Alyson Thomsen gives her quirky recipe for becoming, well, her. In this blog we find out how Alyson came to become a LEGO® therapy maestro, as well as discovering some of the benefits of LEGO® building therapy.
- 1 husband made redundant
- 1 ex-teacher, prepared to travel
- 2 children, securely attached
- 1 budget aeroplane with 15kg luggage per person
- 1 small apartment in Billund
- 4 bicycles
- 1 Family Season Pass to LEGOLAND®
- Lots of LEGO® bricks
Approximate Cooking Time:
- 10 years
- Begin with an unexpected redundancy situation. Make sure that this causes enough shock and panic so that CVs are posted internationally.
- Transfer to Denmark, taking with you the bare essentials for sustaining life, including your two children.
- Procure a small apartment of 84M² with just 1 bedroom, and move the family in. Ensure that you have no car, no television, no phone, no dishwasher, no microwave and no radio.
- Place each child carefully into kindergarten and school respectively, without overtly worrying about the language barrier.
- When you are sufficiently bored, take a small box of LEGO® and try to follow the instructions inside to build the suggested model.
- Upon completion, try to construct a more complex set.
- Visit LEGOLAND® daily, until you feel that you could provide VIP blind-folded tours of the park, and your children don’t want to visit anymore!
- Relocate your family to North America and enjoy all the benefits and travel opportunities of living stateside.
- Immerse yourself in LEGO® Systems brand values, company culture and ethos, and drizzle with bricks.
- Beat together all the ingredients, then return to the UK to set up your own educational consultancy, teaching and training, using LEGO®.
- Knead together for a solid 9 months.
- Burn out! This is an essential factor in truly comprehending many of the concepts discussed within the Thera-Build® Methodology.
- Spend time playfully with children who are struggling socially and emotionally, stir in some creativity, joy and a generous amount of hope.
- Add a splash of acceptance, a pinch of flexibility and a large dollop of sensitivity to the mix and line the base with safety.
- Et voilà.
It is strange how life can take you down a path that you never planned to take. One avenue leads to another, a fork in the road means that choices have to be made and before you know it, life has taken on a new direction and a new meaning.
Thera-Build® is my first book and it is a culmination of a life-journey gone awry! It wasn’t always an easy ride; but on reflection every new experience was necessary to help me reach a point where this book just had to be written. My hope is that it will have enormous value for the many children out there who are struggling socially and emotionally, and require a little playful support and interaction in their young lives.
Thera-Build® is a way to work therapeutically with children using LEGO®. The bricks are an important part of this particular methodology and there are lots of practical ideas inside the book for playful activities, age-related expectations, hygiene, storage, etc. However, what is most fundamental to the approach is the sense of belonging and connection that young people feel when they are part of this programme. The main emphasis is on children being seen, feeling safe and secure and helping children to self-soothe.
Ten years ago, I had clicked a few bricks together and built the odd tower by accident; but I had never built a single model out of LEGO® and couldn’t envisage why I would want to! Today, I could not imagine my life without these colourful little bricks in it. As I have observed the reactions of countless children to the sensory, bonding nature of Thera-Build®, building with LEGO® has become a cathartic experience for me too.