The Midline Movements

The Midline Movements focus on the skills necessary for easy two-sided (left-right) movement
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 series.

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 while
   Cross Crawling.
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.


crossing the visual /auditory /kinesthetic /tactile midline
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


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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