An interview with our amazing Lara about running our LEGO groups….
What do you love about running the LEGO group?
I love that for our clients it is a fun holiday activity that appeals to their interests and does not seem like ‘therapy’ at all even though they are all working hard at using their social communication tools they have learnt at Early Start. Some of our owls amaze me with their imagination and the creations they can make!
What techniques do you use to help develop the children’s social skills?
I like to let the interactions and conversations occur organically within the structure of the group and then support and further facilitate this where required. So many discussions can arise from a mutual topic of interest like lego and lead to so many opportunities to bond with other children and praise beautiful social communication. I make sure to enforce concepts such as following a group plan, thinking about others and perspective-taking. I also like to group some of our new, nervous Lego group attendees with our more experienced ‘veteran’ owls who will be happy to take them under their wing. This is a great opportunity for all of our owls to practice their social communication skills, no matter what level they are at.
How would a child with social communication challenges benefit from attending a group program?
Group programs give children with social communication challenges the opportunity to engage with like-minded peers that experience similar difficulties. It also allows them an opportunity to practise the skills that they have been learning in individual therapy within a small, controlled group environment with support from an experienced speech pathologist. Our owls can practise working as a team and thinking of others, as well as feel safe to make a mistake, without the group being too large or overwhelming.
What are some of the secrets you use to make it fun?
Token incentives. Our owls love to see who has received the most tokens at the end of a group for their great social communication and teamwork! But most of all humour – making the group both fun and funny!