Building blocks therapy, which falls within the “play based” therapy method for children, is a private occupational therapy practice that aims to empower kids to reach their full potential. Through play-based therapy, children can learn to express their feelings, develop their confidence, use a variety of way to relate one with others, modify their behaviour and foster their problem-solving skills. Incorporating toys such as Lego that uses in block building therapy allows children with autism to engage more with their peers and induce them to communicate with others. This is also because Lego is a very good tool particularly when used in group situation and block building therapy is therefore always delivered as a therapy group where children can learn to play together and develop a range of specific skills at the same time. Besides that, the building blocks enable children to feel calm and regulate themselves due to the Lego system of bricks is highly organised, systematic and predictable. Hence, it highly motivates autistic children as the unpredictable and ever-changing concepts that happen during free play are removed.
Other than that, block building therapy is research proven and several studies conducted in the UK and USA found that Legos benefits children like help develop and reinforce language, play and social skills. For instance:
- Understanding and using the language.
- Social communication and pragmatics, which using non-verbal communication like facial expression, eye contact, body posture, gesture and proximity.
- Functional and social skills such as requesting help and clarification.
- Task focus, including task initiation.
- Sharing and turn-taking
- Problem-solving collaboratively and also improving negotiation and compromise
More specifically, research studies have shown the advantages of Lego play in three measure of social competence, which are self-initiated social contact, duration of social interaction and reductions in “stereotyped” behaviours. Results revealed that children showed significant gains across all the measures following treatment.