bilateral coordination

Bilateral Coordination, Explained by Fort Myers Pediatric Occupational Therapists

Bilateral coordination, sometimes referred to as bilateral integration, is a critical developmental skill with which some kids struggle. It involves using both sides of the body together, and can impact both fine and gross motor skills Children who have difficulty with bilateral coordination may be diagnosed solely with developmental coordination disorder, but it’s also closely associated with other conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental delays and disorders.

As Fort Myers pediatric occupational therapists, we recognize there’s been an increasing awareness about what bilateral coordination is as well as what deficits might look like. A reported uptick in bilateral coordination deficits could also be partially attributed to COVID closures, as lots of kids lacked regular exposure to certain activities (PE class, playground time, etc.) that can help build these skills.

How Do I Know If My Child Has Poor Bilateral Coordination? 

Some indicators of poor bilateral coordination include:

  • Trouble cutting with scissors.
  • Struggles with handwriting.
  • Difficulty tying shoes.
  • Having a hard time dressing themselves (pulling on socks, pants, and shoes).
  • Trouble with fasteners, like buttons, zips, or snaps.
  • Clumsy movements.
  • Trouble catching a ball.
  • Awkward clapping.
  • Troubling using a bicycle pedal.

Parents should note there are actually three different types of bilateral coordination: Symmetrical, reciprocal and leading/supporting.