Published findings from a project that studied the effects of a LEGO Robotics therapy program on high-school autistic students in South Australia, will be discussed at Adelaide University in February.

The aim of the project was to examine the effects the program had on anxiety, social skills and school engagement, as well as explore the views and perceptions of the program from students, parents, school staff and LEGO Robotics facilitators.

Twenty-four teenagers with autism aged between 13-16 years from four mainstream schools participated. Students were divided into eight groups of three, in one-hour sessions over 8 weeks.

Each LEGO Robotics group was supported by two facilitators from Autism SA, run at schools during school hours.

Some key findings from the research were that students showed positive motivation and engagement, it was fun and enjoyable, there was a connection with other students, and an increase in team building skills. Parents, school staff and facilitators also observed an increase in confidence and an improvement in social skills. 

The project: ‘Can LEGO Robotics therapy improve the mental health and social skills of adolescents on the autism spectrum? A Phase 1 trial,’ was funded by the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation and a collaboration between Flinders University, Autism SA and Griffith University.

A free event, ‘The LEGO Robotics Guide: A guide to facilitating LEGO Robotics sessions for autistic teens’ is being held at The University of Adelaide, Napier Building, on February 8 from 5.30pm -7.30pm.