What is Lego® therapy?
Lego® therapy is a social development program for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other social communication difficulties. It uses children's love of playing with Lego® to help them develop communication and social skills.
Who is Lego® therapy for?
Lego® therapy is for children aged 6-16 years with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other social communication difficulties.
What is Lego® therapy used for?
Lego® therapy is used to teach children skills like turn-taking, sharing, listening, conversation, teamwork, shared attention and problem-solving.
Where does Lego® therapy come from?
Lego® therapy was developed in the early 2000s by Dan LeGoff, a clinical neuropsychologist in Philadelphia in the United States.
LeGoff noticed that many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were more interested in interacting with each other if they were playing with Lego®. He set up groups for children with ASD to learn social skills while playing collaboratively with Lego®.
What is the idea behind Lego® therapy?
When children play with Lego®, they're more likely to interact with each other through collaborative play. Children who might not be keen to go to a social group might go to a Lego® group, because they like building with Lego®. The shared focus on building helps children practise social skills while having fun.
What does Lego® therapy involve?
Trained facilitators run Lego® therapy group sessions. The sessions usually run once a week for 1-2 hours.
In each session, the children work together to build a model following instructions. Each child is assigned a role. There's usually:
- an engineer, who has the instructions
- a supplier, who has the bricks
- a builder, who builds the model
- a foreman or director, who's makes sure everyone works as a team.
The children take turns playing the different roles, and together they build the model. Towards the end of the session the children have some time to build whatever they want.
Costs vary, but you can expect to pay around $50-60 per session.
Does Lego® therapy work?
A few studies have shown that Lego® therapy helps improve children's social skills. But more high-quality studies are needed.
Who practises Lego® therapy?
Psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, play therapists and education specialists can all be trained to use Lego® therapy.
Parent education, training, support and involvement
Your involvement is just taking your child to a weekly Lego® therapy group.
Where can you find a practitioner?
Your local autism association or local council can help you find a Lego® therapy group.
If you're interested in Lego® therapy, it's a good idea to talk about it with your GP or one of the other professionals working with your child. You could also talk with your NDIA planner, NDIS early childhood partner or NDIS local area coordination partner, if you have one.There are many treatments for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They range from those based on behaviour and development to those based on medicine or alternative therapy. Our article on types of interventions for children with ASD takes you through the main treatments, so you can better understand your child's options.