Spectrum First LEGO League Team Forming

By: Rob Adams on July 2, 2013

One of our long time members, Renee, has funding and an existing team for First LEGO League specifically geared towards children on the Aspergers spectrum. She asked us to put out this post for her.

Rocket City RoboSkills will be starting again soon. We are a parent led First Lego League Robotics Group.We have a few openings (limit of 10 kids for a team) for middle school aged kids with Aspergers. MindGear Labs has graciously offered to let us meet there this year on Fridays from 4-6 pm. Please email Renee Lowder at rCarbee@gmail.com if you are interested or contact MindGear Labs.

This is possible by a grant from AUVSI Pathfinder Organization and is sponsored by the Autism Resource Foundation. Parents participation is required. This is a free activity for kids with Aspergers. Please see www.RoboSkills.blogspot.com to see what we did last year and what it is all about.

Coach, Renee Lowder

We are glad to support Renee and RoboSkills. If you have a spectrum child who is interested in LEGO Robotics you owe it to him/her to drop Renee a line.

  • Sharon Hanna Canaday

    is this just for Auspies, or kids on the autism spectrum too, that might not have as high of an IQ (Auspies are generally pretty smart, but Autism kids may or may not be) I have an autistic boy who would LOVE to be in a lego group, but he has a low IQ.

  • Renee Lowder


    Some of the kids are PDD-NOS. As long as your son is able to work in a group he is fine. Parent participation is a must to keep kids on tract.

    Let me explain what it is all about. It is not just a Group where kids just play with Legos. The whole purpose is to give them a chance to participate on a First Lego League Robotics Team. We learn about programming a Lego Mindstorm that we create. As a team we work on a problem, find an innovative solution, and then present that to others and judges at a Robotics Competition. We also learn Social Skills like Teamwork and being Flexible. It is a lot like doing a science fair but for a longer time. The season ends around mid December.

    We also have a lot of fun a long the way. We shot Angry Birds with robotic catapults made out of mindstorms. The kids had to learn they couldn’t talk because it would trigger the sound sensor. :).

    Another activity we had was hunt Easter Eggs with robots. We made the controller like a video game controller. The kids learned about light sensors through that.

    I have been a coach one year and an assistant coach for two. I am a parent of a kid on the spectrum who just had an idea. I wanted to be able to give kids who normally would not be able to participate a chance.

    Coach, Lowder

  • MindGearLabs

    Sharon, Sorry for the late reply. We’re still getting Disqus working right. I will have to check with the coach. I’ll get back to you soon.

  • MindGearLabs

    Whoops Renee already responded. Thanks Renee!

  • Sharon Hanna Canaday

    OK – it sounds perfect. Our son is PDD-NOS. His IQ is in the mid 60’s (for what that’s worth, these kids don’t test well, to the number is pretty inaccurate)

    My other issue is the time. We are Seventh Day Adventist so Friday afternoon is not a very good time for us, particularly in the winter, when Sundown is as early as 4:00 – our Sabbath starts at sundown, sort of like the Jewish Sabbath. But we may look the other way, on that, because we feel this is important for our son. I don’t suppose there is any possibility that it could get moved a tad earlier in the day?

  • Renee Lowder


    Unfortunately, Fridays are the only day I can get there. By the time we get out of school (my kid seems to always be last) it is 3:50 from where we are located. We also have a team member that comes from New Hope.

    We understand the problem with the Sabbath. We have conflicts with our church too for music concerts. Will that also mean that you won’t be able to participate in the tournaments which are on Saturdays?

  • Renee Lowder


  • Sharon Hanna Canaday

    yeah, it would mean that. Would that be hard on the team, to have one person not there? We have also discussed starting a more casual ‘lego group’ with no particular goals other than socializing the kids with lego as the common ‘interest’ – sounds like that might be a better option for us for now. I’m not sure that my son is up the the level of thinking that it sounds like your group requires. Some days he can think well, other days he just can’t put two thoughts together to save his life.

  • Lynn Marker Verdin

    Hi Renee, I came across your oar when browsing the internet for lego robotics and aspergers. My 2nd grader is an Aspie and did a lego robotics camp this summer and loved it! Unfortunately we are in The Columbus, OH area and there aren’t many lego robotics clubs in our area. I’d love to find him something, or put together something like you have done here! If you are ever willing to let me pick your brain regarding grants, group organization etc., please let me know. You seem to be doing something terrific with this group, keep up the good work and best of luck to you and your team!!