Using LEGOs to teach autistic students

legosplacevalue

by Debra Muzikar

Recently I’ve been impressed by websites on the internet which focus on visual, fun ways to teach children. I’ve talked to many parents whose children have trouble learning in traditional classrooms in traditional ways. I believe this is because the abstract concepts that are taught have no relevance to the child’s world.

Because autistic and dyslexic students have greater visual-spatial abilities using visual tools can assist them in learning. Autistic people often perceive the world in patterns and shapes.

Many autistic children relate to the shape, functionality and bright colors of LEGOs.

This week I came across a great website created by a student teacher Erin Bittman, which has wonderful illustrations using LEGOs to teach. Erin graciously has allowed The Art of Autism to share her images.

LEGOs can be used to teach math skills.

lego fraction

lego array

Fractions

Geometry

legogeometry

And even place value

legosplacevalue

legomultiplication

Teachers and parents can use legos to teach addition, subtraction, and sorting by colors and shapes. When kids work in groups with legos, social skills can be taught. Asking children to create structures from legos, increases imaginative play. It also fosters group cooperation when working on projects together. Keri Bowers, co-founder of the Art of Autism collaborative, told me she and Joanne Lara, Autism Movement Therapy, used large LEGOs last week in China with preschoolers and kindergartners as drums.

“It was adorable to watch them stack and put them away when we finished using them. We were demonstrating movement, music, following/leading and turn-taking,” Keri says.

Images courtesy of the blog – E is for Explore. Thank you Erin!

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