The use of games in therapy is a novel way to quickly establish rapport and engage with children and adolescents. Lego® and Minecraft therapies have been shown to have specific benefits for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), enabling the therapy session to target outcomes such as expressive or receptive communication, fine or gross motor skills, perception, cognitive function and emotional regulation. Through NDIS, PsychMed conducts Lego® and Minecraft therapies for children with ASD in South Australia.
Children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often display difficulty in learning age-appropriate play and social interaction skills through normal exposure. Instead, children and adolescents with ASD have been observed to respond better to interventions with more structure, rules and turn taking. Therefore, therapeutically oriented games provide the perfect opportunity to target specific developmental outcomes whilst engaging with children and adolescents with ASD that is fun and entertaining.
Lego® therapy is a therapy that can be used for all children, but has been shown to have specific benefits for those with ASD. The therapy has clear rules and procedures that are outlined from the start, which makes the process simpler and easier to follow for those with ASD. The therapy itself focuses on turn taking, group work, fine motor skills and can be tailored to promote expressive or receptive communication or both, depending on the roles that are taken. It is also possible to use the therapy to promote emotion identification and regulation, it can basically be transformed into a traditional play therapy where the Lego® models become the “dolls” that are used in the play therapy space.
Minecraft therapy is similar to Lego® therapy, however the focus is more clearly on communication skills, teamwork and social skill development. Minecraft therapy is also believed to be a way of fostering emotional regulation.
Lego® and Minecraft therapies can be one-on-one with a therapist or in group formats with peers, fostering and enabling social interaction. With current NDIS funding structures, one-on-one sessions would be advisable in the initial stages with group sessions being an expansion option once the participant is comfortable and up to speed with the format.
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