LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Most children love them. Most parents curse them after they step on them. We’re talking about Legos.
Now, the small building blocks are being used to help patients with neurological disorders, like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders.
Kathleen Jordan has battled MS since 2007, though she admits there were symptoms dating back to the 1980s. During this time, she’s encountered vision problems, challenges with leg and hand movements, and lapses in cognitive function.
“With MS, it’s like your brain just gets cross wired,” Jordan said. “You can lose coordination and the ability to work through challenges.”
Jordan was first introduced to Lego therapy two years ago, after finding a bag at a thrift store.
“I thought it might be fun to make figurines and some small scenes,” Jordan said. “Something to keep my mind sharp and my hands moving.”
Since purchasing the Legos, Jordan works with them every day.
“MS makes it tough to recognize patterns, follow instructions and move around little pieces,” Jordon said. “Legos require all three of those things, so naturally it wasn’t an easy hobby.”
After building more than 60 Lego scenes, Jordon decided she could help others with Lego therapy too. She took the idea to the Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center, and from there, the Lego program was born.
The program launched in January 2019. Nearly a dozen MS patients meet Tuesdays at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. For 10 weeks, they put together figurines, like dogs, robots or buildings. They also spend the last part of each class working on a group project, a Lego village that they plan to enter into the Kentucky State Fair this summer.
“Programs like this provide very important outlets for neurological patients,” Program Coordinator Heather Osborne said. “Not only does it challenge them but it also gets them outside the home and interacting with their peers. The comrade and social connection is just as important as physical treatment.”
For 12 years, Jordan has attended several different classes at the resource center. She says she’s noticed positive changes in her Lego therapy classmates.
“The programs have been lifesaving in my battle with this disease,” Jordon said. “It might seem silly, but for someone with MS, Legos can be very intimidating. Each week everyone becomes more confident, not just in their ability to build things, but also in life. Plus we like to laugh a lot. It’s just a good time.”
The Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center is looking to grow the program and hold courses several times per year.
“We think we’re really onto something and hope to offer more Lego therapy to more patients,” occupational therapist with Norton Specialty Rehabilitation Center in St. Matthews Heather Brennan said.
If you’d like to support the program, click here.