How LEGO Improves Concentration for Children with ADHD?
ADHD, hyperactivity disorder and attention deficit, is an evolutionary neurobiological disorder that involves the mechanisms of regulation of motor activity and attention control and causes an inadequate response to environmental stimuli. The Symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsive behaviors and motor hyperactivity.
Anonymous Tale: How do small plastic bricks help the brain to focus?!
“At school I struggled, a lot. Until I found a way to blend my education with the same visualization, planning and scaling techniques that I had successfully and enthusiastically applied in my LEGO creations. Today, in my personal life and professional, I continue to use this formula for better focus and problem solving. ADHD can grind you. I grew frustrated with the challenges I faced in class, especially in middle school.”
“Despite the efforts of many well-meaning teachers, I learned to do it largely on my own using an unconventional tool: a plastic LEGO brick. I remember English teachers explaining how to write a pattern, but I never understood it. . The math class was even worse; keeping track of multiple variables at once was a nightmare for me. The story, however, was a different and better experience because it gave me the opportunity to use my imagination.”
How I took refuge in LEGOs:
“After school, I liked to decompress by building LEGO models of the things we talked about in history class: a medieval castle, a WWII fighter plane, a space shuttle. Most LEGO sets include instructions that clearly explain how to complete each project. These clear steps helped me focus and seeing the project take shape kept me busy. During the hours of building LEGO, I never got distracted and frustrated, as I always felt in the classroom.”
“Building a LEGO project showed me that I could be successful by following manageable steps, one step at a time. Completing each project made me feel proud of myself. Then comes Star Wars and changes the way I can use LEGO. The excitement on the screen inspired me to replicate scenes from the film. With my huge collection of colorful plastic bricks, I built the X-Wing Fighter, Luke’s ship from the movie and other interstellar spaceships. I had so much fun looking for parts and building my own version of each ship that I stayed focused until I finished what I thought was a pretty similar replica. And I did it all by myself, without the instructions.”
“Even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, that exercise taught me how to visualize a goal and think through the steps required to complete it. As the ship began to take shape, I remained busy, imagining the fun I would feel once I pretend to fly it down the Death Star trench. Turning that messy pile of plastic into a creation I was proud of was a truly thrilling experience.”
Learning Life Skills Through Play:
“Over time, I have learned that walking aimlessly in an activity, without first visualizing the goal, well, it never ends well. I could make some progress, but the moment I start thinking about the next steps I get distracted and everything falls apart. For example, once shopping was a difficult task because I entered the shop without a “plan“. If the refrigerator was empty they would send me to do the shopping, but I arrived at the store without planning what I would eat, without a list of ingredients. Wandering around the shop was frustrating. I would make selections impulsively and leave the shop 20 minutes later, overwhelmed and forgetting the ingredients I was supposed to buy. Then the Idea came on. What if I applied my LEGO-inspired visualization skills to routine real-world activities? Maybe visualizing a goal, breaking it down into small steps, and focusing on completing one step at a time would work in other areas of my life?”
LEGO lessons I’ve held for a lifetime:
“At home, I applied the LEGO strategy to the kitchen. Making pasta for dinner just got easier when I visualized the meal, broken down the ingredients, and made it all into manageable little chunks. I found a box of rigatoni, located the salt and took a pot. Then, I filled the pot with water and added some salt. Then I brought the water to a boil, added the pasta, set the timer… You understand. Now I work in retail, where I often deal with building displays that draw attention to various products. By viewing the display first, I can more easily break down the steps to get there. And instead of tackling it all at once and being overwhelmed, I focus on building the bases first, and slowly progress from there… Just like I did with the LEGO X-Wing. Only that this time, instead of using plastic bricks, I’m working with wooden shelves and boxes.”
There are many tools to help people live better with ADHD, but this boy has had excellent results using a fun toy that wasn’t even designed for this particular purpose. But as any 9 year old will tell you about LEGOs, it’s still a Great Game!