Parents and teachers alike know children who can play with Lego for hours, despite seeming unable to transfer the same level of concentration to other tasks.
It was only a matter of time before someone developed the idea of using Lego in a more structured and therapeutic way to develop communication skills. Daniel LeGoff, a psychologist in the USA, was the first to explore Lego Therapy and it is now becoming more widely used for a range of reasons. It is a wonderful tool to facilitate turn taking, speaking and listening, grammar and vocabulary development, problem solving and social interaction skills. It can be used on a 1:1 basis or with a larger group of children in a highly interactive and fun way
How it works:
- 3 roles or ‘jobs’ are established; ‘the supplier’, ‘the architect’ and ‘the builder’
- The architect holds a picture of the finished model and must tell the supplier what pieces to give to the builder, for example ‘give the builder 3 small red bricks’
- The architect then tells the builder what to do with the pieces. For example ‘stack the red bricks on top of each other to make a tower’
- The architect must think carefully about the instructions they will give and reflect on the needs of the listener.
- The supplier and builder must use their listening skills to carry out the instruction, solving problems that they encounter along the way.
- Students take it in turns to take on the various roles in order to successfully work together to make an end product.
I first saw Lego Therapy used with a child who was reluctant to talk in front of others. I observed how the therapist helped the child to take on the different roles in the process, such as the ‘architect’ to give instructions to someone else about how to build a model. This supported him to have the confidence to begin speaking in front of others in a structured and safe environment.
This year, we have begun trialing Lego Therapy at BSG with Primary students, with a particular emphasis on developing expressive language and social skills.
When students were asked what they like about taking part in these activities and what skills they were learning, they reported the following;
“It’s fun….we can communicate with our friend and play Lego”
“We have got better at speaking, communicating and team work”.
Feedback has been very positive and we look forward to developing this further across the school.
Written by Vicky Whieldon, Speech and Language Therapist & Learning Support
Vicky works across all Key Stages at BSG, offering advice to parents and teachers, along with speech and language assessments and therapy. Please contact Vicky if you would like more information; firstname.lastname@example.org