LEGO®-based therapy helps children to learn and practise social skills through facilitated, collaborative, group play.
LEGO®-based therapy was created by psychologist Daniel LeGoff, who noticed that children with autism were more interested in interacting together when through the medium of LEGO® play materials. LEGO®-based therapy was established as a group intervention to promote social competence in children with autism and related conditions. LeGoff has also researched the effectiveness of the intervention.
LEGO®-based therapy originates from clinical settings but its use has been extended to schools. The school environment provides opportunities for practise and generalisation of social skills learnt in sessions, making school the ideal place to run LEGO®-based therapy sessions. Sessions last a minimum of an hour and should be run on a weekly basis with facilitation from a trained adult. Teaching assistants, teachers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and SENCOs are suitable facilitators.
Sessions are structured and rule governed, and children take it in turns to play one of three roles (the builder, the supplier or the engineer). Sessions consist of two parts; working together to build a set with instructions and ‘freestyle’ building. Freestyle building provides opportunities for more creative, naturalistic group play. Children have the opportunity to work towards rewards throughout the sessions and an emphasis is placed on promoting positive social behaviour.
LEGO®-Based Therapy has been successfully used in schools, community settings and outpatient clinical settings. Participation should always be voluntary.
Who is LEGO-based therapy suitable for?
LEGO®-based therapy has been found to be effective for children with autism and related conditions. LEGO®-Based Therapy has been used effectively with children aged 6- 16 years in research studies. LEGO®-based materials may not be suitable for younger children as they may have difficulty manipulating the bricks. The training will cover differentiation for younger children, children with additional Special Educational Needs, and children with fine motor skills difficulties.
Feedback from children
“It’s not just about me building, it’s about everyone building. I like being in a team.” (Year 4 girl with autism)
“It just really starts my week off well and makes me really really happy” (Year 6 boy with Asperger syndrome)