Skip to main content

Article: Using Lego Therapy to Help Aspergers Children with their Social Skills

This article appeared in the UK Times Yesterday

Here's how to build your hopes
Parents of autistic children need not despair. It has been proved that therapies using Lego can be an enormous help

The article doesn't say anything particularly new but reaffirms the fact that when a group of children are collaborating on a project which is of interest to them - and when there are firmly set boundaries of responsibility which enforce the need to communicate, then the children will communicate.

And of course, practice makes perfect.

You could easily adapt the instructions in the article for siblings or very small groups;
One child acted as the “engineer” and described the instructions, another as the “supplier” finding the correct pieces, and the “builder” put the pieces together. After a time, they would swap roles.
I might try this at home - it could stop the fighting over lego between my children.

Computer Games
The article hints a bit but stops short of citing other cases where such interaction would promote communication. Here's a good one I've discovered with my own children - computer games.

In particular, I've found that the "team" (co-op) games where players have to help each other, are much better at fostering communications between children than games where they compete against each other. The best of these types of games are the lego series; Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman (all of which are particularly suitable for younger children). There are also good examples in the more "grown up games" like Eragon, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

Some Positives
The article goes on to say a few positive things, including one thing I've been saying all the time about the importance of obsessions;
“In the past, it was believed that obsessions got in the way of learning. Now, if a child is preoccupied with a system of learning, like maths, music or Lego, we say they should take it as far as they can, because they might be the passport to a job or a friendship. So we're turning that idea on its head and using the interest or obsession to help the child,” he says.
You really need to be building on the child's strengths and obsessions (special interests) to overcome any weaknesses. Sure, a lot of obsessions seem useless at first;

For example: Star Wars
It's fiction, so what could a child possibly learn from it?

  1. English : Have the child write about Star Wars; eg: "How would Luke have felt when he returned to his homestead?"

  2. Maths: This can be much more than simply "count the spaceships" - in later years, you can adjust a child's work to do trigonometry

  3. Science: More than simply space. You can teach about ecology (what would grow on tatoonie), chemisty, geology and physics.

  4. Art: Drawing spacships, people and landscapes.
There's a lot more you could do but since this is only an example, I'll leave it there.

Am I suggesting that schools change the curriculum for one student? No, of course not. However teachers and parents can suggest to children that they look at things differently - particularly when the child is struggling or disinterested.

To ignore the obsession is to ignore the greatest source of potential in the child.


Popular posts from this blog

Why Do Aspies Suddenly Back-Off in Relationships? (Part 1)

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked is why an aspie (or suspected aspie) suddenly goes "cold" and backs off on an otherwise good relationship. It's a difficult question and the answers would vary considerably from one person to another and would depend greatly on the circumstances. Nevertheless, I'll try to point out some possibilities. Negative Reasons I generally like to stay positive on this blog and assume that people are not necessarily "evil" but simply misguided. Unfortunately, I do have to acknowledge that there are some people out there who take advantage of others. I read a book a few years ago on "sociopaths in the workplace" and I was stunned by the figures. They suggested that sociopaths were so common that most workplaces (small business) had at least one or two. The fact is that there are lots of people out there who really feel very little for others and who are very manipulative. I'd like to say that aspies are

Why do Aspies Suddenly Back Off in Relationships (Part 2)

In part one, we looked at the role that Change Resistance plays in causing aspies to suddenly go "cold" in otherwise good relationships. This time, I want to look at self esteem and depression; Self Esteem The aspie relationship with themselves is tedious at best. People with Asperger's commonly suffer from low self esteem. As discussed in earlier posts, this low self esteem often results from years of emotional turmoil resulting from their poor social skills. Aspies are often their own worst enemy. They can over analyze situations and responses in an effort to capture lost nonverbal communication. This often causes them to invent problems and to imagine replies. Everything made up by aspies will tend to be tainted with their own self image. This is one of reasons that people with Asperger's will sometimes decide that they are not good enough for their partner and that they must let them go. Sometimes, the aspie will develop a notion of chivalry or self-sacri

Aspie Myths - "He Won't Miss Me"

I apologise for the excessive "male-orientated" viewpoint in this post. I tried to keep it neutral but somehow, it just works better when explained from a male viewpoint. Here's a phrase that I've seen repeated throughout the comments on this blog on several occasions; "I know that he won't miss me when I'm gone because he's aspie" Today, we're going to (try to) bust that myth; Individuals I'll start off with a reminder that everyone is an individual. If all aspies were completely alike and predictible, they'd be a stereotype but they're not. Each is shaped by their background, their upbringing, their beliefs and their local customs. An aspie who grew up with loud abusive parents has a reasonable chance of becoming loud and abusive themselves because in some cases, that's all they know. That's how they think adults are supposed to behave. In other cases, aspies who grew up in those circumstances do a complete a