Lego therapy supporting kids with additional needs

Research has shown that Lego-based therapy can help children develop their skills through play.

A love of LEGO® and play were great starting points for Lachlan’s achievements since joining the Lego Kids program at Gateways Support Services.

Six-year-old Lachlan – who loves playgrounds, bedtime stories, building cubby houses and, of course, playing with LEGO®, concludes each session feeling accomplished and more confident.

Susan registered her son for the program–designed for children who may experience social difficulties and/or developmental delays – hoping that the small group setting would help encourage his communication while also being part of a fun, social group.

“Lachlan has tried one-on-one therapy but isn’t usually keen to talk at all. He has friends at school and speaks with them, so I thought the small group therapy setting where there’s less intensity on just him could be helpful,” says Susan.

Lego Kids is an innovative, evidence-based therapy playgroup designed to use children’s interest in LEGO® play and their strengths and interests to develop communication and social skills. 

According to research conducted in the UK and USA, LEGO®-based therapy has been shown to help develop and reinforce language, play, and social skills in children with communication and social developmental difficulties.

The new group for six-to-eight-year-olds, designed and delivered by Gateways Therapists, focuses on social thinking and imaginative play and uses LEGO® to improve children’s turn-taking, sharing, listening, joint problem solving, teamwork and communication skills. 

With the help of the Gateways team, the children agree on a project and are all assigned different roles, including ‘engineer’, ‘builder’ and ‘supplier’. The roles are then rotated through the group during the task.

“Lachlan has really enjoyed it. He likes the structure because it’s clear what is expected of each child,” says Susan.

Gateways Occupational Therapist, Emily, says Lego Kids is an evidence-based way of working towards children’s goals that is engaging, play-based and therapeutic.

“Children learn best when they are having fun and see value in what they are doing. We structure the activities to allow for growth and the children’s imagination and play to develop,” says Emily.

Lego Kids is also a great program for kids to form friendships in a safe and structured environment.

“There are opportunities for children to build long-lasting friendships with peers and for families to build relationships and support networks with other parents,” says Emily.

Susan says Lachlan is proud of his achievements so far and enjoys playing with LEGO® with the other kids in the program.

“He was so proud to have spoken and contributed during the videoconference session during the lockdown,” says Susan.

She says the therapists at Gateways have been lovely, and she appreciates the progress notes provided within 48 hours of each session.

‘I’m impressed with the clear and detailed progress notes that they send me after every session,’ says Susan.

Find out more or register for Lego Kids via the therapy section of the Gateways Support Services website

[Break out box: Lego Kids aims to promote children’s social interaction and learning, including:

  • Communication skills
  • Joint problem solving
  • Turn-taking
  • Sharing
  • Listening
  • Teamwork