Interactive Metronome training for ADHD

Interactive Metronome therapy is one of the many ADHD treatments that has a history of mixed results. I had a friend whose children went through the program and she found that it helped her kids a lot. The treatment consist of a computer program that gives you cues that you must respond to in a set amount of time. The response time is assessed and the patient is given feedback in order to improve their response time.

I asked my son's Occupational Therapist (OT) about the treatment. She had been trained to do the therapy and I was exited to have my son go through the program. The OT said that she did not advise that my son do the therapy as she had found that the results were really rather mixed. She felt that the vision therapy would be much more useful in his case.

I was surprised by her response so I did a literature search on the treatment. I only found two studies in the literature about ADHD and Metronome therapy. One study performed on about 50 boys in 2001 found that the "Interactive Metronome training appears to facilitate a number of capacities, including attention, motor control, and selected academic skills, in boys with ADHD." Another study done on about 12 children with mixed attentional and motor coordination disorders found that the Interactive Metronome training may improved deficits in visuomotor control and speed, but appeared to have little effect on sustained attention. Both of these studies were small and the patients were not catergorized as primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive, combined type, or Primarily Inattentive.

This treatment sounds to me much like the EEG biofeedback programs but instead of keeping your brain waves in a certain 'attentive' place you must respond to auditory cues within a certain time limit. I think that, in my limited experince, any program that trains us to 'attend' will help us. I would love to see a good study on the effects of this therapy done on a large group of patients.

Am J Occup Ther. 2001 Mar-Apr;55(2):155-62.Effect of interactive metronome training on children with ADHD.
Shaffer RJ, Jacokes LE, Cassily JF, Greenspan SI, Tuchman RF, Stemmer PJ Jr.
College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, Ann Arbor, USA.

Int J Rehabil Res. 2009 Dec;32(4):331-6.
Interactive Metronome training in children with attention deficit and developmental coordination disorders.
Cosper SM, Lee GP, Peters SB, Bishop E.
Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 30912, USA.


  1. Have you found further study information on IM? My son was just diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and the learning center suggested IM therapy. It's pricey, but wonder if it'll help long term.

  2. Nicole, There has been no other study done and I have searched for a publication with more information and have not found any. My occupational therapist said that it requires a lot of motivation on the part of the participant and that she has had better results with interactive programs like Cogmed or EEG biofeedback. She reported that kids found those programs easier to stick with.



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