You may recall that we were undertaking an MSc research project investigating LEGO® -Based Therapy for supporting language skills. The project is now complete and we would like to share our results!
LEGO® -Based Therapy is an intervention that was originally designed to be used with children with autism to develop social competence skills. Our research project investigated adapting this intervention to be used with children with mild-moderate language impairment. In our clinical experience, a LEGO® -Based Therapy approach can be used with language impaired children to target a range of functional communication skills including, but not limited to: resolving conflicts, problem solving, negotiation, organising and sequencing ideas, turn taking, communication initiation, formulation of questions, listening and communication repair skills. As an initial investigation our study selected only one particular aspect of functional communication to examine: repairing conversational breakdown through initiating clarification.
In our study six children were seen once a week for LEGO® -Based Therapy in groups of 3 over a 5 week period at school. They were taught to formulate questions to seek help when they didn’t understand information fully. The children had to work together as a team to complete the LEGO® set. Overall the children got better at asking for help within the group task and some of the children were able to transfer these skills to other tasks. These results suggest that this type of therapy can successfully teach children to become more independent at seeking help and clarification in the classroom. Further research is needed to work out how much of this type of therapy children need to learn these skills more securely. The project results also suggest that in order to request help and seek clarification some children need to be taught the specific vocabulary and question structures that relate to the type of classroom task they are doing. This was a small-scale project, but provides some promising results for clinicians interested in broadening the scope of Lego-Based therapy to children with language impairment.
Shelley Parkin & Caitlyn Chandler