CROSSING THE MIDLINE
Updated: Dec 3, 2018
What is the Midline?
The midline is an imaginary line that runs down the center of the body dividing the left side from the right side. The midline represents the corpus callosum (a band of nerve fibers) which connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
As you probably know, the brain has a bilateral functionality meaning the right side of the brain controls the movement and sensory information of the left side of the body and vice versa (smell is the exception, it is lateral).
The brain must transfer and share information from one side to the other, and use the brain as a whole, in order to make sense of the information we take in.
'Crossing the midline' refers to the ability to move the hand, foot, or eye (vision) across the body into the opposite side's space.
Crossing the midline of the body is vital to build pathways in the brain and is an important prerequisite for reading, writing, tying shoes, and most athletic activities.
Reading and writing both require that a child start on the left side of a page and cross over the midline to finish on the right side. If a child can not smoothly cross their midline, their eyes and brain, will skip in the middle causing them to lose their place, or train of thought.
Kids that are unable to cross their midline function as though there is a wall, or barrier, between the two sides of their brain and body. This barrier is a contributing factor for kids who are disorganized, unable to complete tasks, or uncoordinated.
Almost all kids with Dyslexia and Mixed Dominance are unable to effectively cross their midline. Letter and word reversals are like a mirror midline ( d/b, was/saw).
So how do we fix it?
Well, the good news is that you can do many activities to improve a child’s ability to cross their midline and improve their reading, writing and daily struggles.
The #1 best exercise is called the Cross Crawl. The Cross Crawl is marching in place while touching the opposite hand to the opposite knee. It sounds too simple but it is very effective. Do this for 1 minute every morning and night, do it slow and purposeful so the brain can register the movement.
Some other great sports and activities include jumping jacks, tossing and catching a bean bag or ball, swinging a bat in baseball, tennis, golf, ping pong, or if they are littler simply drawing big 'lazy 8's' in the air in front of them with ribbon wands or bubble makers.
References used for this article include:
-Blomberg, Harold & Dempsey, Moira, Movements That Heal
-Dennison, Paul E., Brain Gym and Me
-Balgau, Frank, A Life in Balance