Crossing the midline is an imaginary line down the centre of the body which divides the body into left and right.
It actually refers to the ability to reach across the middle of the body with arms and legs crossing over to the other side.
Crossing the midline is important stage in child development.
A child that doesn’t cross the midline may indicate that both sides of the brain are not communicating well together and this will affect how your child reads and writes.
Here are a few sensory ideas for crossing the midline activities :
Drawing the infinity and using different materials like chalk , whiteboard , foam ,sand etc …
With the Shaving foam I also added shining with a laser pen and tracing the infinity.
Arrange the alaphabet in order , alternating HANDS .(you can also multi-task by adding singing a song while doing it).
Showing the ABC game
Hands to opposite knees while reading the Hart chart:
Floor time therapy is the notion of following the child’s lead and engaging with the child at his level.
Therapists teach parents how to direct children into a meaningful and complex interaction which is called ‘opening and closing circles of communication.
This therapy changed our lives , as our son at the age of 4 had a very limited vocabulary and through the sessions we have managed to introduce new concepts and words.
The speech and language therapy he was doing at the time did not seem to have a positive affect on him and his articulation was poor as there was not much engagement from his side at the time.
The therapy method was created by Dr. Stanley Greenspan it was developed in order to help children communicate as well as reach higher level of thinking.
Following the child lead and participate in a play and imagination world is a fun way children become “problem solvers ” and can reach higher levels of studying.
Floortime therapy target the improvement in the following areas of communication and personal development:
– Self-regulation and interest in the world – many children on the spectrum have rigid thoughts and actions which limits their progress.
– Intimacy, or engagement in human relations
– Two-way communication
– Complex communication
– Emotional ideas and development of letting the child express feelings and emotions with no boundaries.
– Emotional thinking and logical thinking.
– Floortime helps the child make logical connections : for instance if the child is playing with a car and wants to stack the car in a small cupboard ….you don’t just open the cupboard for
the child but try to create an obstacle like blocking the front of the cupboard to let the child solve the ‘problem’ using communication skills forcing a thinking process and asking relevant questions.
The parent should remain objective playful and never judgmental as this will send the wrong message to the child, the idea to follow the child lead is to help with engaging the communication.
The child could see that the parent takes interest and is engaged in the activity.
We learnt the importance of back and forth communication at the time of play and the negative effect of plastic modern flashy toys with digital sounds that destruct the child’s attention and isolate the child further.
During our sessions Guy was developing his capacity to stay in a continuous flow of interaction, engage in shared problem solving and express his ideas in pretend play and conversation with the therapist and Tommy (his younger brother).
Stanley Greenspan You tube video:
In this post I’ve gathered different resources that I found helpful through the years, some can be made at home with a bit of effort and others can be purchased on a small budget.
Resources for hand-eye coordination :
- Hitting a ball hanging from the ceiling ,bunting the ball ,catching it /hitting with a plastic tennis racket
hitting a ball
- For the following resource you would need a tennis ball, tweezers and small pieces of paper:
Get a standard tennis ball, cut it in the middle and them crunch small pieces of paper at the side.
- Ask your child to hold the ball with one hand .opening the ‘mouth of the ball’ and with the other hand insert the pieces of paper using the
Tennis ball eye -hand coordination
- Throwing balls into a bucket- you could use a small ping-pong ball or tennis ball together with a small bucket you can find at home, I have used different types of textures sizes hardness and colors to add another layer to the sensory input.
- Prickly pile up- was a hit in my household when each boy in his turn tried to “pile up” another hedgehog on top of the others making sure they keep “hanging on”
Resources for Spatial awareness :
- Spinning – the feeling of spinning around and getting used to the movement is very important in the way the child develop the spatial awareness this could be done with a desk chair or with the ‘Astronaut board’ below as part of the program.
- Directionality : drawing arrows ,mazes and following the direction with arrows helps understanding directionality as your child will physically add the arrows where appropriate.
Primitive Reflexes- (as part of occupational therapist plan) :
Gross motor activity :
- Jumping on a trampoline /Bosu – also helps with spatial awareness
- Jumping from one hula hoop to another- lay 3 to 4 hula hoops on the floor and get your child to jump.
- Skipping : skipping can be a tricky task for some kids : we first practiced jumping and then learnt the arm motion with poi –socks ( you can make easily at home or buy it ready made.
- jumping jacks exercise -straightforward jumping while moving arms and legs
- Wheel-barrow exercise : hold the child legs and have him walk on his hands around the house .
- Putting legs on the wall while the child’s hands are the floor.
- Using a balancing board while hitting a ball which is tied to the ceiling variation: throwing and catching ballons while on the balancing board –
- Walking on a beam – there is no need to purchase a beam as you can practice walking in a straight line on pavements outside or in the park.
- Walking on colored stones – helps children build confidence when jumping, judging distances, coordinating and balancing
- Working on inward/outward position of the toes : we did so with a pigeon/duck walk chart I created .
duck pigeon walk
- Stretchy arm bands or resistance band, they are really great to have at different resistance levels as they can help with motor planning, hand-eye coordination, proprioception and spatial awareness.
- Pointy dog exercise (Bird dog)
- Superman excercise
- Marching straight in line with fingers pointing up – this exercise helps with directionality.
Resources for logical thinking :
*Geoboard – great little board that helps with directionality creativity and mesuring distances as well
- Wooden blocks: Here are some examples for possible structures, the child might find it overwhelming at the beginning so I would recommend to start with an easy setup
- Parquetry blocks – geometrical shapes that can be sorted in as part of a picture or pattern
- “Thinkfun pathwords” – word game good for spatial orientation , directionality etc..
There are few other games from ‘Think fun’ which also contribute to directionality and spatial orientation .
- Q-bitz: a visual challenge game.
Resources for writing :
- Pelican pencils , tried a variety of pencil grip but found the pelican pencil the best for my kids as its stable and sturdy.
- There are many resources out there which are aimed at helping children in learning to write . I have tried some which combine music and learning but I have found out that there is a set of basic skills a child has to have before he or she are ready to write.
- The visual skills are focusing , tracking and teaming making sure both eyes are working together to be able to learn to write .When the child is ‘Ready to learn’ I found ‘writing without tears’ to be a good resource.
Oral resources to help in articulation and speech :
- Chewy necklaces and Ark grabber both are chewy but the arc is thicker and helps in jaw movement, tongue movement, and oral exploration.
mouthing, and oral motor development.
- Blowing and making bubbles using different size of straws
- Whistles : variety of different kinds .(recommended resource kit
- Blowing a variety of balloons from different sizes and shapes
- Baby chewy toys
- Sucking non sugar lollies (organic lollipops)helps to develop the muscles in our mouth
- Using a mirror moving the tongue in circles after putting fruity lip-balm / putting one lip over the other sucking lips inwards and pulling tongue out
- Using electric tooth brush on the lips for sensory input
Speech and Language :
- Games for WH questions : super duper publications have got a verity of games for Speach and language
- Auditory workout App: this is a wonderful application designed for children with auditory processing disorder .
- Learning to sequence : 6 set scene game by ‘Carson Dellosa’ publishing
- Social stories : creating social stories . I created some , one of them appears on Amazon , it was a story dealing with friendship and competition brother rivalry and relationship I offer it for FREE on this page.
- Black sheep publications offer games that help in problem solving , imagination and prediction.
- Tell tale – card game that encourage imagination and creativity together with communication skills.
- What a performance – perform a variety of noises, actions and activities to help children express themselves in a unique way.
- Metronome- clapping hands at the right rhyhem and developing awareness to sound and music.
- ‘Loopz Shifter’ game : An action memory game that used light and sounds to help in memorizing the steps.
- Nutrition : healthy diet helps in revealing stress avoiding process foods added sugar and white flour.
An Astronaut board is a spinning board used as part of the ‘Astronout theraphy’ created by Sheila Frick, OTR/L, a trainer and workshop instructor with Vital Links, is widely known in the SPD community for co-developing Astronaut Training together with another pediatric occupational therapist, Mary Kawar.
That set of procedures was among the first to formalize the integration of sound therapy with vestibular-visual integrative therapies
(https:// vitallinks.com/course/astronaut-training/) The Astronaut board is made out of wood; it can be purchased as part of the program
or be made with a bit of effort at home.
I have made it for my son to compliment the auditory listening training adding the vestibular input that was required at that stage as we couldn’t get it in the UK.
Let’s start with the materials required:
– 2 separate pieces of 3 cm thick wooden blocks
The bottom block is an octagon shape with a diameter of 40cm (or a radius of 20cm) The top is a rectangle of 50cm on 80cm
– 30 cm diameter Round Lazy Susan Turntable Bearing and 8 matching screws (4 for the bottom and 4 for the top)
– Sand paper
– 20 Nails
– Nice cloth with printed theme
– Stuffing Polyester Fiber For Toys
Steps: 1. Lets start with the top board which will be the one your child will sit on so you would want it make it comfortable
and make sure to polish it slightly with sandpaper to make is nice and smooth.
2. Stick a generous layer of stuffing polyester on top and let it dry, cut a matching cloth (I would recommend a theme your child likes such as Disney character or similar) in our case it would be 60cm on 90cm.
3. Stretch the cloth on the top and turn over the wooden block.
4. Attach the cloth to the wood by nails.
5. Lazy susan is a piece of steel with fixing holes in both upper and lower plates it spins freely and therefore we will use it next to connect the 2 pieces of wood. Mark the center of the octagon piece and fix the lazy suzan to it is right in the middle, you will need to drill an “access hole” on the octagon so that you could screw the top board (rectangle) in through the bottom board.
6. Once the octagon is attached to the baring its time to connect the top board with the remaining 4 screws.
7. Turn the top piece of wood on the soft side, use the access hole to fix the top board using 4 screws placed at even distance away from the center.
Tips: -Add some grease to the lazy Susan bearing to avoid squeaking noise – usually the screws come together with the bearing but its worth checking before
– The pieces of wood were purchased at a local DIY center and cut according to my measurements.
I would welcome questions and comments ,let me know if you find it helpful and what challenges did you come across in the process.