skip to Main Content

Crossing Midline: A Simple Move that Could Impact Academic Success

Crossing the midline can be as simple as reaching your right arm across the front of your body to pick up a cup of coffee on the left side of the table. Or reaching across with your left hand to turn a doorknob on your right, or completing a simple jumping jack. Most of these movements we do without even thinking about it!  However, when this skill is lacking, it can be very frustrating and challenging for the child to complete even simple daily living skills.  The school age child may demonstrate challenges in his or her learning environment.

Why Crossing Midline Matters

When we perform activities that cross the midline of our body, these movements are helping build pathways in the brain that are extremely important for various skills such as gross motor, fine motor and cognitive skills.  All movement requires a sense of balance.  When the equilibrium is deficient, it can affect how we sit and may produce an increase in fidgeting and restlessness.  Poor midline skills can also cause the learner to have scattered attention.  Movements that cross the midline are important for fine motor skills, directional skills (such as up, down, left and right) and for interpreting symbols (such as letters or numbers).   If a child has difficulty with handwriting and copying written work, often they may have challenges with midline moves as well.

Moves That Help

There are basic moves that have been researched and used to help build this skill.  Groups such as the Educational Kinesiology Foundation d.b.a Brain Gym International (Dennison and Dennison 2010) have combined crossing midline moves with learning to help develop this skill in children and adults.

The Cross Crawl

Sit or stand while you reach across the midline of your body with your right arm to touch your left knee and then repeat with left arm reaching to right knee.  Ideally this exercise is best performed standing if the child is able, and the more exaggerated the arm reach is the better.  (This move resembles marching when done standing!) This move can also be done in a supine (laying on back) position as in a sit up with bicycle arms.

The Lazy 8 (Dennison and Dennison 2010)

Have your child draw the number 8 as if it is lying down on its side.Always start at the top and go left/around/up to the right and down. You can have them draw it on paper, a tabletop, or while standing vertical on a white board or chalkboard. The child can “draw” it in the air without a writing instrument by just using their finger acting as a pencil and making the shape in the air. They can also “draw” it on the wall without a writing instrument; just tracing the shape with their finger acting as the pencil.

Daily Routine Moves

Position their plates/cups etc. at meal time that encourage them to “reach across midline.” When they are dressing in the morning, have them “reach across midline” to pick up clothes, shoes etc.

Playing Games

Play games that use crossing midline moves such as: Twister, catching a ball off center of person throwing it, throwing a ball at a target, sitting back to back and passing a ball around each others body.


There are many sports that engage crossing midline moves: Tennis, baseball, ice skating, gymnastics

JJ Schweikert, MOT, OTR/L

Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison,(20
10) Brain Gym: Teachers Edition, Hearts at Play, Inc

Back To Top

Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
Read More