Welcome to the world of midline crossing in child development! Midline crossing is important because it promotes coordination, cognitive skills, motor development, and body and spatial awareness. It allows the brain’s left and right hemispheres to work together, which leads to better coordination and control when doing activities that involve both sides of the body. By nurturing midline crossing skills, children gain a strong foundation for physical and cognitive growth, setting them up for success in various areas of life.
Midline crossing is established when a learner can easily and naturally cross over the midline while reading or writing. For example, they place their work roughly in the middle of the desk, and their hands and eyes effortlessly move from one side to the other. Learners who consistently place their work on one side of the desk and avoid crossing the midline may benefit from stimulation to develop midline crossing skills.
Before midline crossing can occur, learners first need to consolidate bilateral integration. Once bilateral integration is established, midline crossing skills can be nurtured.
Bilateral integration is the ability to use both arms, hands, feet, and legs together to complete an action. Bilateral integration is in place when a learner spontaneously uses both hands during tasks like writing. The non-dominant hand stabilises and positions the page, while the dominant hand holds and controls the pen with smooth and controlled movements. However, learners who write using only their dominant hand and keep their non-dominant hand inactive may need stimulation to develop bilateral integration skills.
To observe midline crossing and bilateral integration, we can look for specific actions and use associated vocabulary such as left, right, middle, across, side(s), cross over, cross in front, cross behind, top, bottom, and centre. Here are some actions and activities to observe:
1. Gross motor actions. Look for midline crossing in activities like throwing, catching with both hands, kicking a ball, or participating in any sport that involves coordinated movements.
2. Fine motor actions at the desk. Pay attention to midline crossing during fine motor activities like writing, drawing, cutting, or reading.
By understanding the progression from bilateral integration to midline crossing and using these observations and associated activities, we can effectively support learners in developing these important skills. Let's embrace the journey of fostering bilateral integration and midline crossing, paving the way for enhanced coordination and cognitive abilities in young learners.
How can we develop midline crossing and bilateral integration?
1. Movement activities with Six Bricks that engage the body e.g., Twister, Toss and Catch, Brick Streamers, and Cross Lateral Fun.
2. Activities with Six Bricks at the desk require learners to engage with manipulatives across the midline e.g. Tower Build, Spatial Positioning, and Cover It.
Click here for activity ideas with Six Bricks to encourage movement, bilateral integration, and midline crossing.