‘He’s a brilliant kid’: Chesterfield teen with autism brings hundreds of LEGO creations to life
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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
Schoenfelder said Connor is eager for LEGO to open in Chesterfield and dreams of being a master builder.
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