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Crossing the Midline and Learning Differences

Learn the Connection Between Crossing the Midline and Learning Disorders

Midline exercises and activities like writing across a piece of paper, swinging a tennis racket or flipping a pancake in a skillet require the ability to use one dominant hand to cross over to your non-dominant side and complete a task. When a child has difficulty reaching over the middle of their body to complete tasks, such as writing across an entire page or swinging a baseball bat, this is known as an inability to "cross the midline." This can often manifest itself in reading difficulties, trouble writing or the need to switch hands when coloring or completing tasks on specific sides of the body.

Why Is Crossing the Midline a Struggle?

Picture your body with an imaginary line down the middle, and that your arms of legs stop movement at that central section; this will give you an idea of how children with learning differences struggle to complete fluid motions that we may take for granted. Crossing the midline and learning differences may cause students to take much longer writing paragraphs, mastering the use of a pencil or playing games with other children.

Midline Exercises for ADHD

In order to strengthen the connection between both sides of the body, children can do a host of exercises that will increase their ability to coordinate both sides of their body. You can have your child touch their left elbow to their right knee in repetitions of 20, then switch to the other side. At first, you may need to guide the child if they want to touch their right knee to their right elbow, but, in time, their muscle memory will grow. This can also be done with toe touches to opposite sides, as well as leg kicks where the child moves their arms and legs in directions that force them to cross the midline.

Children can also play games such as "Simon Says," Twister or throwing water balloons in order to get better at using their dominant movements across their bodies. When play is incorporated, children are less likely to feel as if it's a prescribed time to work on their difficulties, because they're just having fun!

Being able to move fluently across our bodies is a skill that we may not concentrate on every day, but for students with learning difficulties, it can feel like a physical road block. By understanding this challenge, and finding activities that assist your child, they'll be swinging for the bleachers before you know it!

If your child struggles with learning, contact us online or find a center near you to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help.

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