The ATPF LEGO Therapy Program provides parents, children with ASD, and siblings an opportunity to interact in an innovative and meaningful way.
LEGO®-Based Therapy is a social development program developed by Dr. Jennifer Oke, Psy.D., that helps children and young individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other related social communication difficulties. The program capitalizes on the highly structured and predictable nature of building with LEGO®sets. More than merely playing with LEGO’s®, therapy includes structure requiring children to communicate, express their feelings, problem-solve, and take the perspective of others.
LEGO®-Based Therapy is a collaborative model where children work together in interdependent roles to build LEGO creations. Because LEGO's are multi-sensory and versatile, this activity can be tailored to suit the individual needs of each child. From Duplo to classic LEGO's, there are LEGO products to suit all ages and all abilities.
This model can be used in individual therapy or to build collaboration with parents and siblings. LEGO®-Based Therapy requires children to work together to build in pairs or teams of three or more. Because they are needed to communicate both verbally and non-verbally, children build and grow their social skills, including turn-taking, sharing, working together as a team, joint attention, and conversational skills. The therapy gives natural opportunities to practice social problem solving, negotiating, and compromising and resolving conflicts.
Want to try it at home? Here are the Different Roles in LEGO®-Based Therapy:
• The “Engineer” is responsible for looking at the visual directions. They describe each individual LEGO brick required to the “Parts Supplier.” They also tell the “Builder” where the bricks belong.
• The “Parts Supplier” is responsible for listening to the description provided by the “Engineer.”They then find the correct pieces and give them one at a time to the “Builder.”
• The “Builder” is responsible for taking the parts from the “Parts Supplier” and following the directions given by the “Engineer.”
Roles are switched every so often so that each group member takes a turn in each role. The number of steps in the direction’s booklet is divided by the number of group members (e.g.,switching a third of the way through the instructions – for a set with 90 steps, the participants would switch roles at step 30 and then again at step 60). In individual therapy or groups of two, one person takes the role of Engineer, and the second is both the Parts Supplier and Builder.
The ATPF LEGO® Parent-Child Interactive Group has proved to be an amazing way for kids and their parents to have fun while building critical social interaction, verbal, and non-verbal communication! During the COVID-19 pandemic, Program Director Santana Getz has been providing LEGO Therapy Workshops virtually via Zoom, where children share their LEGO creations and have the opportunity to practice social communication with their peers. Since 2017, this program has served 334 children and over 170 families to date.
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