Lego therapy is a play based piece of intervention which focuses on developing collaborative play skills. It was introduced by Dr Daniel LeGoff in 2004. It is predominately used with children who have Autism or social interaction difficulties. However, it can be used with all children.
Lego therapy works on key areas of social interaction, such as; turn taking, listening, initiation, eye contact, problem solving and sharing. In addition to this it works on language concepts such as; size, prepositions and colours.
Within a therapy group an adult will set the ‘ground rules’ with children and facilitate if necessary. Each child is given a role. These are a builder, supplier and engineer. In addition to this there may be a director role too. Each role contributes towards the success of the Lego model being made.
Language and complexity of Lego models can be easily adapted to meet the need of the group.
My experience with Lego Therapy
It wasn’t until I had been working as a Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) for about two years, when myself and a number of colleagues were introduced to Lego therapy on an Autism training day. Leaving the training I felt inspired and ready to make a change in the school that I was working in.
I set to work introducing Lego therapy. I decided to introduce it to a class who had found it hard to engage in therapy intervention previously. The children were 14-16 years in age and had Autism and severe learning difficulties. It was a success! They were fully engaged in therapy. By the end of the block of therapy the children were initiating interaction, turn taking, using verbal language or more use of their alternative augmentative communication (AAC) devices, understanding colours, size and location.
This success then got me thinking ‘how can I use the same principles to support generalisation?’ It is amazing how many games I managed to adapt, incorporating similar roles and skills as Lego therapy, supporting generalisation. I also identified and planned with teachers (using Lego therapy principles) setting up communication cafes, practising functional, community based language and social skills. This then empowered children to generalise skills out in community cafes.
It has been a truly fantastic piece of therapy to use. It has had a significant impact on children’s social interaction and language skills in a range of settings that I have worked in over the years.
A helpful book that I have read is call ‘Lego Based Therapy: How to build social competence through Lego based clubs for children with Autism and related conditions’ by Daniel B. LeGoff, Gina Gómez de la Cuesta, GW Krauss, and Simon Baron-Cohen.