Jogo Behaviour Support Blog
Using LEGO®-based Therapy to Support Students Experiencing Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties.
LEGO®-based therapy helps children to learn and practice social skills through facilitated, collaborative, group play. LEGO®-based therapy was originally developed as an intervention to develop social competence in children with autism however, it is thought that it may also be helpful for children with communication difficulties, anxiety and depression (LeGoff, Gomez de la Cuesta, Krauss and Baron-Cohen, 2014). After attending a one-day course in LEGO®-based therapy run by Dr Elinor Brett last summer, Sonia and I could immediately see the potential in this method of teaching for our students. Since then we have worked with several schools in Northamptonshire providing training and support to staff as well as running groups ourselves.
Of course, working with students who are experiencing social, emotional and mental health difficulties rarely runs smoothly (even when the group is led by a so-called “expert”!) Sometimes students need to practice the basic skills of turn taking 1:1 with an adult before joining a small group. However, I have found that even when students become angry or upset (usually when they are not chosen to be the “builder”) the lure of completing a model together as a team has been enough to re-engage them with the activity.
In my opinion LEGO®-based therapy sessions provide a valuable space where students learn to ‘give and take’ in order to build something together. As students learn that greater levels of co-operation lead to more exciting models as well as additional time to complete freestyle building, they reinforce vital skills needed to form meaningful friendships within the safe boundaries of a small group setting.
By Rachael Taylor