Crossing Midline

Crossing midline is one of the first skills Parker’s Early Intervention team worked with him on.

For those of you who aren’t family with the term crossing midline, think of it as if there were a line running down the center of your body from the top of you head to toe, dividing your body into two perfect halves.

Crossing midline is when you use one hand to cross over that center line into the other side of your body.

The milestone of crossing midline is an important one.  Without this skill kids tend to have problems reading and writing.

You cross your midline when you wash your hands.  You cross your midline when you use one hand to hold down a sheet of paper and the other hand to write.  You cross midline when you brush the hair on the opposite side of your body of the hand that is holding the brush.

Crossing midline is an important skill in playing sports, the development of fine and gross motor skills, and visual tracking skills.

Parker has the ability to cross midline.

It’s choosing to cross his midline that is making me a wee bit nuts.

For example:

During Parker’s work sessions we often give him two choices to choose a correct answer to.  We put both of those choices in front of him.  Usually Parker will take his right hand and either choose the card closest to his right hand, or cross his midline to choose the choice on his left side, depending on the correct answer.

Then there are days like today.

We went through the alphabet with Parker picking the correct answer out of two choices whether he needed to cross his midline or not.

Then came the letter T.

From T on Parker chose ONLY the letters in front of his right hand.  Didn’t matter if he was choosing the correct answer, it only mattered that it was the answer closest to his right hand.


We call this being Right Side Dependent.  Or Parker’s being a pain in the butt.  Either way the description fits.

crossing midline

One trick we’ve used is to switch up the backgrounds to help hold Parker’s attention as he’s making his choices.

We’ve tried over correcting each time he gets into this rut.  This means that each time he chooses the right hand side and the answer is wrong we make him choose the correct answer from the left hand side 10 times in a row.  I mean the kid will look right at the left hand answer and then put out his hand to choose the closest to his right hand, incorrect answer.

crossing midline right side dependent

Even though Parker has been able to identify the number 10 for years, when he is doing his right side dependent thing he’ll reach for the 11 every single time.  If I switched the two numbers up and asked for the 11, he’d reach for the 10 which would be closest to his right hand and grab that.

It’s not as though he doesn’t know the correct answer as most of the time this happens during review sessions.

Even though Parker’s is right handed, I’ll still catch him using both hands in an activity.  So, instead of using his right hand to place coins in the slot, he’ll grab a coin in both hands and use both hands to put a coin in the slot.

My Mom was here the other day and watched him do this and was not pleased.  She worked with kids with Autism her entire life and was certain that I had yet to enforce Parker’s right hand dominance.

Except, you know, I HAVE.  The kid tends to have a mind of his own.

When writing or cutting he uses his right hand to write or cut while using his left to hold the object steady or rest on the desk.  When reaching in to grab a handful of something he uses his right hand, unless it is a sensory box then he digs in with both hands.

Of course my Mom didn’t see that.

Putting a puzzle together…….a piece in both hands…..unless I am with him then I have him put his weight on his left hand and fit the puzzle pieces with his right.

Going up stairs he alternates feet.

If I hand him something he reaches out for it with his right hand about 96% of the time.

Anyone else’s kid do stuff like this?  How have you cured a right side dependence?  This is especially important as Parker is non-verbal and he’s only way of answering a question is to pick out the proper picture.

Alas, not all the proper pictures can be found closest to his right hand.

I’m not sure if I’ve given birth to an Evil Genius who knows just what buttons to push when he wants to get out of a work session, or if there’s something funky going on with his cross lateral development.



Read previous post:
Lab Test Results

Lab tests results meaning have a way of putting a wee bit of terror into this Mama's soul.  While we...