Friday, March 7, 2014

Legos + PECS (or AAC) = Great Idea!

Free Lego Instructions from
Why in the wide, wide world of sports haven't I thought of this sooner? Using Legos could be a fun, motivating way to practice the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and AAC. Maybe you're saying duh right now because you've been doing this for years, but it took me one spontaneous moment to realize the potential with Legos. I have this kid that desires so much to communicate with others. He gestures and makes noises better than any kid I know. He is so good at gesturing that most people can decipher his stories. We've been stuck trying to get him to utilize his AAC device.  So, I happened to walk in the classroom as he was trying to build some sort of creation out of Legos and a light bulb went off!  I quickly went back to my office and searched for simple Lego instructions, brought it back on my iPad, and propped it up for our activity.

LEGO® Instructions 0503 Basic Building Set

Next, I showed him what we were going to build (a red car) and the types of pieces that we'd needed.  I held onto the bucket of Legos and then he had to make requests for the pieces.  Now, if you do this, you can modify the type of request to add more details.  Obviously, it depends on the level of student you're working with.  We were working on the motor plan of I + want + (color).  The student was highly motivated with the activity (I already knew this since he was busy playing with the Legos to begin with) and completed it proudly.

This activity could be easily done with the PECS too.  You could have a Lego picture to make a simple request for each piece.  Or, you could have a sentence strip for I want + Legos.  And if your student is even more advanced, you could add qualifiers like I want + red + Legos or I want + small + red + Legos.  You get the idea.

After the session, I got a bit excited and filled out a requisition form to order a bucket of Legos to add to my therapy supplies.  Legos can be expensive, but I found a bucket of Legos for $30 on Amazon.  It comes with basic instructions too for a few items.  

Have you used Legos in any other ways for therapy?  What are some of your go to PECS and AAC activities?