What is LEGO Therapy?

LEGO® Therapy is a social development program that uses LEGO-based activities to support the development of social skills within a group setting.

LEGO Therapy was developed in 2004 by US psychologist Daniel Goff. He was inspired by watching two of his clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder play with LEGO in his waiting room and displaying positive social interactions.

Whilst originally developed for children with autism, LEGO Therapy has since been found to benefit children with a variety of communication and social developmental difficulties.

What are the benefits of Lego Therapy?

Playing with LEGO in a therapy setting promotes social interaction, turn-taking skills, sharing, collaborative problem-solving and the learning of concepts. It can be used to target goals around social skills, language and motor skills.

Children with autism sometimes find it difficult to understand what is expected of them in a social situation, particularly within unstructured play activities. LEGO Therapy provides a highly structured environment where each individual plays a specific role within the group. This can help children with autism feel calm and relaxed as they are doing something that they enjoy and know exactly what to expect, and what is expected of them.

At Therapy Focus we regularly host LEGO Therapy groups to help our clients work towards their goals.

What happens during a LEGO Therapy session?

During a LEGO Therapy session 3 or 4 children of similar ages and abilities work together to build a LEGO model following a clear diagram.

Each child takes on 1 of 3 specific roles to do this:

The Engineer is in charge of reading and relaying the instructions. The Engineer must tell the Supplier what pieces to retrieve and tell the Builder how to build the model.

The Supplier is in charge of finding the correct LEGO pieces. The Supplier must listen to the Engineer and figure out what piece to retrieve, and then given these pieces to the Builder.

The Builder is in charge of physically building the model. The Builder must listen to the instructions provided by the Engineer, and receive the pieces that are retrieved by the Supplier.

Using this format provides each child with an opportunity to practice and develop a wide range of skills, including language skills (in both giving and receiving instructions) turn taking, negotiating, sharing and collaborative problem solving. It also encourages children to be self-reflective and give constructive feedback to their peers.

Can you do LEGO Therapy at home?

Absolutely! Dust off some of those LEGO sets and get the family involved with LEGO Therapy at home.

Don’t have any LEGO sets at home? That’s okay! If you have random LEGO bricks search ‘simple LEGO builds’ on Google and you’ll be provided with a range of different things to build.

Two, three, or four people can join in this activity with each person taking on a fun role!

Playing with 3 people

First, choose someone to be the Engineer. This person will be the gatekeeper of the LEGO project (the instruction booklet). The other members of the group are not allowed to see the project book. This means The Engineer will need to use their communication skills to describe the pieces needed and how to put them together.

  • The Engineer provides instructions to both the Supplier and the Builder
  • The Engineer will describe the size, shape, colour, how many pieces, and how many bumps the LEGO pieces need
  • The Engineer will provide instructions for how to build the project. For example, the Engineer could say “Put the white piece in the middle of the blue roof” if you were building a house.

Second, choose someone to be the Supplier. This is a pivotal role in the world of construction.

  • The Supplier is responsible for ensuring that they have the correct pieces of LEGO for the Builder
  • The Supplier can ‘check in’ with the Engineer by showing them the LEGO piece and confirming it is correct
  • If it is correct, they pass it to the Builder
  • If it is incorrect, the Supplier can ask for more information from the Engineer

Last but not least, choose someone to play the most coveted role in the project – the Builder.

  • The builder is responsible for building the project
  • The Builder listens to instructions provided by the Engineer for building
  • The Builder must work with the Engineer to ensure what they are building is the same as what’s in the project booklet

Three boys doing LEGO Therapy with a therapist

Playing with 2 people

If there are only 2 of you, one person can take on 2 roles. For example, one person may be the Supplier and Builder and the other person the Engineer.

Playing with 4 people

If you have 4 people then the Foreman role can be introduced. The Foreman makes sure the team are working together to build their project. This person can share encouraging words, compliment others, or help someone with their role.

For more information about LEGO Therapy or our services for children and young people with disability, contact us on 1300 135 373.