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Can LEGO® robotics therapy improve the mental health and social skills of adolescents on the autism spectrum? A Phase 1 trial

Project Details

Funding partner

Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation


January 2020 - December 2022


Journal articles and reports will be published. A Training Manual will also be published to support school staff, interested students on the spectrum and families who might be interested in implementing the LEGO® robotics therapy at their school, home or in the community.


DCI researchers

Flinders University researchers

  • Associate Professor Belinda Lange

  • Dr David Hobbs

Research partners

  • Griffiths University – Associate Professor David Trembath

  • Autism SA - Niki Welz


The primary aim of this Phase 1 clinical trial is to investigate whether LEGO® robotics therapy can reduce anxiety and increase social skills and school engagement in autistic adolescents aged 13-16 years. The second aim is to measure the utility, acceptance, and engagement of LEGO® robotics with this cohort, while the third aim is to formally gather the views and perceptions of the intervention from all stakeholders (adolescents on the spectrum, parents, teachers, and LEGO® therapist/facilitators). The fourth and final aim is to develop a training manual for school staff and parents to support autistic adolescents. The manual would support the reach, generalisation and longevity of the LEGO® robotics therapy program across educational, clinical, home and community settings.


The findings will provide emerging evidence in the effectiveness and further development of LEGO® robotics  therapy with autistic adolescents. The training manual will be critical for setting up a Randomised Control Trial in the future. This direct output will have both immediate benefit for families, teachers and clinicians who might want to implement LEGO® robotics therapy with adolescents on the spectrum and longer-term use to inform service-wide evaluation.


An easy-read resource for this project is not currently available.

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