing skills for those on Methylphenidate (i.e. ritalin). I'd love to see a study on Adderall. Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It has a known side effect of appetite suppression.

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