Lego Therapy for Children with Autism

Does Lego hold the key to improving the social skills of children with autism?

A Cambridge specialist thinks so, and is running classes for people interested in finding out more about ‘brick therapy’.

Dr Gina Gomez, a trainee clinical psychologist, has been an advocate of the system since discovering it while studying at Cambridge University.

“Children with autism often find social interaction difficult,” she said. “This is a way of getting them working together in a non-threatening environment.”

Lego-based therapy was the brain child of Dr Dan Legoff, an American clinical neuropsychologist.

“I met Dr Legoff just after I’d started my PhD at Cambridge University’s Autism Centre,” said Gina.

“When I was at school I volunteered on MENCAP residential holidays, helping a 17-year-old girl who was autistic. She was a really special girl, and ever since then I’ve had an interest in autism.

“I went out to America for a week to learn more about the therapy, and once I’d finished my PhD I started running groups. It’s taken off from there.”

Gina’s success with Lego therapy has led her to leading sessions at the Science Museum in London, as well as speaking at a number of conferences. She said being part of a collaborative project can have a big impact on autistic children.

“One child has the instructions, and tells the second which blocks to find,” she said.

“The third then puts the model together. It allows them to have a joint focus, rather than working alone and they take it in turns to fulfill the different roles. Children tend to find it a lot more motivating and less intimidating than a normal social skills group – this way they’re just going to Lego club.”

Anyone interested in training as Lego therapist can attend Gina’s classes at the Moller Centre, Churchill College. See bricks-for-autism.co.uk for booking details.

This post originally appeared on Cambridge News.

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