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Today is World Autism Day. With the entire month of April focussed on awareness and acceptance towards autism. For LEGO this has been the perfect opportunity to launch new initiatives to support neurodivergent fans. The plans unveiled today mainly concern LEGO stores, LEGO house and the LEGO life magazine. It aims to benefit neurodivergent fans of LEGO of all ages.

In a statement by The LEGO Group they underline the reasons for these initiatives:

“We know the LEGO System in Play is enjoyed by neurodivergent fans of all ages and we want to support, inspire, and celebrate their creativity. We hope that the changes to our stores, publications and family attractions will have a positive impact and help embrace the diverse needs and strengths of our fans globally. There will always be more to do, and we’re committed to working with fans and experts to implement initiatives that can help make a difference in building a more inclusive world.”

So what are these initiatives? Basically it’s trying to improve access for those with sensory issues. Both LEGOHouse and LEGO stores will work together with KultureCity to certify their accessability and provide support to those who need it. This will include training of LEGO employees and the availability of sensory bags. These bags will include a communication card, headphones, sunglasses, a lanyard and stim toys.

KultureCity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing accessibility in public spaces for individuals with sensory needs and non-visible disabilities. It certifies locations that provide visitors with an inclusive experience through staff training and access to support tools.

The aim is to have all stores in the USA and Canada certified by the end of April. Other countries will follow later this year and LEGO at this point has not yet provided a schedule when this will take place in Europe and the UK. Once staff training is completed and sensory bags are available a location will have a sign showing the certification.

Today, LEGO House already carries KultureCity Sensory Inclusive Certification. It’s the first of its kind in the Nordics to receive this certification. Next to it, LEGOHouse also participates in the Sunflower Lanyard scheme for people with hidden disabilities.

This fits with earlier actions by LEGOHouse. In Januarya new experience was unveiled in the History Collection. This features an interactive timeline with animations supported by audio, braille, International Sign and tangible wooden models.

The final news in todays statement was about the LEGO Life Magazine. LEGO has worked together with inclusion experts to assess the accessibility of the publication. This has resulted in some improvements that have been introduced in the latest issue. These include:

  • Numbering the boxes used in cartoons to make them easier to follow.
  • Ensuring consistent and meaningful use of visual simples.
  • Planning content to suit varied abilities and interests.
  • Having consistency in placement of useful items, such as prompts for activity answers.

The report has also praised LEGO for it’s diverse representation and other inclusive measures that were already in place. A summary of the audit is available here. The new magazine can be downloaded here. In this latest issue you can also find a feature on the creations from Allyson Gail, one of many autistic LEGO creators out there who makes very cool LEGO food creatures.

If you want to read more about these LEGO initiatives, you can read the full statement about sensory inclusion on the LEGO website.

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The Brick Post's Foreign Correspondent, AFOB from The Netherlands. 

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