Lego Mates donation helps kids with autism in Melbourne’s west

Lego Mates autism donation from MLC

The Lego Mates program in western Melbourne has received a boost thanks to a donation of bricks from MLC Life Insurance.

Lego Mates is a small group therapy program designed for children who love Lego and have a developmental delay, diagnosed disability or autism. It is based on the Lego® therapy, play therapy and social thinking models to promote children’s social interaction and learning.

The program allows children to practise joint problem solving, planning, listening, social thinking and communication skills.  The groups comprise about six children facilitated by an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. The children, aged six to 10 years, are split into smaller groups and take turns being suppliers, builders or engineers.

Western Melbourne therapy and inclusion team leader Delia Backstrom-Symons says Lego Mates suits children with developmental delay or diagnosed disability attending a mainstream primary school.

‘The program is facilitated to encourage the children to use and develop their language skills to engage in problem solving and decision making while being part of a social group,’ Ms Backstrom-Symons says.

‘MLC’s donation ensures children involved in these programs have more opportunities to benefit from the therapy in a familiar and fun environment.’

MLC Life Insurance Senior Consultant, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Affairs Majella Clarke says the Lego was donated by staff at the Melbourne and Sydney offices as part of employee activities for Mental Health Month in October.

‘We were keen to ensure the Lego went to a specific program where it would be used in a therapeutic context to assist children or adults with collaboration, social interaction and learning,’ Ms Clarke says.

Gateways is now accepting expressions of interest for the Lego Mates program in term 2, 2020, in both Geelong and western Melbourne. Participation in Lego Mates requires funding through the NDIS for a social skills group.

Find out more about the program by contacting or 9749 7388.