‘He’s a brilliant kid’: Chesterfield teen with autism brings hundreds of LEGO creations to life

The bookshelves and tables inside 19-year-old Connor Schoenfelder's room is filled with his LEGO creations.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Hundreds of LEGO creations fill the bookshelves and tables inside 19-year-old Connor Schoenfelder’s room as part of his passion for turning the building blocks into sculptures, cartoon characters and landmarks.

19-year-old Connor Schoenfelder displays hundreds of his LEGO creations in his room.s
19-year-old Connor Schoenfelder displays hundreds of his LEGO creations in his room.s(Source;Vinnie Schoenfelder | Vinnie Schoenfelder)

Vinnie Schoenfelder, Connor’s father, said his son’s passion for building started at a young age.

“It started with the Duplo box of larger ones for toddlers,” said Schoenfelder. “It is a creative outlet for him.”

At a young age, Connor Schoenfelder started building blocks towards his LEGO dreams.
At a young age, Connor Schoenfelder started building blocks towards his LEGO dreams.(Source;Vinnie Schoenfelder | Vinnie Schoenfelder)

Brick by colorful brick, Schoenfelder has spent years turning his LEGO dreams into reality with help from the tiny pieces and instruction manual in his LEGO sets.

Connor has built several big pieces, including a replica of the Titanic, a model of the Taj Mahal, Cinderella’s Castle and Hogwarts.

A 19-year-old creates a replica of the Taj Mahal
A 19-year-old creates a replica of the Taj Mahal(Source;NBC12 | NBC12)

“There’s probably not a Lego he hasn’t done,” he said.

Connor has autism and his father, Vinnie, said the LEGO bricks he builds help him.

“He took to it very quickly, and I think it helps settle him,” Schoenfelder said. “He’s partially verbal. He will never be independent, and going into society, he needs to have a full-time aide or caregiver.”

19-year-old Connor Schoenfelder creates hundreds of LEGO sculptures.
19-year-old Connor Schoenfelder creates hundreds of LEGO sculptures.(Source;NBC12 | NBC12)

Connor’s sets also allow him to complete these builds from start to finish.

“People will take 30 days to make the Death Star. It will take Connor a day,” said Schoenfelder. “It’s not about having it done. It’s getting it done.”

Schoenfelder also said these bricks give them a chance to have time for themselves.

“The reason why we got into giving him this many Legos is for people who have autism in their family, like us, respite is very, very difficult,” he said. “For us, again, it gives us a chance to have some time to ourselves.”

Hundreds of LEGOS fill the bookshelves inside Connor Schoenfelder's room.
Hundreds of LEGOS fill the bookshelves inside Connor Schoenfelder's room.(Source;NBC12 | NBC12)

Connor’s father is also a Vice Chair on the Autism Society of Central Virginia board, supported by this year’s RVA Duck Race.

“It educates families, it provides services and care, and it also provides a community for people who are autistic to come to join camps and programs.”

Connor Schoenfelder builds a replica of the Titanic out of a LEGO set.
Connor Schoenfelder builds a replica of the Titanic out of a LEGO set.(Source;NBC12 | NBC12)

Schoenfelder said Connor is eager for LEGO to open in Chesterfield and dreams of being a master builder.

To learn more about the RVA Duck Race, click here.

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