The Midline Movements
The Midline Movements focus on the skills necessary for easy two-sided (left-right)
across the midline of the body. The vertical midline of the body is
the necessary reference for
all such bilateral skills. The midfield (first defined by Dr. Dennison is
the area where the left and right visual fields overlap, function as one.
Development of bilateral movement skills for crawling, walking, or seeing
depth is essential to the child's growing sense of autonomy. It
is also a prerequisite for whole-body coordination and ease of learning in
the near-visual area. The Midline Movements help to integrate binocular vision,
binaural hearing, and the left and right sides of the brain and body.
Many learners beginning school are not developmentally
prepared for the bilateral,
two-dimensional skills of near-point work. Sometimes a student is coordinated
for play or sports activities (involving three-dimensional space and demanding
binocular vision only beyond arm's length), yet is ready to use both eyes,
ears, hands, and brain hemispheres for near-point work, such as reading, writing
and other skills involving fine-motor coordination. Other students show coordination
for academic skills or near-point activities, yet are not ready for whole-body
coordination on the playing field. The Midline Movements facilitate completion
of developmental skills and give the learner permission to build on the concrete
operations already established. They help students to increase upper-lower
body coordination, for both large-motor activities and fine-motor skills.
Cross-motor activities have been used to
activate the brain since our understanding of laterality began over a century
ago. Noted authorities such as Orton, Doman, Delacato, Kephart, and Barsch
have used similar movements successfully in their learning programs. Dr. Dennison
drew from his knowledge of these programs in developing the Midline Movements
Paul Dennison has worked closely with behavioral optometrists for more than
twenty years. He recognizes, the value of perceptual-motor and vision training
for certain students, and has included his own movement innovations for releasing
visual stress and creating eye-teaming
Some of the Midline Movements have been adapted from activities used in behavioral
optometry to increase brain-body coordination. Others are borrowed from sports,
dance, or exercise programs. Still others, totally unique to Edu-K, are the
innovations of Dr. Paul Dennison.
In this contralateral exercise, similar
to walking in place, the student alternately moves one arm and its opposite
leg and the other arm and its opposite leg. Because Cross Crawl accesses
both brain hemispheres simultaneously, this is the ideal warm-up for all skills
which require crossing the body's lateral midline.
• To activate the kinesthetic sense, alternately
touch each hand to the opposite
• Cross Crawl as you sit, moving
opposite arm and leg together.
• Reach with opposite arm and leg in varied directions.
• Reach behind the body to touch the opposite foot.
• Do a slow-motion Cross Crawl, reaching opposite arm and leg to their full
extension (Cross Crawl for focus).
• Skip (or bounce lightly) between each Cross Crawl. (Skip-Across is especially
helpful for centering; it also alleviates visual stress.)
• To improve balance, Cross Crawl with your eyes closed, or pretend to swim
• Use color-coded stickers or ribbons on opposite hands and feet for children
who may need this clue.
• Do Cross Crawl to a variety of music and rhythms.
ACTIVATES THE BRAIN FOR
• crossing the visual /auditory /kinesthetic
• left-to-right eye movements
• improved binocular (both eyes together) vision
• reading and comprehension
• improved left/right coordination
• enhanced breathing and stamina
• greater coordination and spatial awareness
• enhanced hearing and vision
HISTORY OF THE MOVEMENT
As the body grows, interweaving of- the
opposite sides through movement naturally occurs during such activities as
crawling, walking, and running. Over the last century, crawling has been used
in neurological patterning to increase learning potential. Experts theorized
that contralateral movements worked by activating the speech and language
centers of the brain.
However, Dr. Dennison discovered that Cross Crawl activity is effective because
it stimulates the receptive as well as expressive hemisphere of the brain,
facilitating integrated learning. This preference for whole-brain movement
over one-side-at-a-time- processing can be established
through Dennison Laterality Repatterning (see Edu-K for Kids).
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