Leeds East Academy

Building Blocks of Confidence

Lego-based therapy is a social growth programme, helping children and young people with social and communication development. Leeds East Academy's own Lego therapy programme was introduced last year following training from STARS to support our students' communications skills.

Due to the success of this therapy in reducing anxiety and improving confidence, Lego therapy was rolled out and targeted at several of the students on the SEND register for Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs.

Ms Lancaster, the lead TA who runs the intervention, explains: "Gabby joined Lego therapy in October. When Gabby was chosen to start Lego therapy she had a number of issues in the Academy. As soon as she started, I could see that she had a flair for building; she could easily construct Lego models by finding an image off the internet. She was making models that are more complex and soon needed a challenge. I put out a request for staff to donate any Lego sets no longer needed. We had a donation of a rather complex Technics set, a big crane. Gabby got started and even though she found it difficult, she persevered and carried on. It took Gabby six weeks to finish the build; however, the pride and accomplishment was immeasurable once she had completed the model. It is fair to say that Gabby’s behaviour has changed. She has reduced the number of negative comments and is a much calmer student, which in turn is influencing her in a positive way when she attends her lessons."

Gabby, pictured with her superb Technics-Lego JCB, added: "Before I started the Lego therapy sessions, I was struggling quite a lot. I had no patience and gave up very easily. Over the months however, I have improved quite a lot. At first, I would just pick simple images off the internet and build them. However, I felt I needed more of a challenge. Therefore, when the Technics set was kindly donated I knew it was perfect. At the beginning, I did give up on it on several occasions but after I got the hang of it and started to understand it more, I was at it non-stop. It took six long weeks to complete it but it was well worth the effort. I am proud and delighted to say Lego therapy has changed me for the better and has turned my attitude towards difficult and complex tasks in a more positive direction. I am glad I was a part of this project and hope to do more."