The National Autistic Society (NAS) and LEGO® UK welcome independent research published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders which demonstrates LEGO toys may be able to help children who have autism overcome social interaction difficulties.

The research, carried out by the Cambridge Autism Research Centre in 2007, looked at the use of LEGO Therapy and the Social Use of Language Programme as social skills interventions for 6-11 year old children with autism. The results showed that the LEGO therapy group made significant progress.

LEGO UK recently selected the NAS as its charity partner for 2008-2010. The company has pledged to raise £80,000 to build a fantastic new playground at the NAS Radlett Lodge School in Hertfordshire through an exciting range of fundraising events.

Lynda Tucker, NAS Radlett Lodge School Principal, said:

Many of the children who attend our school enjoy the benefits from playing with LEGO sets, which can help encourage problem solving skills, team work and communication. We welcome the research by the Cambridge Autism Research Centre investigating the benefits of LEGO for children with autism. We hope that the research will help continue to raise awareness of autism and the over half a million people who have the disability in the UK today.

Rachel Nabavian, who has an 11-year-old son with autism, said:

My son started liking LEGO at two years old. He enjoyed building long lines of LEGO and sorting the coloured bricks to make towers. I noticed that LEGO helped my son with his sharing and communication skills. My husband and I often get involved in helping him to build something he's seen and wants to recreate, which is a great way for us to play together as a family.

LEGO Therapy involves building LEGO models in small groups or pairs where the children take on different roles and work together. The children are encouraged to practice turn taking, sharing, joint problem solving and general social communication skills.