Frequently Asked Questions
Can my child do this program?
Most students, 8 years and older, can participate in the iM program in a group of up to 5 students of similar skill level. Offering small group options makes the program more affordable for parents and allows the students to learn from one another. Students 4 to 8 or students with poorer timing may need a slower, individualized format at first. An assessment will show what your child will need. Adults also can do IM.
Why haven't I heard of IM?
IM is most commonly used in hospitals or therapy situations but there are a few educators applying this brain changing technology to the mainstream population presently. IM Focused is one of them. READ more here.
What happens during the session?
IM is like the best of the school day for most students. It is similar to music, gym, and computer class all rolled into one. Students move (gym class) to a specific rhythm (music) and are given fun corrective feedback on a computer (computer class). We even include a short recess time with sensory breaks as needed.
How long is a session?
As an educational program, IM Focused is not limited by insurance companies or corporate policies. We look for the best options to meet the child's needs. Therefore, most sessions are 75 minutes in length rather than the traditional 60 minutes. Seventy five minutes allows enough time to offer intensive IM, with sensory breaks and sharing of experiences. Some younger students may begin with 45 minute sessions.
I heard IM was 15 sessions long, does that fix everything?
Research is based on 15 sessions, but the needs of students differ significantly. Most students can complete about 15 to 25 sessions easily. We recommend a break from training at that point. The break in training allows time for the integration of the new pathways and assessment of gains. Many students choose to complete just 20 sessions. Other students may choose more training after the break. These students often have more brain pathways that are immature or disconnected. Using the dieting analogy, the more weigh you have to lose, the longer it will take to lose it.
What is IM Intensive training?
Research in IM is based on 3 to 5 sessions per week, which is intensive brain training. Summer Brain Camp meets for 75 minute sessions, 5 days a week, for 3-5 weeks for the IM intensive program. I recommend intensive IM training over the summer (Brain Camp) when feasible. Sept through May training looks different. Students may choose 1 - 3 days per week stretching the program out for 6 to 18 weeks, instead of the 3 - 5 week summer format. Both formats result in similar gains in academics, behavior and focus but parents notice faster change with the intensive formats.
My child is starting at a different level than my friends, why?
Each child presents with certain strengths and needs. Students with few if any processing challenges may begin at level 4, ready to work the harder pathways supporting improved sports performance or focus. Students with an IEP, auditory processing challenges and focus issues may need to begin at level 1 or 2. This lower level helps to build a solid foundation on the most basic pathways in the brain that support the basic sensory processes.
How can I tell when my child is done?
Typically students will gain about a grade level, which is one to two levels in IM, within 15 to 25 sessions. We will recommend continuing IM, after a break, until the child reaches an automatized state of performance. This is when the processing of information moves from the conscious to the subconscious . Here's an analogy to help explain this concept. If you ask a golfer to tell you when they shift their weight during their golf swing, then they will consciously 'think about' shifting their weight as they swing. The golfer will often 'mess up' at that point, as the swing is moved from the subconscious to the conscious. Performance is consistently better at the subconscious level! Professional golfers, or individuals who have practiced enough to become unconsciously skilled at something, understand this process. This subconscious state of mental processing is OUR goal for YOUR child. Life continues to become easier and easier as timing improves. Each format of IM 'matures' the brain about a year. But, once timing becomes a subconscious process, huge gains are often observed and reported. Processing become effortless, rather than effortful. Students often no longer 'struggle to survive', but begin to thrive in their environments. Life becomes so much easier and enjoyable when timing is automatic, a foundational part of who you are.
What kinds of gains can I expect?
IM is known as the focus program. Come in, try it and you will immediately understand how IM impacts focus! But IM impacts much more. Students labeled as 'stubborn' often become more cognitively flexible. Students that are 'immature' often see great strides in maturation. Students who resist reading often begin to pick up books on their own, even enjoy reading. Students who are 'clumsy' often improve in their coordination. Students that are too 'emotional' often develop emotional regulation skills. Some random but common gains also include: sleep better, diet becomes more varied, language skills improve, better intonation, more even tempered, happier... IM seems to impact many different processes. Though gains are very predictable, students often vary in which gains are seen
How is IM different with an educator versus an therapist?
I have met and become good friends with many OT's over the last 15 years. Without fail, these OT's have had exceptional talent in helping students recover from sensory issues and specific deficits. I have learned very much from these wonderful people. As a guest speaker for OT students at Rockhurst University, USD 501 OT's, an Easter Seals program and individual OT's, I have had the opportunity to share my experience as well. My relationship with OT's has been core to my program. I sometimes will refer a student to an OT if their needs are great. But, also without fail, my OT friends that take insurance report they can not do IM as intensely as I do. Insurance will not cover it, and they want to use some of their other wonderful modalities for the child too.
At first I was surprised when I began to see a lot of my OT friend's children but I am use to it now. I see a lot of my OT friends own kiddos. They wanted IM provided by someone who was familiar with the more advanced stages of IM, past level 3. Most students receiving IM through OT begin in level 1 or 2 and move up to level 3 in my levels (which are different from the national IM levels). At level 3, the child is functioning well enough to not qualify for treatment anymore, but may not be functioning at their optimum level yet either. I know these kiddos not only can, but do automatize their timing, if given the opportunity. When timing is automatized (not before level 5), life becomes significantly easier. Yes, life is easier when you move from level 2 to level 3. There are fewer meltdowns, more vocalization, better coordination, but there remains some focus challenge, impulsivity, maybe organization issues, etc. These higher level processes need more work. These remaining challenging areas can be addressed after the 3 - 12 month break with more IM. My goal for your child is to help your child thrive in this world, not simply survive 'more easily'.
What are IM Focused levels?
Over the years, I have documented how various behaviors change with IM training. This is a massive collection of data that I hope to someday put into book form. Students follow specific stages of development within the IM program. I have put these stages into color based spreadsheets and use it for evaluations. The colors also connect with the IM scores. There are 10 levels. Most of the students I see begin between level 2 to 4 and finish IM training between levels 5 and 7. A few top students decide to see how far they can push their brains and complete the last optional levels. They are already thriving in this world but are looking for the competitive edge for college or sports. This compiled information is presently only available to my IM families.