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Carnegie Mellon University brings LEGO brick based therapy to U.S.

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A therapy program that uses LEGOs to help kids make connections is coming to Pittsburgh. 

Carnegie Mellon University is partnering with UK-based Play Included to launch the Brick-by-Brick program in the U.S. The partnership will allow CMU to train educational professionals to deliver the program in their own schools. 

The program, developed with support from the LEGO Foundation, draws on research in neurodiversity and learning through play. It offers children positive, meaningful social experiences in a playful and accepting environment, a joint press release from CMU and Play Included says. 

"Through collaborative LEGO play, children have fun, make friends, and develop their communication skills, confidence, and social and emotional wellbeing," the press release says. 

Over the past few weeks, CMU says it has trained 27 educators in the Brick-by-Brick program methodology and there are already 16 active sites across Pittsburgh that have implemented the program to help more than 170 kids. 

Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Transformational Play, which focuses on the research and development of transformational games, is Play Included's first training partner in the U.S. 

"We are excited to bring the Brick-by-Brick® program to Pittsburgh and launch Brick Clubs in our region. In fact, we have already seen the benefits of the program through a pilot that we ran with students around Pittsburgh," said John Balash, head of partnerships at the Center for Transformational Play and the director of educational engagement at the Entertainment Technology Center. 

The program's launch in Pittsburgh comes after a pilot ran last year across Pittsburgh Public Schools, Dutch Ridge Elementary School in the Beaver Area School District and other organizations. 

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