“It’s great having a group or club that your child feels no stress about attending. This is a first.” - Brick Club Parent
About the programme
Brick Clubs take a child-led approach which means they can be extremely flexible and tailored to the person’s strengths, interests and needs. They include team-based activities where you work together to build a LEGO® model, taking turns to play different roles (called the Engineer, Supplier and Builder) until the model is built. Brick Club members play a leading role in the activities that happen in the session, deciding on who does which job, what model is made and when to take turns. Another option is freestyle building, where pairs or small teams can design and create their own models together. For more advanced LEGO builders, there’s also the opportunity to create stop-motion animations and work on coding and programming LEGO activities.
The benefits of Brick-by-Brick
Play has a fundamental role in young people's development. Some of the benefits we see for members of Brick Club are:
Social skills – from communication and problem-solving through to taking turns, resolving conflict and coping mechanisms for when things don’t go to plan, social development is at the heart of the programme. Young people develop confidence in their ability to socialise.
A sense of belonging – being a member of Brick Club and meeting others who share your interests and have similar challenges to you, means that young people feel less anxiety, have improved self-esteem and start to build confidence and friendships in a safe environment.
Pride - Young people leave a session with a huge sense of pride for what they’ve created. And they often share this pride outside of Brick Club, talking about their creations and sharing pictures with others.
Who is the programme for?
The Brick-by-Brick programme is for young people, aged from preschool to adulthood who enjoy building LEGO models and need support with social communication, friendships or language.
It was originally developed with young people on the autism spectrum in mind, who may be very able in some areas, but need extra support and encouragement to promote their social development.
Over the years, we’ve seen indications that any young person who enjoys LEGO play and needs extra support with social interaction, language and communication might benefit from the Brick-by-Brick programme. LEGO play is gender neutral. The programme is very flexible and can be adapted to a wide range of ages, strengths and needs.
At Play Included, we’re passionate about the interface between research and practice and we hope to encourage more rigorous research and evaluation of the Brick-by-Brick programme to explore how it can help different young people in different contexts.
We know from research that play is fundamental for children’s positive development and studies have shown that LEGO based therapy, on which the Brick-by-Brick programme is founded, has a positive impact on social communication and emotional wellbeing in young people on the autism spectrum. Research shows the importance of accepting a difference in autistic sociality, and providing opportunities for autistic children to socialise with other autistic children may be beneficial.
Our team have been involved in the first large scale randomised controlled trial (called the I-SOCIALISE trial) that is currently underway in the UK. Researchers are looking at the impact on social skills and cost effectiveness. Results of the study are due out later in 2021.
Accessing a Brick Club
We’re building Play Included brick by brick, so as our community grows, we’ll be able to provide a directory of certified Brick Clubs and facilitators in your area. In the meantime, the best way to access a Brick Club is to tell your child’s school, health or local community services all about the program and ask them to get in touch with us about getting them set up with training.
Play Included C.I.C.: Our company name (formerly called Bricks for Autism C.I.C.)
The Brick-by-Brick™ programme: The name of the methodology used to support social interaction through collaborative play with LEGO bricks (formerly known as LEGO based therapy or LEGO therapy)
Brick Club: The name young people give to their sessions
“Building together is fun because you’re not alone. It’s not just about me building it’s about everyone building. I like being in a team.” – Brick Club member