Play therapy is proven to be an effective method in dealing with many behavioral and emotional problems in children. In many psychological centers, in different parts of the world, play therapy is practiced with children that are affected by some physical or mental disease. One of the most popular types of play therapy is the one that includes the iconic LEGO building bricks, one of the most favourite children’s toys.
The positive effects of LEGO on the development of children’s motor, social and cognitive skills have been proven many years ago. In the recent years, researches are showing that the LEGO therapy has a positive impact on children with special needs, especially for children with autism. In respect of play therapy with LEGO Australia psychologists point out several advantages and benefits from this therapy. Practice has shown that LEGO therapy is very beneficial for children with special needs because it helps them to:
- Develop their social skills and cope within a group of children or family members easily;
- Accept themselves as unique creatures and respect the others in their surrounding;
- Learn how to express emotions, as a response of their feelings triggered from outside;
- To develop consciousness for their and other people’s feelings and learn how to react;
- To improve their existing abilities and learn new things.
How Is LEGO Therapy Performed
When it comes to play therapy with LEGO Australia psychology centers offer specific therapies, which are tailored around the specific needs of a group of children. The type of therapy depends mainly on the disability that a group of children share, such as mobility impairment, deafness, blindness or certain mental disability. However, most of the LEGO play therapies share the same format, which consist of three main steps.
First Step: Setting the Rules For Playing
Before the play begins, the adult facilitator (specially trained professional) that will supervise the children’s play, sets the rules of the play. But, he/she must make sure that every child understands the rules and the goal of the building project. The rules and the whole project should be suited to the children’s level of physical and mental development, because it is important for all kids to take equal part in the game.
Second Step: Assigning Roles
Most of the different toys for autistic boys/girls and LEGO stores offer, come with a unique story that includes several different roles. To make the play meaningful and more amusing, before the beginning of the play, the adult leader of the game assigns a role to each of the kids from the group. Also, the roles may be assigned regarding the participation of each kid in the play. For example, one kid can be the engineer, another can be the builder and other can be supplier or director.
Third Step: Determining and Sticking To the Core Principles
Sticking to the principles of the play is the key to the effectiveness of the therapy. It is the therapist that sets the principles of the play, and each kid is supposed to act in accordance to them. In general, the principles should apply to the time frame in which a specific task should be performed, the type of communication that is preferred (verbal or non-verbal) and so on.