3 Reasons Why Midline Crossing is Important
Imagine a line at the center of your body dividing your left and right side that starts from head to toe. Now if you use your right hand to reach out for something placed on the left side or vice versa, you are crossing the midline.
Crossing the midline indicates a good communication between both sides of the brain. But why does a smooth communication between these two sides of the brain matter? Why is crossing the midline important?
Reason 1: It affects development of a dominant hand in writing.
A stronger and more skilled dominant hand is usually developed at around 4-6 years old. At this age, your child is expected to develop a more functional and dynamic pencil grasp with a dominant hand. A child who does not cross the midline will have both hands getting equal practice and therefore affect the development of true handedness. There won’t be enough practice for the dominant hand to fully develop. And learning to write with two less skilled hands will be difficult.
Reason 2: Helps in developing coordination and balance
Gross motor skills involve using the large muscles of the body like the arms and legs in throwing, jumping, running, kicking, and skipping. If a child avoids crossing the midline, balance in activities that include twisting the body will be greatly affected. And a good balance is required in skipping and other advanced gross motor skills in sports. Coordination skills advance as gross motor skills develop. So if your child’s gross motor skills development is affected, then so is his coordination skills.
Reason 3: It has a huge effect on visual tracking.
Visually tracking is a process that allows your eyes to focus and follow moving objects in space. This skill first starts as babies move their heads and eyes to track someone or an object that they find interesting. It advances and eventually allows your child to move his eyes without any head movement to visually track.
A child who has difficulty in crossing the midline will have a problem in visually tracking a moving object in a horizontal plane. In reading, this might mean that your child's eyes will fixate on a certain word and skip other words or lines. This will lead to trouble comprehending what he has read, and thus his reading fluency will be affected.
Children actually do “cross the midline” in a lot of play and school-related activities. It’s automatic. They do it without even thinking about it. But what should you do when you notice that your child isn’t “crossing the midline”?
Next on our blog: How do I encourage my child to cross the midline?