Building Language using LEGO® Bricks is a flexible and powerful intervention tool designed to aid children with severe receptive and expressive language disorders, often related to autism and other special educational needs.
This practical manual equips you for setting up and adapting your own successful sessions. Downloadable resources enable you to chart progress in the following key areas:
- The use of receptive and expressive language
- The use and understanding of challenging concepts
- Joint attention
- Social communication
Help children with complex needs to communicate with this unique tool, derived from the highly effective LEGO®-Based Therapy.
Building Language Using LEGO™ Bricks is a fantastic approach, and the book did not disappoint. The language used throughout is accessible, yet extremely detailed, making it a book for parents and professionals alike. I have been lucky enough to attend the course run by Dawn and Jacqui, and their personalities shone through as I read the book; it's the perfect companion to the training Dawn and Jacqui provide, and is a must have for anyone who is interested in using LEGO™ as a tool to deliver language therapy.
Karen Sullivan, founder of Autism Puzzles
This book is organised, easy to read and gives clear instructions about how to set up and run a session with children interested in LEGO™ and construction. The intervention has been adapted and developed using the technique hands-on with the children, and it shows. Practical guidance and an engaging activity make the intervention do-able!
Gina Davies, Speech and Language Therapist, Autism Specialist
Dawn Ralph gained her Speech Pathology & Therapy degree from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in 1985 and has worked as a paediatric speech and language therapist ever since. She has worked in a variety of settings from a paediatric brain injury unit to both specialist and mainstream schools. Jacqui Rochester has been working with SEN children for over sixteen years. In 2014 she gained her Bachelor of Philosophy in Special Education: Autism (Children) from the University of Birmingham's Autism Centre for Education and Research. Both Dawn and Jacqui run Building Language using LEGO® Bricks workshops for schools and training for professionals.
It was a pleasure and an honor to read Dawn Ralph and Jacqui Rochester's guidebook for language development using LEGO® materials. The work is an extension and expansion of the LEGO®-based therapy approach that has been previously published by my colleagues and me. That work focused on social development strategies using LEGO®, which necessarily involved an emphasis on effective communication. Ralph and Rochester have taken that emphasis a step further, and have focused in particular on the language-based aspects of the LEGO® therapy process - the receptive and expressive components of functional and social communication that are emphasized by the joint, collaborative LEGO®-building process. They have also shown how the method can be utilized with children with cognitive and language-based disabilities who were not included in the original LEGO®-based therapy trials.
Ralph and Rochester's work is clearly and succinctly written, well-researched, but not mired down in theory or the minutiae of research literature. It is, therefore, a very pragmatic, commonsense, and yet evidence-based methodology, accessible to anyone in the helping professions who has an interest in improving functional and social communication in children with language-based disabilities.
It is a special pleasure for me to read this pragmatic and well-considered manuscript. When I first started doing LEGO®-based therapy groups in the later 1990's, there was very little literature available on effective interventions, and none of my colleagues were aware of LEGO® as a potential therapy tool. It was really only Tony Attwood, and Robert and Lynn Koegel who were supportive of this type of approach - using naturally-reinforcing content and materials, and utilizing peers to help shape social development. Later, I was also encouraged by Fred Volkmar's kind words about my first published study. He said the method showed promise.
In that first paper, I invited other clinicians and researchers to consider utilizing the LEGO® materials, and to try variations of the method I was using, with different populations, etc. Since that time, there have been other publications based on the original method, but this is the first real modification and extension of the LEGO®-based therapy method. So, twelve years later, the manuscript by Ralph and Rochester, does show evidence that the original approach can be modified and generalized, and provides a long-awaited response to my invitation. I will pass along the encouraging words that I received from the venerable Dr. Volkmar: this work of Ralph and Rochester certainly shows promise. I hope it catches on.
Daniel B. LeGoff, paediatric, neuropsychologist, and originator of LEGO®-Based Therapy
Table of Contents
|Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks: A Practical Guide by Dawn Ralph and Jacqui Rochester||3|
|A brief description of Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks||14|
|1. What are Autism and Language Impairment?||15|
|What is autism?||15|
|Autism and play||17|
|What is language impairment?||18|
|2. Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks and LEGO® Therapy||23|
|Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks||24|
|Development of joint attention||29|
|Listening and attention control||30|
|Receptive and expressive language||32|
|Development of early concepts||34|
|Learning to label emotions||36|
|Problem solving and communication repair||37|
|Turn taking and patience||38|
|Range of language functions||38|
|Bilateral integration and fine motor skills||38|
|4. Why Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks Works||41|
|Theory of mind||41|
|Weak central coherence||42|
|Poor ability to jointly attend||44|
|Theories of word learning||44|
|5. Starting Off||47|
|Assessment – establishing a baseline of skills||48|
|What am I testing?||48|
|Testing understanding of colour names||50|
|Testing understanding of prepositions (positional concepts)||51|
|Testing understanding of shape||55|
|Testing concepts of measure||56|
|Testing the number of ICW understood||58|
|6. Progressing Skills - The Role of the Facilitator||63|
|Role of the facilitator||64|
|Facilitating form of language||76|
|7. Guidelines for Setting Up and Running Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks Sessions||81|
|Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks in school||81|
|Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks at home||87|
|8. Measuring Outcomes||89|
|9. Examples of Cases||93|
|Using Building Language using LEGO® Bricks with non-verbal or pre-verbal children||112|
|Appendix 1: Assessment Checklist||117|
|Appendix 2: Model Checklist||127|
|Appendix 3a: Symbols for Colour||128|
|Appendix 3b: Symbols for Colour (continued)||129|
|Appendix 3c: Symbols for Colour (blank template)||130|
|Appendix 4: Symbols for Shape||131|
|Appendix 5a: Symbols for Size||132|
|Appendix 5b: Symbols for Size (continued)||133|
|Appendix 6a: Symbols for Position||134|
|Appendix 6b: Symbols for Position (continued)||135|
|Appendix 7: Sequence of Concepts (form)||136|
|Appendix 8: Symbols for Questions||137|
|Appendix 9: Prompts for Repair Strategies||138|
|Appendix 10: Badges||139|
|Appendix 11: Tokens||140|