autism, movement, music, music therapy, music therapy for autism, neurologic music therapy, special needs

Music Therapy Outreach Week #4: Crossing Midline

For those of you attending our Music Therapy Outreach groups, you may have noticed that many of our facilitations place emphasis on developing motor planning skills. In both one-to-one and group sessions, we work to develop the parts of the brain that deal with movement. Through training, the brain can change both in structure and function, and new neural connections can be made through repetition.

Rhythm can play a huge role in activating the motor areas of the brain and has been found to not only affect the timing of movement, but the total movement pattern. We especially like to implement facilitations that target cross-lateral movement: crossing midline. Crossing midline is very important for brains of all ages! When you participate in cross-lateral movement, the right and left hemispheres of the brain interact, which activates the brain and helps to build stronger connections between the hemispheres.

Cross-lateral movement helps create connections between nerve cells and is critical to the development of complex skills such as the ability to understand what we read or what someone is saying to us (which requires both hemispheres working together and separately). Lateralization is key in reading, writing, gross motor control, and organization.

In this video, we provide snippets of Bear Hunt, The Drum Song and of full verse of the Paddle drum song inspired by Kimberly Sena Moore of Music Therapy Maven.  We encourage you to incorporate more movement into your lives at home, in the car, while you’re in the waiting room – anywhere and everywhere! Tap your knees or clap your hands as you’re reading a familiar book or add some movement to your child’s favorite song. Turn everything into a fancy pattycake affair while paying special attention to getting arms to cross midline without twisting the entire body.

Angie Kopshy, MM, MT-BC
Angie Kopshy, MM, MT-BC

Music Therapy Services of Portland is directed by board-certified music therapist, Angie Kopshy. Upon completion of her Master’s in Music from Boise State University, Angie returned to Portland to study music therapy at Marylhurst University. Music Therapy Services of Portland specializes on working with children on the autism spectrum. Angie is also a singer/songwriter with the band, Stoneface Honey.

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