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LEGO (R)-Based Therapy


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 1.1. The Development of LEGO (R) Therapy. 1.2. Group Therapy: The LEGO (R) Club. 2. Implementing LEGO (R) Therapy. 2.1. General Principles. 2.1.1. What is LEGO (R) Therapy? 2.1.2. Who is LEGO (R) Therapy for? 2.1.3. What qualifications do you need to run LEGO (R) Therapy groups? 2.1.4. The main principles of LEGO (R) Therapy. 3. LEGO (R) therapy levels of intervention. 3.1. Level One - Individual Therapy. 3.1.1. Pivotal Skills. 3.1.2. Therapeutic Activities for Building Pivotal Skills. 3.1.3. Building Skills. 3.2. Level Two - Collaborative Building with One Peer. 3.2.1. Collaborative Set Building. 3.2.2. Collaborative Freestyle. 3.3. Level Three - Collaborative Building with Two Peers. 3.3.1. Set Building. 3.3.2. Freestyle Building. 3.4. Level Four - Social Communication. 3.4.1. Individual Therapy. 3.4.2. 'Check-in'. 4. Structure of a LEGO (R) Therapy Group Session. 4.1. Initial greeting. 4.2. Group review and discussion. 4.3. Role and task assignment. 4.4. Group-based semi-structured activities. 4.5. Less structured, creative time. 4.6. Clean-up time. 4.7. Farewell and parent review. 4.8. Planning and evaluating the sessions. 5. Effective and Ineffective Procedures in LEGO (R) Therapy. 6. Behavior Management and Rewards. 6.1. LEGO (R) Club Rules. 6.2. LEGO (R) Points. 6.3. Use of Time-Out. 6.4. "Rules of Cool". 6.5. The LEGO (R) Club Level System. 6.6. LEGO (R) Levels. 6.6.1. LEGO Helper. 6.6.2. LEGO Builder. 6.6.3. LEGO Creator. 6.6.4. LEGO Master. 6.6.5. LEGO Genius. 7. Setting up your own LEGO (R) therapy groups. 7.1. The Permanent LEGO (R) Room. 7.1.1. Physical Layout. 7.1.2. Establishing the Structure. 7.2. Temporary Set-Up. 7.3. Portable Materials. 8. Specific Materials and Arrangements. 8.1. Choosing Materials: sets with instructions. 8.2. Choosing Materials: freestyle LEGO (R). 8.3. Maintaining Materials. 9. Assessment Procedures. 9.1. Initial Assessment. 9.1.1. Initial Interview. Building a small set. Free-style building. 9.2. Initial Observation in Natural Setting.9.3. Follow-Up Assessments. 9.4. Termination/Graduation. 10. Conclusion. References. Appendix A. LEGO (R) Therapy Intake Assessment. Appendix B. Structured Observation. Appendix C. Lego Therapy Log and Session Plan and Evaluation.

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A complete guide to setting up and running a LEGO club for children with autism spectrum disorders

About the Author

Daniel B. LeGoff is a licensed and board-certified pediatric neuropsychologist, and the pioneer of LEGO (R) Therapy. A psychology graduate of the University of Winnipeg, Canada, Dr LeGoff received Master's and Doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He then completed residency and post-doctoral training at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, and the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu. He specializes in the assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral conditions in infants, children, and adolescents.

Gina Gomez De La Cuesta completed her PhD in 2008 at the Cambridge University Autism Research Centre, running and evaluating LEGO (R) therapy under the supervision of Daniel LeGoff, Simon Baron-Cohen and Ayla Humphrey. She is a trained teacher and has worked at the National Autistic Society as Action Research Leader. She runs training for professionals interested in LEGO (R) Therapy when she can and has run LEGO (R) Clubs in schools and clinical settings. She is now in her second year of Clinical Psychology training at the University of East Anglia.

GW Krauss completed his graduate training at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the Widener University Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology. Dr Krauss has provided play and group therapy for children and adults with social and neurodevelopmental deficits since 1995. He has worked on the development and implementation LEGO (R) Therapy with Dr LeGoff for the past six years. Dr Krauss integrates the approach into the social learning programming for students with autism and related conditions at the Y.A.L.E. School and Clinic in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA where he is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist.

Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Trinity College. He is also Director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, and runs a clinic for adults with Asperger Syndrome. Professor Baron-Cohen is involved in collaborative research on LEGO (R) Therapy.


The best kind of therapy is when it's so much fun that the child doesn't know it's happening. LEGO (R)-Based Therapy fits that bill. The authors have left no stone unturned in developing a systematic social intervention. They provide a comprehensive, step-by-step program with documented improvements in social competence. -- Lynn Koegel, PhD, Clinical Director, Koegel Autism Center, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
Everyone loves LEGO (R) - including children on the autism spectrum. But did you know that through playing with LEGO (R) in a social setting you can draw out autistic children's hidden ability to cooperate with others? Here is a practical guide to making players come together and create together by the sheer magic of LEGO (R). -- Professor Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London
A marvellous book that focuses on using a frequent interest as a way of access. It will be of interest to parents and educators alike. -- Fred R. Volkmar, MD, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology, and Director, Yale University Child Study Center, New Haven, CT
LEGO (R) pieces can be used to construct models, but can also be used to construct social skills. LEGO (R)-based Clubs will become increasingly popular with children who have an Autism Spectrum Condition as an enjoyable social activity that is actually therapeutic. -- Tony Attwood, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Minds & Hearts Clinic, Australia, and author of The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
The book on LEGO-Based Therapy defines a particular therapeutic approach. It is a 'social development programme' according to its authors, and its aim is to provide a social development intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs). It is a 'collaborative therapy in which children work together to build LEGO models'... LEGO-Based Therapy teaches turn taking, sharing, making eye contact when needed and social rules adherence (using greetings)...Children are encouraged to swap roles and tasks and engage in intelligent conflict resolution and social problem solving with very little adult intervention. -- Action for Aspergers
It goes on to give guidance on how to set up a group, the day to day running and resources, how to assess pupils suitability, assessing progress as well as the environment. The book contains templates to use to support your LEGO (R) groups as well as great tips... I found the book incredibly useful and more accessible than the LEGO (R) therapy manual. As county trainer it is a book I regularly recommend to all the schools I support in setting up LEGO (R) based interventions as their go to guide. -- Nicki Jennings, County Trainer * SEBDA (Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties) *

This book is primarily a manual for those
wishing to set up a LEGO-based club with
comprehensive information and resources for
each step. It also details research regarding
LEGO building as a useful medium for social
development... This book also makes interesting reading for
anyone concerned with building social
competence in children with autism and related
conditions since it clearly demonstrates, both
through research and anecdotal accounts, ways
in which this can be achieved...

-- Gemma Roxanne West, Student Play Therapist * BAPT - Play Therapy *
LEGO (R)-Based Therapy is a social development intervention for children with autism. It has been specifically designed to focus on these children's strengths in a social context and to make learning fun. This well-researched book is for professionals working with children on the autism spectrum or any child who needs to improve their social communication skills... The basic idea is that children work together in a group to put lego sets together. This encourages skill such as social communication, social support, social problem solving and conflict resolution skills... The authors have outlined effective strategies to do this, and highlighted some ineffective ones to avoid. -- Sarah Combe, teacher and Senco * Special Children *

This is the long awaited manual, which clearly outlines the delivery and rationale for the use of
LEGO (R)-Based Therapy to support pupils with autism spectrum disorders or related conditions in developing their social interaction skills. written by the pioneer of the approach, Dr. Daniel B LeGoff... the authors ... offer advice on the selection and storage of materials..., positive behaviour management... the book will prove to be an invaluable guide to practitioners, ranging from child, clinical and educational psychologists to teachers, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists who wish to set up their own LEGO (R)-Based Therapy.

-- Miranda Andras, specialist teacher for children with autism spectrum conditions * GAP - Good Autism Practice *

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