Posted on: 20-10-2014
This week we posted a link to the work SLTs at Guys and St Thomas are doing using LEGO. There was a lot of interest from our social media followers, so we wanted to find out more about the use of LEGO in therapy.
The LEGO® System is a popular line of structured, predictable and systematic construction toys. It consists of colourful interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of gears, minifigures and various other parts. Lego bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects. It is therefore likely that children with autism will be engaged with this toy, as they are usually attracted to systems. LEGO system based interactive play groups provide a potentially promising approach to improving social skills in children, especially those with autism.
Lego therapy is now a common form of play therapy. Lego therapists believe it helps develop and reinforce play skills and social skills such as verbal and non-verbal communication, joint attention, task focus, sharing and turn-taking and collaborative problem-solving. Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behaviour, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others.
Play therapy is recognised as a very effective way in which to develop both creativity and communication skills amongst those who fall in the autism spectrum. While there are some basic principles in play therapy there are no hard and fast rules or definitive results. Ground breaking research in this field has been pioneered by innovative and creative researchers who have shown that significant gains can be made in social development through LEGO play. In LEGO therapy, building materials are used as therapy for increasing motivation to participate in social skills intervention, and providing a medium through which children with social and communication disadvantages can effectively interact. Studies of long-term outcomes for autistic children participating in LEGO therapies have showed that those children participating in the therapy improved significantly more than the comparison children.
Watch the video of Hannah Coles
gives a 5-minute lightning talk about using Lego Therapy to work on language and communication goals with children with Autism.
The views expressed in the blog do not necessarily represent the views of ASLTIP. Publication does not imply endorsement.