LEGOs for Speech Therapy
Since the creation of the interlocking oy bricks in 1949, LEGOs have been a flagship toy across the world. Children of all ages, and even adults, enjoy building with LEGOs. However, LEGOs don’t have to just be used for amusement, they can also be effective tools for speech therapy.
LEGO therapy for speech and language disorders
For any parent with a child in speech therapy, the blessing of finding that one thing that clicks with their child is always appreciated. LEGOs are one of the most popular toys amongst children and their use in speech therapy can be phenomenal. Let’s discuss different ways that LEGOs can be helpful when working on speech therapy homework.
LEGOs are a fantastic tool to identify and teach concepts to your child. Curved, straight, short, long, transparent, opaque, smooth, rough, and shape names are very easy to learn with a child who is learning speech.
For older children, the model sets and mini-figure sets are can help a child learn to follow directions and communicate descriptions when creating the specific sets.
Especially great for autistic children, playing with LEGOs in a group setting can help them learn to socialize with others. Younger children can just enjoy sharing their knowledge with peers, and older children can learn how to build a set together. Combining their learned communication skills to improve them and improve their social ability at the same time.
DUPLO bricks are best for this exercise as they tend to be larger than traditional LEGOs. For older children, you can write a word (with a dry-erase pen) on the brick and break it up into syllables per the location of the pegs. This allows students to visually practice the syllable and vocally work at the same time.
The LEGO people with faces (mini-figs) are an excellent tool to explore how facial expressions reflect emotions. Many autistic children struggle to read body language in others, and this can help them overcome that issue.
LEGOs come in such a wide variety of colors that it makes learning them so much easier. You can start off by focusing on one color, for example: have them select all the blue ones and which ones are not blue. Then you can group them by color, all the shades of red in one pile and all the shades of purple in another. After some practice, students can grow into identifying specific colors (tan, chocolate, cherry red, yellow-orange).
Plenty of children in speech therapy also struggle with imaginative play. While we often think to use dolls and teddy bears to act out scenes, many children can also do the same with the LEGO people.
Asking the child questions to seek clarification, and encouraging the child to do the same, is a great use for LEGOs. Consider asking questions about the structure, what the LEGO people are doing, and even where they would like you to place a brick are all great ways to encourage clarification.
Is LEGO speech therapy right for my child?
There is no speech therapy method that is 100% effective for children and this also applies to LEGO therapy. However, LEGO therapy is considered a risk-free therapy method. This means that there are no negative consequences of using LEGOs during a speech therapy session.
Getting started with LEGO speech therapy
If you are a parent interested in helping your child start LEGO speech therapy there are several steps you can take. First, speak to your child’s speech therapist to find out what their therapy approach is. Once the therapist has met with your child they will be able to determine if LEGO therapy will be an effective method. You can also buy your children LEGOs and see if they have any interest in simply playing with them before they are introduced to them in therapy.
There are lots of ways to utilize the LEGOs in speech therapy, these are just a few examples. Don’t be afraid to explore and allow the play and learning to flow naturally. If your child does not seem to connect with LEGOs, try another toy that they are infatuated with to encourage learning and development.
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