Infinity Sign / Mouse Pad
What is an INFINITY SIGN?
An infinity sign is characterized by several uncountable objects or concepts which have no limits or size, something huge and boundless.
The INFINITY SIGN is also known as the lazy eight and looks like the number 8 on its side. It can vary in size and depending on the specific goal in mind. It can be drawn in sand and on paper, or it can be shaped with any flexible item, like a rope or a hose pipe. Walking along this shape stimulates the simultaneous integration of the learner’s:
sensory system: proprioception / kinaesthetic awareness, vestibular system, hearing and sight
brain: thinking and
motor system: moving and speaking.
In the Neuro Dynamix programme, the INFINITY SIGN is called a MOUSE PAD after the navigation pad the computer mouse sometimes rests on. As the computer mouse moves, the cursor moves on the screen ready to execute commands. The eyes and the brain seem to work similarly as shown by research by doctor Wilder Penfield that the eyes turn in various directions to access different parts of the brain. Richard Bandler and John Grinder added that when the eyes move to access information, these eye movements are unplanned and unconscious, while looking around for an object or making eye contact with people are more conscious or deliberate movements.
When the eyes start to consistently use the same eye movement pattern, it becomes easier to access a specific part of the brain, visual when looking up, auditory when looking towards the ears and kinaesthetic when looking down.
The Mind Moves MOUSE PAD is an eye movement pattern to enhance writing, reading and learning.
Did you know that people with low vision or no vision also turn their eyes?
Eye movements are more about the brain than the eyes.
The INFINITY SIGN develops hand-eye coordination, midline crossing, integration of the left and right side of the body and brain and visual, auditory and kinaesthetic brain circuitry. It can also be used as a marching activity (MOUSE PAD MARCH), which stimulates body awareness, the vestibular system, gravitational security, spatial orientation and brings about sensory integration.
What is the purpose of the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board?
One of the most challenging cognitive leaps a learner needs to make is to move from playing and living in a 3-dimensional world with real objects to the 2-dimensional symbols used in a classroom (abc, 123, +-=). Most of the fine motor resources in the Neuro Dynamix programme build a bridge between 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional awareness in preparation for writing, reading, reasoning and spelling.
A two-dimensional (2D) object is an object that only has two dimensions, such as a length and a width, but no thickness or height.
A three-dimensional shape (3D) is not flat. It takes up space with width, height, and depth.
For years learning support therapists encouraged their students to follow the shape of an infinity sign with their eyes, to improve reading as it develops coordination and improves control of both eyes to enhance visual tracking. The purpose of the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board is to give the learner a concrete experience of the abstract infinity symbol, while the learner’s eye muscles and brain get a workout.
Suggested Mind Moves before you introduce the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board:
Before you start with fine motor movements on the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board make sure you have done the MOUSE PAD with gross motor movement:
Suggested activities for the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board:
Show the learner what the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board looks like and place it on a table in such a way that the crossing point of the infinity sign is in line with their midline.
- Place the board on the table. Ask the learner to trace the infinity sign on the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board with their index finger starting in the middle and moving up and to the left, around, cross the midline and up to the right, with their eyes closed.
- Place the board on a ledge at eye level. Ask the learner to trace the infinity sign on the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board with their finger starting in the middle and moving up and to the left, around, cross the midline and up to the right, with their eyes open. The learner’s head must not move, only the eyes must move. If the learner cannot keep their head still, stand behind the learner and hold their head so their nose stays in line with the crossing point of the infinity sign.
- Place the board on the table. Give the learner a marble and ask the learner to hold the board and roll the marble in the groove of the Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad Board, first to the left, then up and to the right. Their eyes must follow the marble. You may notice head movement. Encourage the learner to keep their head still and straight, if the learner finds it impossible to keep their head still, hold their head gently to encourage eye movement.
- Use your cell phone and set it for 30 seconds. Count how many times the learner can complete the track in thirty seconds without the marble falling out.
- Once the learner is competent at rolling the marble smoothly along the track, ask them to repeat the activity with their eyes
- Use your cell phone and set it for 30 seconds. Count how many times can the learner complete the track in thirty seconds without the marble falling out and with eyes closed.
- Paste a large piece of paper against a wall at eye level. Ask the learner to use a crayon to draw an infinity sign – first with the dominant hand and then switch hands and do it with the non-dominant hand. Encourage the learner to find a rhythm. Note that the learner does not shift their body to the side. The middle of the page must stay aligned with the learner’s midline. To add some creativity switch colour as well.
- Do the same activity, with eyes closed. The head must stay still.
- Use a water pistol or spray bottle filled with water. Find a big wall outside and spray an infinity sign on the wall, the bigger the better, but the head must stay still.
- Focus on the thumb held at elbow distance from the eyes and move the thumb upwards, first around the left eye and then around the right eye. Swop hands and repeat the same process, always drawing a circle around the left eye and then around the right eye to improve reading direction.
Have you noticed the focus on the index finger and the thumb?
Encourage a three point pencil grip. Fine motor control results in an effective and relaxed pencil grip holding an object between the thumb and index finger while resting on the middle finger.
Thumb – indicates all circular movements and propels the hand.
Index finger – controls the push and pull movements of the pencil.
Middle finger – supports and stabilise the pencil.
Ring and small fingers – provide ulnar stability.
The left hand tends to hook to maintain the function of each finger.
What skills relate to a Neuro Dynamix Mouse Pad March and Board?
- Fine motor
- Eye-hand coordination
- Visual perception
- Eye movements
- Crossing midline
- Left to right orientation
- Gravitational security
- Spatial orientation
- Sensory Integration
- Brain and body coordination and integration
The brain loves patterns. It is quick to pick up on a pattern of movements and to use the same pattern over and over because patterns use less energy and need less concentration.