Building Skills with LEGO Blocks: The Ultimate ADHD Toy

LEGO blocks turned out to be the perfect toy to draw out my son's strengths — and give us both some quiet time.

Victoria and Harry Sullivan, her ADHD son, playing with Legos.

The plastic LEGO blocks inspire my son and build his confidence.

Victoria Sullivan, mom to 8-year-old Harry

Learning to build quiet time into my ADHD son's day turned out to be a snap.

When I bought a set of LEGO blocks for my eight-year-old son, Harry, I knew it was a calculated risk. Most toys, even those that he just has to have, fail to hold his attention for more than a couple of days.

Worse, I knew that if Harry didn't experience immediate success — create a blinking, bleeping space station within 60 seconds — he'd yell and stomp away in ADHD-fueled frustration. He'd feel like a failure.

On the flip side, the LEGO set might just engage that side of Harry that loves to build things. And it would improve his fine-motor skills. I'd also settle for keeping Harry occupied while I cook supper.

LEGO blocks delivered all of the good stuff — and none of the downside. Harry, as it turns out, is something of a LEGO savant. On his first attempt, he followed the directions and created a trailer-truck-boat hybrid. He played with the finished product, complete with running commentary, for hours.

Harry has moved on to what I call "improvisational LEGO play" — inventing contraptions, such as a rocket ship-helicopter that can land on snow or water. The plastic blocks inspire him and build his confidence.

So what if a few pieces turn up in the litter box? The free time they buy me is worth it. Bringing the set home was one of those small victories a parent of an ADHD child looks for.

I say, "Thank you, LEGO!" Harry says, "We can get more?"

This article comes from the Summer 2009 issue of ADDitude.

To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.

TAGS: ADHD Toys and Games

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