Do you have a Lego-Lover in your house?
Surprisingly, Lego-loving kids are something many families with an ASD child share. Legos are not only fun, but can be therapeutic and can be used to bridge a gap with your ASD child.
If you have a Lego-lover, you are one of the chosen (and no, this isn’t a commercial for Legos). That’s because Lego moms know something that others don’t know.
Not that it is a diagnostic criterion of ASD, but many, many of us with kids on the autism spectrum have lego-lovers. Lego loving is a very common and shared ASD trait. If your child on the spectrum is anything like mine, he can build the most complicated, difficult (and expensive) Lego set in record time! I remember buying expensive sets – the ones with hundreds of pieces – for more than $100 and having my son finish building it the day after Christmas no matter how complicated it was. As one of my flagship gifts, I certainly had hoped that expensive set would last longer than that!
I hear similar stories from other moms. They share all the time that their Lego-lover continues to participate in building things with the colorful little pieces well past the age that most kids stop playing with blocks.
The Appeal of Lego
So, what’s the universal appeal of Legos to kids with ASD? And what do Lego moms know that others don’t? Here are some thoughts on that.
- Legos are consistent. They always have the same relative shape and fit together the Lego way. Consistency is calming to children on the autism spectrum.
- Legos can be sorted. Legos are colorful and can be sorted by color and size. Sorting and lining up objects is a quintessential activity of people on the autism spectrum.
- Legos have simple, clear rules to make them work. The “rules” about how to build a Lego structure are minimal and clear. The rules are something like “don’t swallow them,” “don’t put them in your sister’s ear” and “have fun.” Clear, black and white guidelines are the most likely to be followed by someone with ASD.
- Legos instill a sense of mastery. You get to build something. And what starts out as a brick becomes something more. They can be relied up to build the same structure, the same way every time. You can predictably control them.
5. Legos are more than the sum of their parts. Like puzzle pieces, what can be built with Legos is more than just an accumulation of bricks. While most kids probably aren’t thinking about this, there is something beautiful, magnificent and artistic in Lego creation.
All of these factors make Legos a natural fit for the natural tendencies of someone with ASD. (Click here to read more about What is Autism? Limitations Redefined.)
…[Mothers] know that Legos can be a bridge to help us all share an experience that builds confidence and mastery with our loved one on the spectrum – regardless of their age.”
Legos As Therapy
6. Legos connect not only bricks, but people. Legos act as a catalyst and bring about an opportunity for engagement with others of all ages. (Click here to learn more about Autism As A Social Disability.)
People with ASD usually communicate and relate more easily to those older or younger than they are. This age leveling quality means that both children and young adults can have a common interest in the foot-piercing little pieces that we may unwittingly locate when walking bare foot through our house.
And Legos can be something that all of us – regardless of age – can play with while connecting with someone with ASD.
7. Legos are both expansive in number yet limited. When Legos are laying all over the house, they may seem like they’re everywhere and unlimited in number. Yet in reality Legos colors are limited and make for great sorting. And while there are many different types of pieces, there is still a limited number. On top of that, Legos have a similarity between each type of piece that individuals with ASD appreciate.
Legos are fun, engaging and even therapeutic!
Lego moms know that these 7 things are true about Legos. What’s more – they know that Legos can be a bridge to help us all share an experience that builds confidence and mastery with our loved one on the spectrum – regardless of their age. (Click here to read Meet Them Where They Are.)
And for that, we are all grateful.
P.S. I heard a fun fact not long ago. The manufacturer of Legos is the number 1 tire manufacturer in the world, by number of units produced, making millions more tires than any other manufacturer!