February 27, 2023

Cross-Midline: Improving Communication Between the Right and Left Brain

Laura Gencarella Speech Therapist in Charlotte, NC

Laura Gencarella
Owner, Speaking Sensory LLC

Speaking Sensory speech therapy session in Charlotte, NC

Crossing midline is a crucial developmental milestone for children of all ages. It is essential for communication from one side of the brain to the other, which enables motor skills and cognitive development. Cross-midline involves crossing an imaginary line that divides your body into two equal parts, with the left and right hemispheres representing each side. When children are able to cross the midline successfully, it helps them with self organization, balance, posture, coordination, cognitive processing, concentration and memory. Additionally, it encourages strong hand-eye coordination by allowing them to use both eyes at once. A child must be able to cross their midline before they can be successful in activities like writing and reading.

Crossing midline can first be seen in infants as early as 4-6 months, when they start reaching across the plane of their body with both hands. As they grow up, children should continue developing this skill until around 3 years old. At this age they should be able to successfully cross the midline without any difficulty or prompting.

Parents may notice that their child has difficulty with crossing midline if they have difficulty reaching across their body with either hand or leg to pick up a toy, touch their opposite shoulder, or trace across their chest. If your child is struggling with this skill it could affect their ability to perform fine motor skills like coloring within the lines, cutting accurately, and manipulating small objects.

Common signs of difficulty crossing midline include:

– Difficulty reaching across body to pick up a toy.

– Not established a hand dominance

– Inability to touch opposite shoulder or follow an object with their eyes and hands.

– Trouble manipulating small objects in the hands such as buttons, beads, and scissors.

If your child is having difficulty crossing midline, they may benefit from occupational therapy which focuses on developing appropriate muscle tone, strength, coordination, and sensory processing skills necessary for successful performance of activities including crossing midline. Occupational therapists use a variety of exercises to help children develop these skills such as playing catch with one hand while keeping the other arm stationary at the side or behind them. They may also use activities that involve tracing shapes from one side to the other, balancing on one foot while crossing the other over, or playing games that require them to reach across their midline.

By encouraging your child to practice these activities on a regular basis, you can help them build strength and coordination in order to better control their movements and improve their overall development. With occupational therapy, your child will be able to develop the necessary skills for crossing midline and succeed in everyday tasks.

If you have any additional questions or would like more information about crossing midline and occupational therapy, please reach out to your child’s doctor or an occupational therapist. An evaluation by a professional can help determine if your child requires further intervention. With the right guidance and support from an expert, your child can build the skills they need for success. We are here for YOU and hope you now have an understanding of why communication between the right and left brain is important for development.

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