How an autistic child built friendships using LEGO® bricks

How an autistic child built friendships using LEGO® bricks

George loves to build things with LEGO® bricks. They have done so since they were a young child.

They’re autistic, and like many other autistic children, it takes them longer to open up and form relationships with others.

That started to change when they discovered Brick Club.

Brick Club is a social initiative, part of the Brick-by-Brick program, that works to support autistic children through LEGO play.

Set up by Play Included, with the support of the LEGO Foundation, it aims to help amazing children like George gain equal opportunities in life by developing a broad set of skills needed to thrive in the 21st century.

The focus is on social communication, helping children feel a sense of belonging and encouraging them to share their pride after building something.

The program is dedicated to training teachers and psychologists who can support young autistic people in their emotional development, as well as recognize and value their unique talents.

Danielle, who runs the same Brick Club that George goes to, says “The Brick-by-Brick program offers children the chance to be part of something, belong to a group, where it’s all about building LEGO bricks together.”

Danielle and George at Brick Club
Danielle and George at Brick Club

At Brick Club, George gets involved in building specific models or creating freestyle ones in small teams.

By building and playing together, the children collaborate, communicate, negotiate and problem-solve, developing friendships along the way.

“I enjoy LEGO bricks because it’s nice from different perspectives. It doesn’t feel like there’s much stress,” explains George.

The therapeutic nature of connecting bricks together has proven to benefit neurodivergent children, especially when done in groups.

Play Included has been working with the evidence-based methodology behind the Brick-by-Brick program. Research into LEGO play has shown positive outcomes for social interaction, communication, behavior and emotional wellbeing for children and young people who need extra support.

“George is hilarious, always bringing a smile to everybody’s faces – and seeing them communicate with others has been really nice”, continues Danielle.

Now George has a safe space where they feel understood and can connect with others while taking part in something they love.

“It’s helped me make friends with other people in the class,” they comment.

George’s story is an uplifting one and a step in the right direction. The program will continue its studies into the benefits of learning through play, helping more young people like George build their lives and make meaningful friendships.

Find out more about the Brick-by-Brick program and The LEGO Foundation.

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