Understanding LEGO Therapy for Children with Autism
LEGO therapy involves the use of LEGO bricks and toys for teaching skills to children with autism or developmental disorders. The concept has been found effective in many cases but is still new to India. Today we will try and understand more about LEGO related fun and learn activity.
Children are known to learn faster and more effectively if they find the lessons interesting and fun. Many therapists use this fact to create learning methods that involve toys and play activity that don’t feel boring or dull. This helps the children identify their areas of strength and work around them to learn new skills.
When children work in areas of their strengths, or at tasks they like, they are naturally more successful at it. This success builds confidence, which in turn will encourage them to try non-preferred tasks. The focus should always be on strengths and abilities, rather than on disabilities. Padma Shastry, Founder-Director Samam Vidya
LEGO bricks are popular toys across the world and are much enjoyed by children and also adults of all ages. The attractively colored bricks come in different sizes, shapes that are tempting to children. Many therapists now use LEGO as a learning method for children with autism.
Some of the benefits observed are as follows:
LEGO bricks are fun to look at and children find them extremely interesting. Children do not have to be forced and only a little encouragement is needed to start
the play and learn method.
Playing with LEGO helps improve fine motor skills and children learn to control their hand movements.
Shy children or those who prefer to stay away from a group find the LEGO activity fulfilling and may feel the urge to bond with others while creating with the toys. This improves social skills and children with autism learn to sit with other kids and involve in similar activities.
Creating shapes, identifying colors are some other skills that are also learned.
Children are motivated to look at what others are creating and also to use their own imaginations while building stuff from the colorful bricks.
Connecting different parts helps learn problem solving skills while also letting them try and use various techniques.
- LEGO therapy mostly involves a gameplay where kids are required to work in collaboration with each other. As this needs communication, it aids development of the interactive skills.
Neena Ray a parent says, ”We have tried therapy and at times my son is not interested. So we don’t push him and let him feel comfortable first. Every child respond differently to activities. “
While the therapy has been found to have many positive effects on children with autism, it may not be as effective for each child with autism. Parents can seek help of a therapist to understand if the therapy is good for the child and then decide on going ahead. A children with autism should not be forced to be a part of an activity they dislike as that may cause emotional stress and breakdown.
It is advisable to let the children play with LEGO bricks or toys under adult supervision to ensure their safety.