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As parents, caregivers, and educators, we often marvel at the developmental milestones of infants and toddlers. From their first steps to their first words, every little achievement seems like a giant leap forward. But have you ever stopped to think about what their early crawling patterns might reveal about their brain development? In this article, we’ll explore how crawling is linked to the midbrain and the reticular activating system (RAS) and how understanding this connection can shed light on brain balance, ADHD, ADD, and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).



The Role of Crawling in Brain Development

Crawling is more than just a cute phase in a baby’s life; it plays a significant role in brain development. When a baby crawls, they are not only strengthening their muscles and spine but also developing a crucial part of their brain called the midbrain. The midbrain, along with the reticular activating system (RAS), acts as a filter for the rest of the brain. It decides what information is important at any given moment and what can wait for later.


How the Midbrain and RAS Impact Attention

Brain Balance and Attention

Brain balance is the key to efficient attention regulation. The midbrain, also known as the mesencephalon, is a small but crucial part of the brain located between the forebrain and hindbrain. It plays a significant role in various functions, including sensory processing, motor control, and the regulation of sleep and wakefulness.

One of the key functions of the midbrain is to work in conjunction with the Reticular Activating System (RAS) to determine where an individual’s attention should be directed. The RAS is a network of neurons that spans from the brainstem to the thalamus and is responsible for regulating arousal and alertness.

When the midbrain and RAS are properly developed and functioning optimally, they act as a filter that helps individuals pay attention to the right things. This filter allows us to focus on relevant information and filter out distractions, enabling us to efficiently process sensory information.

For example, imagine you are in a crowded room with various conversations happening simultaneously. The midbrain and RAS help you direct your attention to the conversation you want to engage in, while filtering out the background noise and other conversations. This ability to selectively attend to specific stimuli is crucial for effective communication and cognitive processing.

Furthermore, the midbrain and RAS also play a role in regulating our level of alertness and wakefulness. They help us stay awake and alert during the day, while promoting sleep and relaxation during the night. Dysfunction in these areas can lead to difficulties in maintaining attention, excessive sleepiness, or insomnia.

Overall, the midbrain and RAS work together to ensure that our attention is directed towards the appropriate stimuli, allowing us to effectively process sensory information, filter out distractions, and regulate our level of alertness. Developing and maintaining a healthy midbrain and RAS is essential for optimal cognitive functioning and overall well-being.



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are conditions characterized by difficulties in focusing and regulating attention. These conditions can be linked to underdeveloped midbrains and RAS. Understanding the connection between crawling and these brain functions can provide insights into potential interventions and therapies.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and the Role of Crawling

SPD and Sensory Overload

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition where individuals struggle to process sensory information correctly. Overstimulation or sensory overload can be overwhelming, frustrating, and lead to a host of other reactions. Crawling plays a vital role in the development of sensory processing skills. Properly developed midbrain and RAS help filter sensory input, allowing individuals to process information and stimuli more effectively. 


The Importance of Crawling

Recognizing the link between crawling and brain development is crucial for everyone, no matter how old they are. Programs like In the Cortex, which promote crawling and midbrain development, play a crucial role in enhancing various aspects of brain function. These programs are designed to support individuals in achieving better brain balance and sensory processing abilities, ultimately leading to improved focus, attention, and organizational skills.

Crawling is a fundamental movement pattern that is often overlooked in our modern society. It is important for the midbrain’s growth and coordination of body functions to integrate sensory information. By engaging in crawling exercises, individuals can stimulate the midbrain and enhance its development, leading to improved overall brain function.

One of the key benefits of programs like In the Cortex is their ability to enhance brain balance. Brain balance refers to the optimal functioning and coordination between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. When the brain is in balance, individuals experience improved cognitive abilities, such as better memory, problem-solving skills, and creativity. By promoting crawling and midbrain development, these programs help to establish and maintain brain balance, leading to enhanced cognitive function.

Sensory processing is another area that is positively impacted by programs like In the Cortex. Sensory processing refers to the brain’s ability to receive, interpret, and respond to sensory information from the environment. Individuals with sensory processing difficulties may struggle with sensory overload or have difficulty filtering out irrelevant sensory stimuli. By engaging in activities that promote crawling and midbrain development, individuals can improve their sensory processing abilities, leading to a more efficient and accurate interpretation of sensory information.

Furthermore, programs like In the Cortex have been shown to improve focus, attention, and organizational skills. These cognitive abilities are essential for success in various aspects of life, including academics, work, and personal relationships. By stimulating the midbrain and enhancing brain balance and sensory processing, these programs help individuals to better regulate their attention and focus, leading to improved concentration and productivity. Additionally, the improved organizational skills resulting from these programs enable individuals to better manage their time, tasks, and responsibilities.

In summary, programs like In the Cortex that promote crawling and midbrain development have a profound impact on brain function. By enhancing brain balance, sensory processing, focus, attention, and organizational skills, these programs provide individuals with the tools they need to thrive in various aspects of life. 



Crawling is not just a cute and endearing stage of childhood development; it is a critical part of brain development! Understanding the role of the midbrain and the reticular activating system (RAS) in filtering sensory information and regulating attention can provide valuable insights into conditions like ADHD, ADD, and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). By recognizing the importance of crawling and promoting it, we can support individuals in achieving better brain balance and sensory processing, ultimately improving their quality of life.