Does a Lego Based Therapy Intervention have an impact on boys or girl’s communication skills in a primary school setting?
Aims and purpose of the research study
To find out through the use of continuous recording sheet materials carried out during the weekly Lego Based Therapy sessions, measure the impact Lego Therapy has on communication skills and look for increases and decreases in the scores given at the end of each session when impact sheets are filled in. To then look to identify a common trend after 6 weeks’ worth of interventions and to also gather comments and opinions through individual interviews, as well as conducting pre and post testing with my participants and using a mixed methods approach as an insight into what the individuals thought about Lego Based Therapy.
Research into what Lego Based Therapy is, who meets the criteria to access Lego Therapy and when Lego Therapy would be carried out. What are the perceptions, factors of Lego Therapy? LeGoff (2004) states that the particular skills intervention evolved over time as a consequence of ongoing attempts to provide social skills, effective social skills therapy for a growing group of children. This also focuses on using role play within Lego as a technique as part of the skills intervention. (Gurian et al 2003) also states that role playing allows students to practice desired behaviours, try out new behaviours and approaches.
Compare to work that has been carried out by LeGoff (2004) who founded Lego Therapy, as well as other authors that have worked in the area of communication skills and appropriate literature to support Quantitative and Qualitative Data. LeGoff used separate groups of 7, in order to conduct his sessions and made good use of tables and analysis the numerical data, which is what I will carry out with my research project.
I will be using literature that focuses around different genders and if there are any preferred ways in which each gender chooses to learn. Due to the groups I will be working with will consist of 3 girls and 3 boys who are learning by doing. Research from (Gurian et al 2003) state that One of the strengths of learning by doing is that a student becomes involved with the lesson he or she is more likely to internalise it.
Brief summary of the context for the research study
The Research study was proposed because of the nature of my current job role within my workplace, delivering Lego Based Therapy. This is an intervention within my workplace which is considered as one of the most important interventions to deliver because it presents individuals with everyday lifeskills through improving communication and social skills, delivering this on behalf of my workplace allows us to identify who needs the additional support with communication and then develop it with appropriate support and resources. Supporting children in their environment and allowing them to gain an understanding of various skills and interaction through the environment they will be working in, developing children’s mechanisms for processing through the medium of Lego – Based Therapy. This links to Piaget’s (1936) theory discussed by McLeod (2018) that children gain development through having interaction with the environment and disagreed with the idea of children having a fixed intelligent trait. Slucklin (2017) also agrees with this statement by discussing that Piaget is best known through his work with children and them understanding their physical environment.
I consider this as important intervention because it allows children to experience evidence based interventions that happen outside of the classroom that are devoted to improving communication skills, Forman et al (2008) discuss that there has been a growth in interventions carried out in schools and having evidence based interventions support healthy development of pupils. Giving children an opportunity to work as a team by having individual roles and following a set of instructions the “engineer” was required to give verbal descriptions of the pieces needed and directions for assembling them, the “supplier” and “builder” follows directions collects and puts the pieces together (LeGoff 2004). Context of Lego Therapy Interventions also support children with working with new peers. A re-occurring issue that I currently have within my workplace is the fact that a high number of children struggle with their communication skills and are on waiting lists for Lego Based Therapy or another source of communication intervention, an example of this would be Speech and Language Therapy and Educational Health Care Plans (EHC) an EHC plan is a legal document that explains a child or young person’s special educational, health and social care needs (Contact a family 2012) and by me having a role within the workplace that isn’t classroom based, supports children in receiving Lego Based Therapy and developing communication skills.
Research from LeGoff (2004) used the medium of repeating measures and a controlled design was used to asses and review the efficacy of social skills interventions for children on and aren’t on the autistic spectrum and focused on group and individual Lego play. Combining behaviour therapy, peer modelling and communication strategies. The end goal of the research was to improve social competence and found through using motivation, ability to sustain interaction using numerous observations as well as interventions, LeGoff (2004) found that the use of Lego therapy appears to be an effective medium for social skills intervention (LeGoff 2004). Research from (Case – Smith et al 2013) also found that Lego Based Therapy offers social emotional development, through reading facial expressions and understanding gestures, this supports the work carried out by LeGoff (2004). I will utilise this approach within my Lego Based Therapy groups, as the children I work with struggle to understand the concept of social emotional development.
I intend to use LeGoff’s research as a platform for my research, as I agree very much with approaches used, the only difference being that I will be working and addressing issues with children who still struggle with their social competence and that is part of the reason that they were selected for Lego Based Therapy. Furthermore, social skills and competence approaches will still apply to my groups and the research that I do. Rose – Krasnor et al (2006) state that social competence is defined as effectiveness in social interaction. Gresham et al (1987) also discuss that social skills represent behaviour’s in situations and predict social outcomes for children.
Andras (2012) uses LeGoff (2004) study of Lego Based Therapy and how after sessions of Lego Based Therapy being carried out with children improved their social competence and more social interaction between the children and this was then maintained when the sessions came to an end. In my role within my workplace, I recognise the need to support pupils in order the need to improve their social interactions with their peers (Andras 2012). This approach from Andras (2012) mirrors the same approach I have within my workplace as the school’s Social, Emotional, Mental Health and Behaviour Practitioner (SEMH).
Within my study, I plan to use and have discussed the Lego Based Therapy Research completed by LeGoff (2004), Andras (2012) and Owens et al (2008) who are all familiar with working on improving Social Competence children through the medium of Lego Based Therapy who have all carried out research over a number of weeks in a number of schools with children who have on – going issues with social skills.
Owens et al (2008) evaluated Lego Based therapy and The Social Use of Language Programmes (SULP) working with children who have Autistic and Asperger’s syndrome and how again Lego Based Therapy had more of an impact on children’s social competence at the end of sessions and significant differences were shown. Social Communication Skills play a vital role in our ability to form meaningful, social relationships (Andras 2012). Case – Smith et al (2013) research found that children that have underlying barriers to communication or social skills, will develop unusual sensory responses (e.g. touch or auditory), this then effects their ability to then develop those social relationships. This is currently evident within one of the Lego Based Therapy groups I worked with, where a particular child struggles with developing their social skills.
Suggested research questions or hypothesis for the research study
- What are Children’s perceptions towards Lego Therapy?
- Which gender has improved more in their communication when they have had Lego Therapy Interventions?
- Proposed participants for the research study
The participants chosen for the study will be 6 children that are currently receiving Lego Based Therapy Interventions and are familiar with how Lego Based Therapy is conducted.
Before making sampling choices, it is important that one clearly defines the target population (Daniel 2011). The types of sampling I am going to be using for the target population are both a purposive sample and a convenience sample. Convenience sampling is a type of non-probability or non-random sampling where members of the target population that meet certain practical criteria (Etiken et al, 2015). For my target population, all individuals meet the criteria that I require for this research project.
The other sampling method is Purposive sample; it is a deliberate choice of a participant due to the qualities the participant possess (Etikan et al, 2015). This supports the decision to select certain participants based on what I know needs to be set out within the project and how familiar participants are with the Lego Based Therapy. Purposive sampling is to concentrate on people with particular characteristics (Etikan et al, 2015).
Proposed method to be used in the research study
The method I will be using to collect data will be through conducting semi – structured individual interviews, all children being given the same set of questions, this will give them more opportunity to talk more freely and feel more comfortable. Semi – structured interviews are often the sole data source for a qualitative research project, organised around a predetermined open – ended questions (DiCicco – Bloom et al 2006). Given (2012) also discusses that being able to have a semi – structured interview as the data collection technique, the researcher will have more control over the topics of the interview than in unstructured interviews, in comparison to structured interviews and or questionnaires that uses closed questions, there are no fixed range responses to the questions. This will also be able to support the Qualitative Research method with gaining an insight to people’s experiences and opinions (DiCicco – Bloom et al 2006).
The research project overall with used mixed methods research due to the project containing both Qualitative research which relate to understanding of social life and its methods which generate words (McCusker et al 2015), through interviews conducted, opinions and perceptions. (Burke Johnson 2007) states that mixed research can be viewed as incorporating several types of overlapping research qualitative research methods aims to answer questions about the what, how or why (McCusker et al 2015). The Quantitative research method will be supported by numerical data being collected throughout the project, looking to identify increasing or decreasing trends with scores given at the end of each week from each Lego Intervention. These are known as baseline tests which are used during a “freestyle build” which happens at the start and at the end of the intervention, allowing me to see what social and Lego skills the children already know or what they have learnt, this will be used as my pre and post – test. McCusker et al (2015) discuss that the aim of quantitative research is to classify the data in numbers and construct statistical models. These scores I will collect will rate children across all areas of the Lego Therapy Interventions and help to identify areas of strength and weakness for each child from week to week and then for myself to review and compare.
I will be looking for children I carry out the work with who have the social competence issues and how this then effects communication for both males and females in each Lego Based Therapy group. Looking at how the children use social competence and communication within the Lego Based Therapy groups with myself at the facilitator Hargie (1997, p. 2) discusses that individuals that have higher attentions spans than others, tend to have an increased social skills ability, looking at what stages children acquire, refine and extend their repertoire of social skills. For the children I work with I am able to pinpoint what children have a higher attention span and how this then effects their social and communication skills and in which forms they display these, within the Lego Based Therapy. Communication with children and young people can take many forms including: direct talk, listening, writing, touch, facial expressions and body language (Morrison 2016).
The Participant information sheet, which I will use with individuals is located within the Appendix section along with informed consent from the headteacher at my current workplace and finally the interview schedule.
Proposed data analysis procedures to be used in the research study
For the project, I will be using a mixed methods approach to the research, due to the fact that the project will include data which will require Thematic Analysis using the Qualitative data and then for the Quantitative data, statistical analysis which will provide numerical data.
For the purpose of the project and how I intend to present the data using both thematic analysis and statistical analysis, this data analysis procedure will be appropriate for the research project and will provide a format for myself to write up and discuss my findings. Marks (2004, p. 56 – 57) describes thematic analysis as looking at the content in which it is described as, referring to a theme as a pattern found within the data. Vaismoradi et al (2013) also agree by discussing that thematic and qualitative approaches within research look to cut across data and search for patterns and themes.
The other method I will be using for the quantitative data will be Statistical Analysis Myers et al (2013) state that the statistical analyses should be planned before collecting, giving the researcher to specify the questions being asked by the data, second it enables the researcher to be sure that, given the planned research design, the targeted questions can be answered by statistical analysis. Formed by the numerical data which will be collected at the end of each session. I will then look to interpret the data and then quantify it and look at and address any correlational relationships. To support the Qualitative data approach, I will score children each time. To then eventually look to identify a trend/theme after the 6 weeks. Describing the phenomenon of interest, looking for significant differences between groups (Teddlie et al 2009, p. 5).
The mixed methods approach is suitable for the type of research project I am going to carry out and will make the data more valid using the right approaches. Research in which the investigator collects and analyses data and draws inferences using both qualitative and quantitative approaches (Teddlie et al 2009, p. 7).
Ethical considerations relating to the research study
Adequate level of confidentiality is adhered to at all times, ensure the GDPR policy in school is followed Petrova et al (2014) discusses ethical process promotes protection of individuals’ identity and avoids demographic information. For the research project the data collected will avoid any demographic information being given.
Full consent is given by both headteacher and parents for this research project to go ahead Spence et al (2015) discusses that consent should be in effect for any child to participate within a research project, Informed consent should be provided ideally in writing. All research participants will be given the right information at the start of the project and given the choice to leave the study if they wish to do so via a participant information sheet (PIS) Harriss (2014) discusses that within research projects, participants involved should be given adequate level of information about the project before taking part. The appendix section below provides the information needed for this project and the participant information sheet (PIS) will be handed out and discussed before the interviews begin.
You are being invited to take part in this research project. Before you decide whether or not to do so, it is important that you read through the rest of the information on the sheet and you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take the time to read the following information carefully. Please ask if you are unsure of anything or would like more information on a particular subject. Take your time to decide whether you wish or do not wish to take part. Thankyou.
What is the project’s purpose?
The research project aims to find out, using Lego Therapy with both Male and Female participants and the use of continuous recording materials carried out during the weekly Lego Therapy sessions, measure the impact Lego Therapy has on communication skills and look for increases and decreases in the scores given at the end of each session when impact sheets are filled in to then look to identify a common trend after 6 week’s worth of interventions and to also gather comments and opinions through individual interviews, what the individuals thought about Lego Based Therapy.
Why have I been chosen?
You have been chosen because you have already undertaken Lego Therapy sessions and are familiar with how the sessions run and what they work on. Therefore, would make you ideal candidates to carry out the research project with.
Do I have to take part?
It is up to you as to whether you take part, if you do decide to take part you will keep a copy of this information sheet. You can withdraw at any time.
What do I need to do?
You will take part in individual interviews, whereby you will be asked questions surrounding Lego Therapy and these questions will just simply ask for your opinion, there is no right or wrong answer. Your answers will then be recorded and kept for the research project in order to look at your answers which will then help to write up the research project.
Will me taking part in this research be kept confidential?
All of the information collected will be kept confidential, you will not be able to be identified, neither will your institution. Any data collected will be used only within the research project.
Who will see and listen to my answers?
The individual conducting the research project will see and listen to any answers given and also the tutor at the university who will assess the research project once completed.
Thank you for taking part in this research.
Welcome, participant information sheet to be passed round before conducting the individual interviews. Information given about what the interview will be based around and how it will be conducted. Any questions taken.
- What do you think Lego Based Therapy is?
- Why do you think that you are involved with Lego Based Therapy?
- How has the Lego Therapy Based Interventions helped you so far? (Develop friendships, social skills, teamwork, following instructions)
- Do you enjoy coming to Lego Based Therapy?
- Are you happy with the people that are in your group with you?
- Can you name the different roles that we have within Lego Based Therapy?
- What do you have to do to be a good Engineer within Lego Based Therapy?
- What do you have to do to be a good Builder within Lego Based Therapy?
- What do you have to do to be a good Supplier within Lego Based Therapy?
- When you are given time for a free build what do you think this helps with? (Putting what we have learnt into practice, using our imaginations, not following instructions, communication)
- When you are taking part in a set build what does this help with? (Following a set of instructions, communication, social skills, teamwork, patience)
- Do you know the differences between a Set and a Free Build?
- Is there anything you would change about the Lego Based Therapy?
Thankyou for taking part in this interview.
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