Lego Therapy: Developing Social Competence in Children with Asperger Syndrome Through Collaborative Lego Play
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Children with Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism typically experience difficulty with social interaction and social communication, hence the development of social competence is important to promote social inclusion. A quasi-experimental baseline design was employed to measure changes in social competence following participation in Lego therapy. Fourteen children with Asperger syndrome participated in an eight week Lego therapy intervention in nine schools. Social competence was measured through observations of social interaction on the school playground and adaptive socialisation and communication. Statistically significant increases were observed in adaptive socialisation and play following participation in Lego Therapy. No significant differences were found in communication, median duration of interactions or frequency of self-initiated social interactions. Measures of social competence were completed again following a period without intervention, to establish whether increases in social competence were sustained. Aspects of social competence decreased following a period without intervention, however, decreases were not significant. Programme fidelity was measured by adherence to fundamental aspects of the intervention and a measure of inter-rater reliability. Adherence ranged between 63-100% for aspects of the intervention, and between 82-97% for schools delivering the intervention. Implications for practice were highlighted, and included the need to encourage generalisation of skills from Lego therapy into the wider school environment, and a need for on-going support for school staff when the intervention is delivered in schools. Alternative ways of promoting social competence within an inclusive school environment were discussed.
DEdPsy in Educational, Child and Community Psychology