MS Lego Therapy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- LEGOs might be the colorful bricks of your childhood, but for one group of multiple sclerosis patients, they're therapy.

Norton Healthcare is hosting a trial class to see to see how it's helping patients both mentally and physically.

Tucked away in a room at Norton Women's and Children's Hospital, about a dozen people are building something special using colorful bricks as therapy for people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

"Happy therapy," said Tiny Jones who was diagnosed in 2011.

The tiny pieces are making a big difference.

"I could feel it actually rewiring my brain," said Kathleen Jordan who got the idea when she found a giant bag of LEGOs at a thrift store. The LEGOs helped her at a time when she needed it most.

"Unfortunately, I'd lost a really close friend, my sister and my dog all within six months. So it was a pretty dark time for me. I didn't really want to do anything. Kind of closed in," said Jordan.

She'd never done LEGOs before, but she started to sort by shape and color to pass the time. As she did, she noticed a change. "It started improving my spirit and making me feel better," Jordan said.

She figured if it helped her, it might help other people who suffer from multiple sclerosis. She brought the idea to the therapists at the Norton Neuroscience Institute who decided to start a trial class.

"We decided it was worth trying. It was worth seeing if this was a good idea to help patients with MS," said Amber Brennan, an occupational therapist with Norton Neuroscience Institute.

The resource center offers lots of different therapies for those with MS, but never LEGOs.

"I know there's other LEGO therapy groups with children, but this is the first I've known with adults," said Brennan.

It launched at the beginning of the year, with about a dozen participants meeting every Tuesday to build. The class keeps their hands moving and their minds sharp. With MS, it can be tough to recognize patterns or follow instructions. Working with LEGOs isn't just about tapping into their inner child, they're also challenging their brains and fine motor functions.

"It's been amazing to see how much we're able to challenge everybody little by little each week," said Brennan.

Therapists assessed the abilities of the patients at the beginning of the trial, and after 10 weeks, will look at how they're changing both physically and mentally.

"I feel tremendously that we will be able to notice very objective and measurable gains just by what I've seen in the sessions," said Brennan. "People who needed lots of help in the beginning don't need that much help at all now."

The Neuroscience Institute is in the process of applying for grants to offer the class throughout the year, not just for people with MS, but those with other neurological disorders too.

"It's another tool in the tool box," said Brennan.

While the program is in the process of applying for grants to continue, they're also taking donations to help expand.

Click here to make a donation to support the program.

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