It is a solid wooden plank with one side raised from the floor on an upright leg to form a launch pad for a beanbag or small ball.

The Neuro Dynamix programme uses the Neuro Dynamix Step-and-Catch as a versatile resource. When three step-and-catch bars are used in a straight line or at different angles, it is used as an unstable balance beam; when it is used with a colourful beanbag or small ball, the step-and-catch is used as an eye-hand coordination resource to stimulate the vestibular-ocular reflex in preparation for writing and reading and the step-and-catch can also be used effectively as a bat.

Clear instructions boost confidence and performance.

We have two balance systems: the vestibular system and the eyes. Developing the vestibular system frees the eyes to focus on the visual components of a task such as looking, seeing, throwing, catching, hitting, writing and reading.

Fit eye muscles read better.


Warm up with Mind Moves before you introduce Neuro Dynamix Step-and-Catch:

Neck flexor

Ask the learner to maintain the ‘string-of-beads’ posture throughout this exercise. He needs to place the palm of the hand against the forehead, pushing firmly for a count of eight. Remind the learner to breathe. Alternate the position to the back of the head and the left and the right side of the head, repeating the process first with one hand and then the other. This movement strengthens and relaxes the neck and shoulder muscles to isolate head movement from body movement, and in so doing inhibits the TLR. It also improves posture, listening skills, balance and muscle tone.

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Mouse pad

The learner has to focus on the thumb held at elbow distance from the eyes, then move the thumb upwards, first around the left eye and then around the right eye outlining the shape of an infinity sign. Repeat five times. The learner must then swop hands and repeat the same process, always first drawing a circle around the left eye and then around the right eye. This move stimulates the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic receptive ability while crossing the midline to integrate the left and right parts of the brain and body. It develops eye-hand coordination and visual integration.

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How to use the Neuro Dynamix Step-and-Catch

The Step-and-Catch can be used for three different activities:

An unstable balance beam – see balance beam section.

Eye-hand coordination – Step-and-Catch can be used as a bat to hit a beanbag or a ball. A beanbag is an easier and more predictable target to hit than a ball.

  • When you throw a beanbag towards the learner, the learner can use the Step-and-Catch to hit the beanbag as hard as possible or just hard enough to reach you. Clear instructions boost performance and confidence.
  • A learner can also throw a beanbag (or ball) into the air and then hit it with the Step-and-Catch.
  • Another variation of this activity is when a learner throws a beanbag (or ball) into the air, then hit it with the Step-and-Catch and dashes to catch the beanbag (or ball). This activity challenges the vestibular system on many levels!
  • To increase the challenge level use the Neuro Dynamix Hoop Stand with a hoop and place it on a chair or large dustbin to raise the level of the hoop. Encourage the learner to hit the beanbag (or ball) through the hoop.
  • Let your creativity be the only limit to ways that you can enable a learner to integrate auditory input (instructions) with body movement, eye movement and eye-hand movement. Fit eye muscles read better.

Eye-foot coordination – the Step-and-Catch can be used to integrate upper body and lower body coordination. The beanbag (later a ball) is placed on the lower end of the beam. The learner stands behind the raised side of the wooden bar and steps down on it. The beanbag will flip into the air and the learner needs to catch it. The harder they step down on the bar, the higher the beanbag flies.


What is the purpose of the Neuro Dynamix Step-and-Catch?

The purpose of the Neuro Dynamix Step-and-Catch is to develop rhythm, timing, coordination and balance in learners of all ages. The Neuro Dynamix approach develops the strength of the muscles of the eyes, hands, fingers, legs and feet. The actions of (1) stepping on the one side of the bar and (2) catching the beanbag develop both eye-hand-foot coordination and balance, making the Step-and-Catch an invaluable pre-writing and pre-reading resource.

When a learner swops feet when stepping on the bar, this Neuro Dynamix resource also creates an awareness of left and right (laterality) and encourages the crossing of the kinaesthetic midline and visual midlines. It develops learner’s ability to estimate speed and direction.

The step-and-catch action stimulates the entire inside sensory system and integrates it with kinaesthetic and visual sensory input to make the step-and-catch an advanced tool to bring about sensory integration.


Suggested activities for the Neuro Dynamix Step-and-Catch:

  • The learner puts a beanbag on the front end and stands behind the raised side of the wooden bar and steps down on the raised side flipping the beanbag into the air. The learner needs to catch it. The learner will need time to experiment where to step to flip the beanbag the best and how hard to step to flip it just hard enough to catch.
  • The learner needs to step so hard that the learner gets a chance to clap once before catching the beanbag.
  • As the learner becomes more proficient, encourage the learner to turn around – the learner steps, turns around and then catches the beanbag. Make sure the learner sometimes turns to the left and sometimes to the right so that they can turn left or right equally easily and catch in time.
  • An advanced activity would be to step, turn, clap, catch. Turning the eyes up to search and find the beanbag activates many of the brain circuitry needed for the visual part of writing and reading.
  • There is a natural progression in these activities from a two-hand catch against the body to a two-hand catch away from the body, followed by catching with the dominant hand to catching with the non-dominant hand to catching with a nominated hand. A nominated hand is a hand someone else calls out (left hand or right hand) as the learner steps on the bar.
  • Repeating all the activities above with a ball, for example, a tennis ball, which offers a whole new set of variables that the learner needs to adjust to. Using a heavier ball like a cricket ball or a smaller ball like a golf ball keeps this activity challenging for many months and it is strongly suggested that a learner only progresses to a new level of a challenge once the learner has mastered the previous activity with confidence, speed and agility.
  • To develop collaboration and teamwork one learner steps down on the launch bar and the other learner catches the beanbag or variety of balls.

Turning the eyes to search and find the beanbag activates many areas of the brain circuitry needed for the visual part of writing and reading.


What skills relate to a Neuro Dynamix Step-and-Catch?

  • Laterality
  • Rhythm and timing
  • Balance
  • Gross motor coordination
  • Perception – auditory and visual
  • Eye tracking
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Eye-hand-foot coordination
  • Following of sequence of events
  • Ball skills
  • Catching skills
  • Crossing of the kinaesthetic midline and visual midlines
  • Reaction speed
  • Direction
  • Spatial orientation
  • Vestibular-ocular reflex
  • Visual teaming
  • Visual accommodation
  • Emotional skills
  • Social skills.