Updated: May 29
Lego®-based Therapy. Absences. Bea Inclusive TV and Podcast Episode 009
Last time I reviewed the collaborative set building – The Mandalorian and the Child-I showed you an example of extension activity.
In this episode, you will:
Whether to run your Lego group when your targeted child is absent
Why do I never cancel my sessions
What do I do with the planning when I face absences
If you are new to me, my name is Bea, and I'm deeply passionate about helping children to become independent and happy adults. My mission is to help schools/settings create truly inclusive practice by documenting my experience as the Lego®-based Therapy Expert and Facilitator, Autism Lead Practitioner and Creator and Funder of the Brick-by-Brick Academy (In-House and Online Training Hub).
I believe that each child is unique, and each setting is different, but one thing is sure we all would like to help our children to thrive from day one. Especially now when 1 out of 4 people struggle with mental health and children struggle with social skills and a high level of anxiety. It's not surprising that plenty of professionals are seeking new, positive, and engaging ways to develop children's social communication skills through a positive change to their setting's culture in a way that will benefit both (children and adults). My reasons for advocating Lego® based Therapy are simple: I saw the effectiveness of this approach and positive change in children's and adults' emotional and behavioural responses. Understanding individual children/persons and delivering child-centred and evidence-based provision is extremely important, especially now when children spend so much time in front of the computer and lack social opportunities to practice communication, language, and social skills.
Well, I'm here to show you otherwise and inspire you to create a safe, trustworthy Lego® based Therapy Intervention/approach where your children can collaborate and socialise in a structured way to spend more time developing your children's emotional/social intelligence. I've realised that you don't have to make extreme changes and spend thousands of pounds to help children and improve your school's provision. Sometimes, you don't have to do something radical or expensive; you just have to be proactive. So, I invite you to follow my journey in creating truly inclusive provision that helps you support children and develop your skills. Are you ready? Let's go!
Hello, my Lego® based Therapy facilitators friend! A massive congratulation to Julie, Gemma, Chris, and Bryn. Thank you for your lovely comments on my last blog. I will send you the Lego® based Therapy stickers as promised. The Mandalorian and the child Lego set goes to Jacque, and I hope you will share with us how you used them within your Lego Club.
Would you cancel the Lego® - based therapy session if your targeted child is absent? I wonder what you think, so please tell me in the comment section below.
For this VLOG, I will change this question slightly.
Would you cancel the session if one of your Lego® group members is absent, or would you continue with the remaining children?
In case you're wondering what the difference is, I can assure you it is huge! We need to ask a few more questions to answer this question fully.
If you would cancel the session, would you plan an extra session? What would you teach if you decided to run the session with the remaining children? Do you carry on with the planning or change the session plan?
Before I answer those questions, please consider subscribing to my channel, as this will help me to create more videos like this one, and more people will be able to learn for FREE.
In my whole Lego® based Therapy Facilitator career, I never cancelled a session due to absences. What is more critical, all attending children are assessed, and they are there for personal reasons. I target their deficit skills during the Therapy, and my groups are usually 4-5 children. This requires a lot of thinking when planning and creating tools, games, and activities to work on these targets.
So, as you can see, targeting only one child and cancelling sessions because this child is absent is not an option for me. Not only because I think that the other children could feel used, frustrated, and disappointed but also because that gives me a chance to focus on others, equalise the differences in understanding, improve communication skills and use this situation to my advantage, for example, teaching about the change.
This will lead to the next question. Would you carry on with your planning? As you probably already suspect, I don't follow the regular plan when facing absences. Instead, I discuss the change with the children and teachers, lead to the discussion on why we must wait for the absent child, and give them the activity choices for today. My children know what will happen when one of them is absent in advance, as I cover than in the first two sessions when I introduce them to the Lego Club rules and planning for 12 weeks. They know in advance what they will do each week.
This will lead to the last question. Do you plan an extra session? Yes! I do schedule an additional session. If possible, I will schedule an extra week of Therapy. If I can't, I will continue the regular session and try to fit in another session next week.
I hope all the above will help you plan your Lego group absences. So let me summarise by giving you these five rules that I follow:
First, never cancel the Lego session.
Second, tell children what will happen when one of them is absent.
Third, create extra planning, which you will use with the remaining children.
If you have long-term, planned absences (for example, six weeks hospital, etc.), carry on with your planning and prepare the absent child into a different group when possible.
I'm curious what would you do? Please let me know in the comments below. Also, share with us your ideas on solving this problem. It's always good to learn from others and self-reflect on your practice.
Next week I will review the collaborative set for younger children: the Lego® Duplo Collaborative Set- My First Car Creations. I will tell you how to use this as a group activity or why this set is excellent for independent workstation tasks.
Until the next time
Love and xxx