Legos may be an important learning tool for children with autism. University of Rochester Medical Center researchers discovered that the use of legos may be vital in helping children with autism tap into their ability to think creatively.
Children with autism often experience difficulty in formulating creative ideas, often hampering their ability to be successful. Frustration and uncomfortable feelings often accompany the inability to be creative. With this study, researchers took a step forward as all six children were effectively taught to play with legos more creatively.
To start the study, children were only interested in creating one structure using the 24 legos given. However, at the conclusion of the study, children were creating mixed structures with varied color patterns.
Differing the order in which colored blocks were put together appeared to be a very positive sign for this study. Researchers believe the ability to change the order in which blocks are structured can closely resemble the ability to properly function in new situations presented during everyday life, like responding to someone when a discussion was unexpected. A large part of this study involved a systematic approach of teaching.
For this study, six children between 6 and 10 years old with autism, many experiencing difficulties being creative, performed a series of tests using legos. At the conclusion of the study, each of the six children were successful in differing the lego structures they worked on.
Researchers also noticed positive reinforcement to effectively influence the actions of a child. Following up a few months after the first studies, children were still able to creatively structure the lego blocks.
Researchers believe this study can help improve the development of social and creative skills in children with autism.