Autistic children and others with social communication and emotional support needs can often be misunderstood. The Brick-by-Brick programme gives children a unique and playful learning opportunity to have positive social experiences, develop collaboration and make friends. We aim to reduce social isolation and mental health problems and build stronger societal acceptance of neurodiversity.
In Brick Club, children work together to build specific LEGO models or design & build their own freestyle LEGO creations in pairs or small teams. As they build they collaborate, communicate, negotiate and problem-solve, developing friendships and creating social opportunities along the way. All children are encouraged to interact in ways that work for them so everyone understands each other. For example, if children are building a LEGO model following the instructions, one child can be the Engineer and has the instructions, one child is the parts supplier and finds the right pieces, and one child is the builder and puts the pieces together. Children work together, taking it in turns to play the different roles until the model is complete. Playful and skilled adult facilitation is crucial to the success of the Brick-by-Brick™ programme so we focus on training professionals. It is important that Brick Clubs are child-led, building on shared interests and common goals.
Play Included C.I.C. was founded in 2018 in the UK, training health and education professionals in the Brick-by-Brick programme. Since then, interest has grown enormously. In 2019 we started our Training for Trainers programme, and have 35 trainers in the UK, Hong Kong, Greece, Turkey & Ireland. In 2020 we put our training online. Since Jan 2019 we have trained just under 2000 facilitators in 40 countries. If each facilitator works with 5 children, that means we have reached 10000 children. In March 2021 we launched our fantastic partnership with The LEGO Foundation. With their expertise and support, we have updated our training and aim to scale up in more countries around the world, and offering support & follow-up for practitioners to reach more children with high quality Brick Clubs.
Our training is now available for health, education and care professionals and can be booked at https://playincluded.com/training. We have also launched free activities for parents and carers to use at home which can be downloaded from our website, and have free whole-class activities for schools to support social & emotional wellbeing for all children called Building Friendships.