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What is it?

LEGO® therapy, or Lego® club, as many schools call it, is a structured social skills group that develops turn taking skills, collaborative skills, joint attention, negotiation and how to ask for and accept help and clarification. Generally, one adult leads a group of three children, each adopting a role for the model building focal task.

Aims:

  • To understand what information the listener needs and convey that to the correct person.
  • To be able to ask for clarification in an appropriate fashion,
  • To be able to take turns and stay within the designated role.

Who’s it for?

This intervention has been shown to be particularly effective for children with ASC and social communication needs.

How to do it?

For primary aged children, each group is made up of three children, including the focus child. Each session starts with the adult reminding the group of the rules of Lego™ club:

Rules word version

The children are each given a role, that of architect (or engineer), supplier or builder.

Roles word version

The children can have a badge or sticker indicating a role and younger children respond well to props; the architect having a clipboard, the supplier having a Hi-Viz jacket and the builder with a toy hardhat.

The architect – has the sequence of pictures indicating the brick to be selected and where they go. Their role is to ask the supplier to provide the builder with next brick/Lego™ piece.

The supplier – needs to select the piece. If the instruction is not clear, they need to clarify with the architect and revise their choice.

The builder – builds the model following the architect’s instructions. As with the supplier, they can ask for something to be made clear.

Apart from learning to use the associated vocabulary and concepts and how to use them precisely to convey the message planned, all participants learn how to correct another appropriately and how to praise and indicate to the others that they have made the right choice.

Lego™ group can be run in different ways, depending on the needs and social development of the children. It can be run with a structure in which each child has a turn to be the builder, supplier and architect during one session. This works for younger children and those who cannot wait for the next session to have a preferred role. Using this structure, the same model might be made three times or three different models would be made.

For older children and those who are ready to develop their social skills further, the children keep one role for each short session. Before the set of sessions (in multiples of three), a rota is drawn up, making clear which child performs which role.

Date Architect Supplier Builder
15/3 Isabelle Yasin Peter
Peter Isabelle Yasin
Yasin Peter Isabelle
Isabelle Yasin Peter

 

At the end of each session, tick or cross out who had their go and check who will take each role for the next session. This teaches children to tolerate not having the chosen role for a session and helps manage the anxiety by knowing the upcoming role.

For longer, more complicated models, the roles might be switched within with task, with a timer determining the switch or number of steps.

Simple: Level 1 – Car

Medium: Level 3:

 

The above are sample devised by a Speech Therapist.

Alternatively, there are a range of Lego packs which can be found in stores and the accompanying plans for models can be used, especially when children are working at a higher level or for older children who want to make more age appropriate models.

Lego™ therapy is particularly suited to children with ASC but some do not respond to Lego™ and the approach can be used to develop the social skills of other children too. The approach can be adapted to make jewellery and decorate biscuits too, to give just two alternatives.

Jewellery version:

All photographs courtesy of Daisy Hope – Speech Therapist

 

Further reading and links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/lego-based-therapy-children-with-autism-social-skills_uk_5721efb9e4b06bf544e15ddf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-28698819