Written by Provisional Psychologist Natasha Binns
Lego therapy is a social development program created by clinical neuropsychologist Daniel LeGoff after observing two of his clients playing with Lego in his waiting room. Both children with autism spectrum disorder had difficulties engaging in social play and had never previously interacted, however their shared interest in Lego had given them the enthusiasm they needed to engage socially with each other and display never before seen positive social interactions.
After observing this interaction and realising that Lego can be used as a medium of play to promote social interaction and communication, Daniel LeGoff developed Lego Therapy specifically for children with autism spectrum disorder and children with social communication difficulties.
What exactly is Lego Therapy?
Lego Therapy is a play-based therapy designed to aid, teach, and promote social development and communication. It combines children’s intrinsic love of play and Lego and a safe, structured environment to facilitate reciprocal conversation, turn taking, collaboration, creativity, and problem solving. Children are placed into groups of three and given one of three roles:
The Engineer: Who communicates instructions to the others. The Engineer communicates to the Supplier what bricks are needed and communicates to the Builder how to build the model.
The Supplier: Who finds the bricks needed to create the model. The Supplier must listen to the Engineer, locate the bricks needed, and supply them to the Builder.
The Builder: Who physically builds the model. The Builder must listen to and follow the Engineer’s instructions to create the model.
Once a model is complete children then swap roles, allowing them to experience both giving and receiving instructions, and practice the different skills utilised in each role.
What skills are taught in a Lego Therapy session?
Lego Therapy teaches children a variety of skills in a play-based setting. Social skills are developed through building Lego models with other children consolidating their verbal and non-verbal communication skills and active listening skills, and building collaboration, sharing, turn taking, working in a team, and joint problem-solving abilities. Concentration abilities are also built upon as each model becomes larger and requires longer stretches of time to complete, and fine motor skills are further developed through building structures, improving hand strength and dexterity.
How can my child benefit from Lego Therapy?
Children with autism spectrum disorder or social communication difficulties can often become isolated in their play, as well as have difficulties understanding what is expected of them in social situations. Lego therapy can benefit children as Lego is used as a bridge to encourage confidence within your child to communicate and engage in cooperative play with other children. The structured nature of Lego therapy also benefits children who may not understand what is expected of them in social situations by providing set rules, roles, and structure which encourage teamwork, turn-taking, and communication with other children, facilitating the growth of social skills and the development of relationships with likeminded peers.
What kind of activities might my child engage in during their group session?
Your child will engage in a range of activities during Lego group sessions including partaking in group conversation, individual structured Lego building, formal team Lego building using the Engineer, Supplier, and Builder roles and free Lego play. This provides them an opportunity to engage in an activity they are passionate about, as well as practicing different skills at different levels of complexity, all with the support of a trained health professional.
Who might run a Lego Therapy group?
Lego therapy can be run by a number of practitioners including provisional psychologists, psychologists, occupational therapists, play therapists, speech pathologists, and special education teachers. All practitioners of Lego therapy must first be trained in Lego therapy before being able to facilitate a Lego therapy group.
Lego therapy is a fun, playful way for your child to build their social communication skills and create bonds with other children who share their love of Lego. If you would like to learn more about our Lego Therapy groups or other school holiday groups, please email us at email@example.com.