Chesterfield teenager with autism brings hundreds of LEGO creations to life

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) — Hundreds of LEGO creations fill the shelves and tables in 19-year-old Connor Schoenfelder’s bedroom as part of his passion for turning building blocks into sculptures, cartoon characters and monuments.

Connor Schoenfelder, 19, displays hundreds of his LEGO creations in his bedroom.s(Source; Vinnie Schoenfelder | Vinnie Schoenfelder)

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

“It all started with the larger Duplo box for toddlers,” Schoenfelder said. “It’s 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 using his LEGO sets’ tiny parts and instruction manual.

Connor built several large pieces, including a replica of the Titanic, a model of the Taj Mahal, Cinderella 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 probably isn’t a Lego he hasn’t made,” he said.

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

“He got into it very quickly, and I think that helps him settle in,” Schoenfelder said. “He is partially verbal. He will never be independent, and to enter society he needs a full-time helper or carer.

Connor Schoenfelder, 19, creates hundreds of LEGO sculptures.
Connor Schoenfelder, 19, 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,” Schoenfelder said.

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

“The reason we started giving him so many Legos is because for people with autism in their families, like us, respite is very, very difficult,” he said. “For us, again, it gives us a chance to have time to ourselves.”

Hundreds of LEGOs fill the shelves of Connor Schoenfelder's bedroom.
Hundreds of LEGOs fill the shelves of Connor Schoenfelder’s bedroom.(Source; NBC12 | NBC12)

Connor’s father is also vice-chairman of the board of the Autism Society of Central Virginia, supported by this year’s RVA Duck Race.

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

Connor Schoenfelder builds a Titanic replica from a LEGO set.
Connor Schoenfelder builds a Titanic replica from a LEGO set.(Source; NBC12 | NBC12)

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

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

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