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Home > Using Both Hands, Crossing Midline, Hand Dominance: Fun Activities

Using Both Hands, Crossing Midline, Hand Dominance: Fun Activities

An Ambidextrous Child? Or Dyspraxia?  

Some children who appear to be ambidextrous actually have a hidden processing disorder. More often than not, these children end up with two, unskilled hands. These kids need lots of two-handed activities- especially those that cross the middle of the body. A lot of the activities done in Occupational Therapy and Vision Therapy promote this.

Just think, what if you couldn't cross the body easily? You'd have to pick up a pencil on one side of your book with your "helper" hand and move it to the middle so that your dominant hand, or "worker hand," could use it. It would affect your handwriting because diagonal lines cross the midline and you have to cross midline to easily write from left to right.

If a child cannot cross midline easily and does not know left from right with automaticity- then reading and writing delays occur.  It can also cause delays with tying shoes, buttoning and snaps. 

Some children with these delays simply did not have a long enough creep history.  Creeping is when the brain sets up the pathways from left to right sides of the brain.  If a child hated belly time and was an early cruiser, then this brain pathway can be delayed and not efficient enough to be used for later writing and reading skills that require that good pathway between left and right.  

Establishing a worker's hand and a helper's hand is a sign that specialization and maturity in the brain is occurring. Look for this around the age of five years old and reinforce it using two-handed activities that cross the midline of the body.

Some examples include:

 

  • Reaching for bean bags across midline then throwing at a target
  • Cross Crawl/tiger creep activities 
  • Holding onto rope of swing with one hand and hitting targets like bubbles, balloons or catching and throwing across midline with other hand
  • Making large X and 8 with arms in the air or on a large chalk wall 
  • Making a figure 8 "road" pattern on the wall and have the child run the car through the pattern making large 8 patterns with the same hand. 
  • Wheelbarrow walking but crossing hands over a tape line in the floor 
  • Scooter board but crossing hands to "pull" 
  • Practice cutting up junk mail using one hand to turn paper and the other to cut 
  • Reflex integration is often needed with special attention to ATNR and STNR reflex integration- ask your OT for more ideas!

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