Economic Evaluation of School-Based LEGO Therapy

January 24, 2022

Report Shows Therapy Marginally Decreased Service Costs While Improving Quality of Life

In 2003, clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Daniel LeGoff experimented with the thought of developing a social skills therapy utilizing LEGO bricks. He came up with this idea due to the natural attraction children with autism have to the brightly colored building toys. A year later, he authored a paper which demonstrated that LEGO toys could act as a vehicle to create an effective social skills program. Better yet, this program could be used in multiple settings and be transferable to real-world peer interactions. Now, two decades later, the first study evaluating the cost effectiveness of the LEGO-based therapy for children and young adolescents has been published. The research was conducted in primary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom and involved 248 participants with autism aged 7-15 years. The study involved dividing the young participants into two groups. The intervention arm received 12 weekly sessions of LEGO-based therapy and usual support. The control arm received usual support only over the same period of time. The study’s authors anticipated that through the LEGO play intervention arm, the children and adolescents would learn to use skills such as joint attention, sharing, communication and group problem solving. At the conclusion of the study, the results showed that compared with usual care, the LEGO-based therapy marginally decreased the service use costs but increased the quality-adjusted life years, a unit of measurement for health outcomes. The authors suggest that the decreased service use cost was due to better behaviors and fewer referrals to the United Kingdom’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the intervention arm group.  In the end, the researchers hope their findings will be of interest to social care providers, families and community professionals including school staff members.


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