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How LEGO Therapy Develops Social Skills For Children On The Autistic Spectrum

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

LEGO therapy is a play-based form of therapy which is used to aid in the development of social communication skills for children and teenagers on the autistic spectrum (otherwise known as the Autistic Spectrum Disorder – ASD).

What is LEGO Therapy and who is it for?

It was recognised by Dr Daniel LeGoff in 2003 that a vast number of children on the spectrum had an interest in LEGO. His ideology behind this type of therapy was to use LEGO play to replicate real life scenarios, with the aim being that the child would be able to transfer these experiences when they were socially interacting with other peers.

LEGO therapy aims to use a child’s natural sense of curiosity and love of playing to stay engaged throughout the session whilst developing their communication and social skills. During the session the child plays one of four roles (engineer, supplier, builder or director), with the children changing roles each time they attended LEGO therapy. 

LEGO therapy is aimed to at children and teenagers between the age of 5 – 12 years old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other types of social communication difficulties.

These sessions typically last between 45 minutes to two hours and are held once a week for around 6 weeks with each therapy session consisting of three or more children or teenagers. A price you would expect to pay for this would be between £150 to £250 in total.

How does it work?

As I mentioned above, there are four roles that the children will play a part of. These are:

Engineer

  • This is the only person who has access to and sees the instructions
  • They will communicate with the supplier to describe what bricks are required
  • They oversee the work the builder is doing to make sure he or she has been given the right bricks from the supplier.
  • They make sure the builder is building the model correctly.

Supplier

  • They supply the bricks to the builder.
  • They ask questions to ensure they know which bricks to pick.
  • Whilst they wait for the builder to finish, they wait patiently.

Builder

  • They take the bricks from the supplier and put them together.
  • The engineer will pass them instructions about how the model should be built.
  • If they have any questions about building, they will communicate these with the engineer.
  • Whilst they wait for the supplier to provide the bricks they wait patiently.

Director

  • Their main job is to watch over all other roles and to ensure everyone is communicating.

The adult’s job is to observe and play a non-intrusive role throughout the therapy session. It is not uncommon for emotions to run high, children to not interact well with each other or believe their way is the right way or the only way.

The adult facilitator is there to support but not intervene unless necessary. It’s important that the children or teenagers are left to try and resolve their own issues or quarrels, if the adult realises assistance is required, they may offer support or guidance the keep them focussed and engaged.

Who can carry out LEGO Therapy?

In a professional environment only, trained people should run LEGO therapy sessions. However, if you were thinking of doing this for your child or a friend’s child it’s an option providing you read about it and understand the process.

A typical list of people who hold these sessions are:

  • Speech and language specialists
  • Psychologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Play therapists
  • Individuals who have completed a LEGO therapy training course

There is also the possibility that you could sign up to do a LEGO therapy course yourself, this typically costs around £200 – £300 for a one-day course.

What are the benefits of LEGO Therapy?

LEGO therapy has proven to bring outstanding benefits to children and teenagers who have a requirement for development in one or more of the following areas:

  • Building patience
  • Working with others
  • Communicating with others
  • Non-verbal skills
  • Having empathy for others
  • Using more descriptive words to communicate what they would like
  • Ability to follow instructions

How to find places that run LEGO Therapy sessions

I could provide you with a tonne of links but the best advice I can give is to go to Google and search for ‘LEGO Therapy classes near me’ or ‘LEGO Therapy’

Where to find sets to use for LEGO Therapy?

At Belle-Ve Bricks we sell all kinds of sets that would work great with LEGO therapy sessions.

Check out our kids’ section which includes a lot of favourites from children and teenagers’ comics, TV series, movies and more!

Reading material

If you are interested in this topic, why not have a look at the below books that we recommend.

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