Legoland Discovery Center Chicago teamed up with Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley pediatric outpatient rehabilitation centers to provide a one-of-a-kind Lego experience for children with special needs, disabilities and serious illnesses.
Doors to the fully ADA-accessible Center opened exclusively for children, families and therapists from Easter Seals on Friday, April 25, offering programs and activities designed to engage and entertain Lego enthusiasts of all abilities.
"We wanted to give children who may need an extra bit of encouragement and attention the chance to experience Lego in new ways that will help them grow and spark their imagination and creativity," said Nick Miller, general manager of Legoland Discovery Center Chicago. "That's why teaming up with Easter Seals for this event was so important to us."
From developing fine motor skills to improving a child's speech and problem solving abilities, Easter Seals therapists say Lego bricks have long been an invaluable developmental tool for their young patients.
"There are dozens of ways that therapists use Lego bricks to help children develop new skills," said Jennifer Tripoli, speech language pathologist at Easter Seals. "I have used them for a variety of different speech/language skills and to teach children how to follow directions."
"I use Lego bricks to help children learn how to describe words, concepts and prepositions," said Amanda Hughes Nagle, assistive technology department coordinator at Easter Seals. "For example, I may say to a child, 'Choose a color. Is this Lego big or small? Is it on top or under the table? What is the Lego next to?' Lego bricks are a great way to teach children how to request an object, take turns, follow directions, give directions, comment on objects and engage in pretend play."
Around 350 Easter Seals guests attended the event. Children had the opportunity to participate in creative build challenges and assist Legoland Discovery Center Chicago's Master Model Builder David Howard in a group build. A raffle was also held to help raise funds for Merlin's Magic Wand, a global charity that aims to provide children with special needs, serious illnesses and disabilities with magical, hands-on experiences around the world.