Lego and Children on the Spectrum

Lego and Children on the Spectrum

Recent research is showing that Lego play therapy for children on the spectrum improves social and play skills.

Really, I can see why. The blocks provide a very structured form of play, most Lego now has a instruction book to follow and many children on the spectrum find this kind of structured play appealing.
This quote is from ASD Aid

The LEGO® System of bricks and other elements is a highly structured, predictable and systematic construction toy. It is therefore likely that children with ASD will be motivated by tasks involving this toy, due to the fact that individuals with the condition are particularly attracted to systems. LEGO system based interactive play groups provide a potentially promising approach to improving social skills in children, especially those with ASD.
LEGO system play therapy is not simply gathering children together and providing them with LEGO bricks.

LEGO System Therapy takes advantage of the inherently rewarding nature of LEGO activities for many children, with ASD. The approach uses a number of important elements;

– Children participating first learn a set of clear ‘LEGO Club’ rules and develop LEGO brick building skills, including collaborative building, in individual therapy.

– They are then introduced to a group of peers, including some group members who do not have social skills deficits.

– The group meets on a regular basis (preferably weekly) for ~90 minutes and during that time engages in collaborative LEGO brick building activities and other projects, tailored to the skill level of the participants.

– The tasks are analyzed and different responsibilities are assigned to group members (typically these roles a”director”, ‘engineer’; ‘supplier’; and ‘builder’).

– The team works together to assemble the project with and an emphasis on verbal and non-verbal communication, joint attention and task focus, collaborative problem-solving, sharing and turn-taking (switching roles during the task).

– During the LEGO system therapy sessions, social conventions can be directly instructed or prompted, based on the needs of the peers. For example, if two peers are physically fighting over a LEGO elements, the supervisors can redirect the children to use language, negotiation, and compromise to settle their dispute.

Lego can become a special interest for ASC children and that isn’t cheap to indulge.
However, large Lego Stores run a free Lego Mini Build once a month for children aged 6 to 14 (check with your local store). You can call into store and build a small piece of Lego (last month was a dragon model) and take it away for free. I know that some children on the spectrum find it difficult to wait, especially in busy shops. Our local store advises we go late in the session or call in the next day to make the model. Staff have been very helpful and understanding, in my experience, anyway.
Lego can be used educationally too. It can be used to help children understand simple fractions (see the photo).
Here’s a great home-schooling site that has Lego resources. I think this one, about teaching emotions is especially brilliant.
Lego, of course, have their own site for educational resources and for those who love their electronic devices, Lego has lots of free games on their website.
And to finish off on a positive note…this story is about an 11 year old boy with Autism from Iceland, who asked Lego to help him achieve his dream – to build the Titanic out of Lego. How inspiring is that?
Lego is loved universally, by boys and girls, children and adults. What do you feel like creating?
Happy Lego-ing everyone!
Helen

 

By | 2014-04-21T09:12:03+00:00 April 21st, 2014|Online Resources, Resources, The Jigsaw Tree Blog, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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