What is LEGO®-Based Therapy? Essentially, it uses children’s natural love of LEGO® to motivate them to engage socially with peers. It can help with symptoms such as aloofness, shyness, rigidity and/or anxiety.
Research has shown children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), anxiety and depression can significantly improve their social competence through this therapy (LeGoff, 2004).
By providing an effective and engaging learning environment, your child can develop and master social skills. These include:
- Turn taking;
- Problem-solving; and
It is totally awesome, because children learn in an authentic way. This is due to the natural play environment, which makes it easier for your child to generalise their new skills.
In particular, children with ASD have trouble taking what they’ve learnt and applying it to different situations. This is what we call “generalising”. So the beauty here is that they are engaged socially with peers, making it easier to use the same skills in other social encounters!
Ok, I agree, it’s awesome! Where can I sign up?
We offer a LEGO®-based social skills group, called Brick-by-Brick. Sessions are run weekly throughout each school term. One of our registered Psychologists will guide and teach your child.
If you think we need a Brick-by-Brick School Holiday Program, tell us! Be sure to let us know how often you would bring your child in over the holidays, plus how long you’d love the session to go for.
To read more about the awesomeness, check out this article: www.brickdave.com/how-to-learn-with-lego
LeGoff, D. B. (2004). Use of LEGO® as a therapeutic medium for improving social competence. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(5), 557-57. doi:10.1007/s10803-004-2550-0
LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorise or endorse this program.
Education research has shown that preparation for school readiness begins from the moment a child is born (Hart and Risley, 2003). In particular, the amount of language that a child hears before age three has a significant impact on their developmental trajectory, processing speed, and ultimately, their educational success. Therefore, creating a language-rich environment goes a long way towards preparing your child for school.
Luckily, creating a language-rich environment is easy. Dana Suskind (2015), author of Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain, offers the “Three T’s”–talk more, tune in and take turns–to simplify the way we think about producing a language-rich environment.
1. Talk more
Talk to your child as often as possible, and encourage them to talk to you. Whether you’re changing their nappy, eating dinner or walking around the shops, initiate a dialogue (or monologue!). Tell your child about your day, express your thoughts and feelings, ask questions, narrate what you are doing, and share your ideas, regardless of their age. Use a wide, vibrant vocabulary. For example, rather than saying, “Do you want a carrot?” say, “Do you want a crunchy, juicy, orange carrot?”
2. Tune in
Pay attention to what your child is interested in, and talk more about that. Adults and children alike naturally pay more attention to a conversation when the topic is something that we find engaging. So if your child is really into Stars Wars (like my five-year-old nephew is right now!), initiate and maintain conversations about that topic. Even (or especially!) if you know nothing about your child’s interests, ask lots of questions to get them talking.
3. Take turns
As much as possible, think of and treat your child as a legitimate conversation partner. Even before they have learned to speak or babble, respond to their gestures and facial expressions as authentically as possible. When they do begin to speak, give them time to talk, and then respond appropriately. Use eye contact, and expressive pace, tone and volume to model the various aspects of spoken language. This prepares them for the conventions of conversation, and equips them to be effective talkers and listeners.
Thoughts to share? Add a comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.
Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (2003). The early catastrophe: The 30 million word gap by age 3. Retrieved from http://www.aft.org/ae/spring2003/hart_risley
Suskind, D., & Suskind, B. (2015). Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain. United States: Dutton Books.
For many children with autism, Christmas isn’t always the exciting time that it is for their typically developing peers. The silly season often brings an onslaught of bright lights and loud sounds, as well as changes to routines and unwanted surprises that can leave a child with ASD (and their family) in a not-so-jolly mood. We’ve rounded up three of the best tips for making this Christmas a little more autism-friendly for your cheeky elves.
1. Santa loves social stories
Create social stories to prepare your child for some of the changes and events that they will encounter over the holiday season. Social stories are easy to make using Boardmaker Online, or one of the many social story iPad apps.
Social stories should include information and pictures that provide your child with the opportunity to mentally prepare themselves for a potentially challenging event. For example, a social story about Christmas Day might include photos of the family and friends who will be there, the food your child might eat, the games they will play, and so on.
2. Winter-wonderlanding, ASD-style
Involve your child in the Christmas decorating process as much as possible as this will help them to cope with and adapt to changes in their physical surroundings. Be thoughtful about the decorations you use, paying special attention to items that may overload your child such as flashing lights or talking Santas. Be aware of the effect these might have on your child when visiting friends and family. Though asking your hosts to turn off the Christmas tree lights isn’t everyone’s idea of holiday cheer, it’s certainly better than coping with a Christmas meltdown!
3. Structure in the silly season
Whenever possible, continue to carry out your regular family routines in order to maintain some predictability for your child during Christmas time. Though it is important for children with ASD to learn to cope with change and unexpected events, we must remember that they will be working particularly hard over Christmas to cope with all sorts of other challenges, inputs and demands. Therefore, preserving some normality and providing ample down time is key to helping your child cope with the additional inputs and festive demands.
Do you have any other tips for making Christmas more autism-friendly? Add a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook!
For more information about these and other ideas for supporting your child this silly season, contact us on 9768 9990.