Wake up in eight hours. Get dressed in twenty minutes.Wait ten minutes for the bus. Wait five minutes before asking the teacher questions. Listen before you write the test answer. Don’t leave your seat until time for lunch.On and on it goes through out the day.Timing is everything.Wait. Stop. Go. Slow down. Speed Up.
And people with ADHD, especially children, never seem to get it quite right.
The Brain Clock: How internal timing establishes the rhythm of our lives
So what’s going on?
Well, thirty years of research reveals that our bodies, brain functions, and abilities are regulated by an internal timing mechanism or “brain clock.”
In essence, there is a mental process happening all the time that breaks our lives into timed intervals.
Our abilities to sleep well, pay attention, process heard information, coordinate our movements, and even remember the conversation we just had or the book we just read, are all affected by mental timing.
Scientists and researchers refer to this timing in the brain as temporal processing.
Research by educational psychologist Dr. Kevin McGrew points out that, for years, scientists have investigated the possibility that there might be an underlying process supporting human capability. His work indicates that temporal processing is that “core mechanism” for human intelligence and performance.
If it functions well, cognitive ability, language, and motor skills may all be positively impacted by what McGrew deems to be the “holy grail” of human intelligence.
The brain clock is the overriding system that improves or impairs mental efficiency.
When we understand time well, we respond to the world around us appropriately.
The Brain Clock and ADHD: How impaired internal timing makes trouble
What if we don’t understand time well? What if our brain clocks are disrupted somehow?
That is the problem facing an ADHD child or adult.
Timing is something of a mystery in the mind of an ADHD person.
An ADHDer’s ability to slow down and match his or her thoughts and actions to a classroom or office is often extremely difficult.
He or she constantly underestimates how much time has passed or how long it will take to complete a task. Punctuality is nearly impossible and determining the “right time” for taking action, answering a teacher’s questions, or taking his or her turn, often leads to a perception of unruliness or disrespect by others.
Dr. McGrew’s research provides hope for improving “faulty” timing.
The Brain Clock: How improved internal timing provides correction & intervention
According to McGrew’s work with researcher Amy Vega, mental timing treatments have been shown to corroborate the idea that the brain clock exists and is a “domain-general mechanism.” This indicates that improvements to the brain clock can correct “a diverse set of clinical disorders.”
There is significant hope beyond medication.
It has been shown that positive effects result in both normal learners and those affected by clinical disorders like ADHD. A wealth of research has also revealed it is possible to tune the brain clock. This appears to be best accomplished through rhythm-based treatments, with the goal being to slow down or speed up internal timing.
External metronome-type tools are key to temporal processing in that they tap beats, rhythmic pacing, and rhythmic-cuing according to timed pulses.
By using programs like Interactive Metronome (IM), in addition to other therapy interventions, the central problem, deficient neural timing in the brain, will radically and positively increase the efficiency of treatment results.
Again, timing is everything and we can see that timing may just be the key to correcting everything.