Those of you who treat or parent children with ADHD and or learning challenges may have observed mild to moderate fine or gross motor delays in your clients or children. Of course, some children with diagnoses are exceptional athletes, which leads us to focus on dividing the phenotypic expression of ADHD and or LD into subtypes.
The subtype of interest to me is the group that have poor motor rhythm and timing. Why? Because in 25 years, I have observed diminished executive function, specifically in focus, distractibility, inhibition and self-regulation in this subtype. As a clinician often looking for the most impactful yet affordable, interventions for our families, the research has lead me to wonder, if we simply started the school day with motor timing exercises could we impact behavior and learning? Now that inTime has been produced, I am more convinced than ever that 9 minutes of daily rhythm based movement, in every classroom first thing in the morning and again after lunch, would shift education for learners. Research anyone? Let’s do it!
Here are a few interesting studies, I said I’d post after the Advanced Brain Technology audiocast with Sheila Allen last week.
Exercise is One Intervention That May Help Alert the Brain
Researchers examined the effect of a single bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on preadolescent children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using objective measures of attention, brain neurophysiology, and academic performance, CF Kamp et al (2014) found that:
Following a single 20-minute bout of exercise, both children with ADHD and healthy match control children exhibited greater response accuracy and stimulus-related processing, with the children with ADHD also exhibiting selective enhancements in regulatory processes, compared with after a similar duration of seated reading. In addition, greater performance in the areas of reading and arithmetic were observed following exercise in both groups.
These findings indicate that single bouts of moderately intense aerobic exercise may have positive implications for aspects of neurocognitive function and inhibitory control in children with ADHD.
Moving To A Beat Helps Language Development
Research on rhythm and language by Adam Tierney and Nina Kraus (2013) showed the ability to move to a beat is linked to the consistency of neural responses to sound. People who are better able to move to a beat show more consistent brain responses to speech than those with less rhythm, according to a study published in the September 18 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, The Journal of Neuroscience, September 18, 2013 33(38). The findings suggest that rhythmic and or musical training could possibly sharpen the brain’s response to language.
Musical Training May Help Cognitive Function
In a study by Hanna-Pladdy and MacKay (2011) it was observed that in a group of elderly subjects, 10 or more years of musical training lead to better working memory The results of this preliminary study revealed that participants with at least 10 years of musical experience (high activity musicians) had better performance in nonverbal memory (η2 = .106), naming (η2 = .103), and executive processes (η2 = .131) in advanced age relative to nonmusicians. Neuropsychology, Vol 25(3), May 2011, 378-386
As a clinician who has been using motor movement to build attention, focus, inhibition, math and reading skills in children for 25 years, learning with Alex Doman, Sheila Allen and Nacho Arimany, I am now incorporating rhythmic music such as in-Time in our work with children.
Can Rhythm Training Help Dyslexia?
Children with dyslexia often find it difficult to count the number of syllables in spoken words or to determine whether words rhyme. These subtle difficulties are seen across languages with different writing systems and they indicate that the dyslexic brain has trouble processing the way that sounds in spoken language are structured. Researchers have now shown, using a music task, that this is linked to a broader difficulty in perceiving rhythmic patterns, or metrical structure.
Want to learn more? Feel free to join me in St Louis for a LIVE 6 hr webcast of brain-based interventions April 30, 2014, some of the over 20 activities include the utility of rhythm and timing in brain building specifically as it relates to executive function. Call 1-800-844-8260 to register. See you there:).
in-Time is currently available through a trained provider network via ABT, email us for more information about using in-Time in your home or school thefamilycoach AT gmail.com.