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  • Sarina Shirazee

Crossing the Midline

Crossing the midline is the ability to move one body part across to the other side of the body.⠀

Crossing the midline usually develops by 3-4 year of age. It is a prerequisite skill for many movement skills and everyday tasks, including tying our shoes, crossing our legs, and visually tracking with our eyes from left to right when reading and writing. It helps to build the pathways that cross from one side of the brain to the other.⠀

Crossing the midline is especially important in developing a hand dominance. If a child avoids crossing the midline, they may swap between their left and right hands at their midline, rather than crossing over. We want children to become stronger and more specialised in the use of one hand, rather than having two less skilled hands.⠀

Signs that a child may be avoiding crossing the midline include:⠀

• Swapping hands midway through a task such as writing, drawing, painting or colouring⠀

• Using their left hand for activities on the left side of the body and their right hand for activities on the right hand side⠀

• Rotating their trunk when reaching across the body to avoid crossing the midline⠀

• Difficulty visually tracking an object from left to right, for example when reading⠀

• Mixed foot dominance⠀

• Difficulty coordinating gross motor movements (e.g. crawling, skipping, star jumps)⠀

If you have concerns about your child’s ability to cross their midline, an occupational therapist can support them in developing this skill.⠀


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