Bilateral coordination indicates the ability of a harmonized use of the left and right sides of the body in performing an activity.

Image 1. Bilateral coordination

Children at six months of age begin to use two sides of the body in preforming one activity. An example of this is when a child in each hand holds a cube, a toy or instruments to play (Image 1), and hit one another to produce a sound. The child also uses bilateral coordination when he holds a picture book in one hand and with the other hand turn the pages (Image 2).

More about the motor development of the child, see HERE.

Image 2. Turning pages

How to identify the bilateral coordination delays?

If a child has difficulty to do certain gross motor activities, it is possible for a child has bilateral coordination delays. If a child can’t catch the ball with two hands (Image 3), needs help climbing stairs, can’t jump with two legs without support hands against the wall and the like, it is a sign that a child may have bilateral coordination delays.

Image 3. Catching the ball with two hands

Besides the difficulties in performing activities of motor skills, children who have bilateral coordination delays, also have problems with the performing the activities of fine motor skills. In performing the activities of daily living, the child can’t use a knife and fork to cut food, also have trubles with holding a toothbrush and put toothpaste on it (Image 4), and has a difficulties with shoe lacing (Image 5), and problems with using the zippers. Also, a child may show problems with the drawing straight lines with a ruler, can’t coordinate the hand that holds the paper and the hand that cuts in the activity of cutting with scissors, problems with stringing beads on the thread or similar activities.

Image 4. Putting a toothpaste
Image 5. Shoe lacing

A sign that indicates bilateral coordination delays using only one hand to perform everyday activities.

Also, pay attention to the appearance of symmetrical movements. If the child in performing activities moves both hands in the same way, it’s possible that a child has a bilateral coordination delay. An example for that is when a child cuts paper with scissors, in part when he is opening the scissors to move forward, the other hand drops the paper because it’s doing the same movement as the hand holding the scissors.

Activities that encourage the use of two hands, see HERE.