How Lego therapy can be a ‘massive win’ for kids with autism and their families


Published

August 04, 2019 08: 50: 48

Seth Lester puts the last block of Lego on a Jurassic Park-themed dinosaur, among the developments he is preparing to show at the Autism Lego Exposition in Mackay, north Queensland.

Bottom line:

  • Lego therapy groups are becoming a medical tool to assist with autism spectrum condition (ASD) treatment
  • Therapists state kids with ASD are more happy to talk and socialise with others while playing with Lego
  • Moms and dads state their kids’s interaction abilities have actually enhanced because beginning Lego group

The yearly occasion, which draws numerous kids and grownups alike, is held prior to Christmas.

For 13-year-old Seth, it’s the emphasize of his year.

“Some people think people like me can’t do that much,” he stated.

“But having these people go to the Lego day and see all these people’s creations and being amazed at what these people can achieve, it’s really good.”

After being detected with autism spectrum condition 4 years earlier at age 9, Seth has actually been going to a weekly Lego group specifically for kids with autism.

It’s a possibility to hang around with kids who like Lego as much as he does, along with his mum Melanie Lester, who is here weekly.

“I don’t really spend time with my family a lot,” Seth stated.

“I’m simply secured my space with my electronic devices, [but] I simply come here weekly and do this, so it’s a truly enjoyable activity.”

Little information aid kids grow

At the start of a Mackay Autism Lego Group conference, the space is filled with boxes and boxes of Lego, thoroughly separated into colours.

There suffices of the Lego, contributed by the household of a previous group member, so kids do not need to tear their developments down at the end of the session.

Ms Lester stated all of these information were created with the convenience of the group members in mind.

“We found most autistic kids are very habitual,” she stated.

“Having [the Lego] burglarized colours is alleviating their senses.”

Ms Lester stated her kid had actually gone through a visible modification because signing up with the Lego group.

“Social inclusion, he’s actually getting out of the house, meeting new people,” she stated.

“He’s a little bit more outgoing, he’s more willing to talk to people — especially where Lego is concerned — but it has actually helped him feel like he fits in somewhere.”

Taking abilities beyond the Lego group

Building Lego has actually assisted Seth with his schoolwork and in classes.

“Fine motor skills is definitely the big one,” Ms Lester stated.

“Doing PE was a struggle, he couldn’t catch the balls, even down to holding a pencil was a bit of an issue for him, so this has really helped.”

By going to the group, Ms Lester has actually satisfied other moms and dads whose kids are on the autism spectrum.

“Someone can come in and go, ‘My kid’s doing this’,” she stated.

“Nine times out of 10 you’ll find someone who’s been through something similar and you don’t feel so alone.”

NDIS-supported Lego therapy

Lego therapy has actually been utilized as a medical tool by therapists because 2003, when American neuropsychologist Daniel LeGoff observed how generally shy autistic kids would connect and socialise with peers while playing with Lego.

Cairns physical therapist Lydia Irvine-Collins assists in a weekly Lego group therapy session, which utilizes evidence-based methods to engage autistic kids through Lego.

Unlike the more casual group in Mackay, the National Impairment Insurance Coverage Plan (NDIS)-supported Lego sessions are medically structured to motivate kids to enhance their interaction and cooperation abilities.

“The goal of the group is that they work together, they learn how to describe the Lego pieces, to explain them to each other,” Ms Irvine-Collins stated.

“A great deal of our [goals] are around self-regulation, so handling feelings and operating in a group, however likewise a lot about language abilities, of ‘How do we describe pieces in a manner in which others comprehend?'”

In medical Lego therapy, each kid is designated a function in the structure procedure, with each function based on other individuals.

“Generally, you get an architect or an engineer — that is the person that has the instructions, they’re the one describing pieces,” Ms Irvine-Collins stated.

“You get your supplier, who has to find the different pieces, and then you get a builder, that’s the one who puts it together.”

She stated she had actually observed substantial modification in individuals over the 10-week course.

“I remember working with two boys once where … they were able to problem-solve and negotiate who was able to do what roles. They were able to decide when to swap roles themselves,” she stated.

“That was a enormous win for them and for their families and for us to be able to witness.

“It’s truly excellent for their own self-confidence and self-esteem to seem like they can do those things and can working with others.”

Subjects:

autism-spectrum-disorder,

children,

brain-and-nervous-system,

charities-and-community-organisations,

disabilities,

medical-research,

psychology,

human-interest,

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