Play is for all - always

Play opens up a world of learning as diverse as children themselves. But design of education tools, experiences and services must build on that and keep neurodivergent children in mind from the start. To make this vision reality, we've launched an accelerator programme called Play For All Accelerator. Read on to discover more.

Play is as different and adaptable as children themselves

Evidence shows that neurodivergent children benefit from the sheer variety of ways to learn that come from play. For any child who prefers learning through moving rather than sitting at a desk, play is the ideal way to get up, experiment and get to grips with the world. For any child who likes order and calm (in a world that for them is already noisy enough) play comes with rules, routines and reassuring systems that everyone can follow. Play helps children find and hone their strengths – giving them the best chance develop skills, to help them make friends, study in school and get set for grown-up life.

Learn more about the power of play

We're accelerating innovation that includes everyone and lets neurodivergent children shine

Design should invite all children to play and learn together. That means it needs to keep neurodivergent children in mind from the start. The more inclusive the ideas, the better they are for all children. 

So far, we haven’t seen enough classroom innovation that’s designed first and foremost with neurodivergent children in mind. Or, frankly, enough support in general. We think it’s time to change that.

We've built the Play For All Accelerator programme for NGO's, start-ups and social enterprises who support autistic children and those with ADHD. Together we want to reach more neurodiverse children with playful learning.

We're working with experts to meet the needs and wishes of the neurodiversity community

The LEGO Foundation is working with experts and advisors from the National Association for Special Educational Needs (nasen) including experts by lived experience and innovation strategists from Founders Intelligence.

The accelerator programme

The accelerator gives out a total of USD$20 million in grants to up to 25 organisations. It offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to benefit from The LEGO Foundation's research, play facilitation tools and expertise to create products and services that really make a difference to autistic children, children with ADHD and their families. The programme works in two phases to create products, services and experiences that recognise neurodivergent children's strengths and nurtures skills.

Find out more about the programme

Disclaimer: We use autistic-identity-first language

The programme uses autistic-identity-first language to discuss autism, for example “autistic child” instead of person-first language such as “child with autism" as research has shown that a majority of autistic individuals prefer this terminology (Kenny, Hattersley, Molins, Buckley, Povey, and Pellicano, 2015).

Nevertheless, we recognise there is variation in preferred terminology both within the group of people with a diagnosis and within parent/caregiver and practitioner groups. Some parents may prefer the term “child on the autism spectrum” and professionals often use “person with autism” or clinical terms such as “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD). To avoid repetition throughout this release we have also used, “on the autism spectrum” or “on the autistic spectrum”; which were considered acceptable by all groups.

We're just getting started

We’re here to champion neurodivergent children and make sure every child gets a fair chance to learn through play. Expect more grants, more partnerships and many more chances to play in the years to come. Last year, we partnered with Play Included. It’s an initiative that specifically helps autistic children build belonging and make friends as they play together (with the help of a few LEGO® bricks). Head over to our site to see what we’re doing with children, parents and facilitators – and download lots of resources for playing at home and in the classroom.

Learn more

Learn more