May 22

Building connections with Social Space Community

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At BrickResales, we know a LEGO brick is more than a tiny piece of plastic – it’s the key to unlocking confidence, communication and creativity for builders of almost every age and ability. This theory has been proven to us time and time again, most recently when we hosted Social Space Community for a workshop for teenagers on the autism spectrum.

A few months ago, we were contacted by Dr Radhika Tanksale (MA, MPhil, PhD Psychology), Director of Social Space Community – a social venture dedicated to promoting social connectedness through group activities.

“Social Space Community offers various social-recreational group workshops designed for young neurodivergent individuals to connect and interact positively with one another through shared interests,” says Radhika. “The intention is to create a sense of community among participants. We provide an opportunity for parents to participate in a workshop alongside their children, allowing them to explore their child’s interests together and meet other parents.”

In search of a new way to do exactly that, Radhika was getting in touch to ask if she could bring some of her teenage clients on the autism spectrum (and their parents/guardians) to the BrickResales Showroom.

“Thankfully, we found BrickResales via internet search,” Radhika says. “We wanted our participants to experience fun in a safe space, and share it with others in a group. In doing so, we could promote community participation, cultivate enjoyable social experiences, and encourage mindfulness for our group of neurodivergent teens and their parents.”

Well, it worked! The group came into the BrickResales Showroom, where they were set a challenge. The teenagers absolutely excelled – even the parents had fun interacting with the group through LEGO play.

“We created a group social challenge that required the participants to think, communicate, share ideas, build solutions to the problem using LEGO and then join all the constructions together,” says Radhika. “Each construction had its own story. The individual stories were woven together into a lovely tale, visually represented by the LEGO builds.”

But why LEGO play?

“LEGO parts can be a helpful medium for neurodivergent individuals to support conversations, social reciprocity, and creative expression,” says Radhika. “Additionally, building with LEGO pieces can provide a calming and meditative experience.”

Sifting through the boxes of LEGO parts, searching for a piece patiently, looking at patterns, colours, orienting to the detail of each piece, listening to the LEGO pieces being moved in containers by everyone, and feeling the texture and the shape of the bricks, can be a soothing sensory experience for many.

Radhika says that soothing the sensory system can assist with lowering the feeling of overwhelm. Moreover, these sensory experiences can cultivate mindfulness and start to bring a shift in the quality of attention.

“Instead of the attention hovering in the past, ruminating, or circling around the ‘what ifs’ of the future, the attention is in the present and fully engaged with the current experience,” she explains.

Social Space Community is about ‘building connections inside out,’ and Radhika says their visit to BrickResales helped them do this.

“Judy and Greg received us with a warm welcome, nurtured creativity, accommodated our needs, and wholeheartedly supported our intention for the day,” says Radhika. “The families had a lovely time.”

BrickResales founder Judy says the feeling is mutual.

“Whether it is through workshops like this one, work experience opportunities or simply engaging in conversation with our customers in the showroom, it is wonderful to see our business evolving more and more into this space,” says Judy. “We’ll seize any opportunity to help those in our community and connect with people through these little plastic bricks we all love so much.”

Radhika adds, “BrickResales is one of its kind, a space that allows you to be who you are and at the same time, feel a part of the group that enjoys the same thing as you do.”

Find out more about Social Space Community at www.socialspacecommunity.com.


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education


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