You might hear your occupational therapist frequently referring to the term “crossing midline”. Crossing midline is a vital skill for proficiency in fine motor and gross motor skills. Imagine a vertical line cutting your body in right and left halves. Therefore, your ability to reach across that line refers to the term “crossing midline”. This is what allows you to participate in your activities of daily living. The ability to cross midline enables you to complete simple tasks like reading and writing, reaching, dressing, cooking, and participating in sports.
What would I look for if my child is struggling to cross midline?
First, observe your child in a variety of play and academic situations. Then, look for the following signs for challenges with crossing midline. Please note that the following statements are not a means for a diagnosis but rather a guide. You should visit your occupational therapist for more information on this topic.
- They appear to alternate between right and left hands or use both hands during writing tasks
- Reaching for objects on one side of the body and switching hands to place object on opposite side of the body
- They are clumsy compared to other peers
- They rotate with their whole body instead of twisting with their trunk/core
- During writing, they start with the left hand and then switch to the right hand as they write across the page
What activities can I do this summer to address crossing midline?
- Water balloon baseball: grab some water balloons and start throwing! Naturally, your child will cross midline as they swing the bat. You can also elicit it by throwing water balloons across your body towards a target.
- Car washing: grab a wash rag and some soapy water. Washing a car will guide your child into movements from left to right. Practice isolating one hand or the other.
- Painting rainbows with ice: grab an ice tray, fill with water and dye, place Popsicle sticks in each cube, and freeze! Have your child sit in a designated spot on the driveway. Use icicle cubes to create a rainbow starting on the left side of the body to the right side of the body.