When you think of the word ‘autistic’, what springs to mind? Do you imagine a socially awkward techie wearing glasses and hidden behind his computer screen or do you think of someone with a special talent that most normal people don’t possess?
Many of us have the tendency to judge a person’s intellectual disability too quickly, especially when it comes to children who are diagnosed with autism. But one 10-year-old from Iceland decided to shatter the stereotype associated with autism spectrum by building the biggest Lego replica of Titanic in the world.
A 10-year-old Autistic Child’s Project
15-year-old named Brynjar Karl Bigisson from Reykjavik, Iceland was diagnosed with autism when he was still a child which led his parents to fear that he wouldn’t be able to live a normal life like the rest of the kid of his age. But five years ago, young Brynjar accomplished something that even a normal adult couldn’t: he built the world’s largest replica of famous ship, Titanic, with nothing but Lego bricks!
The then-10-year-old displayed amazing dedication to his creative project which took almost 11 months to complete. After 700 hours of hard work, the world’s biggest Lego ship was complete. But Brynjar didn’t accomplish the record-breaking feat alone; he had the help of his amazing family who believed in him and supported him every step of the way.
The spectacular structure was built with over 56,000 Lego bricks and stands 5 feet tall. Today, the proud creator of the replica is 15 years old and his first Lego Titanic is set to make a debut in the Titanic Museum Attraction, Tennessee on Monday.
An Early Interest
Brynjar developed a keen interest in Legos when he was only 5 years old. He would play with the building blocks for hours, trying to build structures using the instructions that came with the Lego box, but soon, his creative side began to kick in and he started building structures using his imagination. At first, Brynjar was obsessed with building trains but he soon found a new inspiration for his Lego creations after his grandpa took him fishing and introduced him to his first boat.
The 15-year-old was fascinated by how a structure could stay afloat in water and wanted to learn more about ships. His interest quickly led to the discovery of the doomed Titanic, one of the most famous ships in the history, and by the time he was 10, he had already learned everything about the ship that there was to be learned.
The idea to turn his obsession with Titanic into a Lego creation was sparked by a visit to Legoland in Denmark where he saw all the amazing structures that could be built using nothing but Lego bricks. He saw Lego-sized houses, buildings, planes, cities, and ships inside the miniature theme park but he was unable to spot anything that resembled his favorite ship Titanic.
Building the Lego Titanic
He decided to take it upon himself to build a Lego Titanic model at home using the expertise of his grandfather Ogmundsson who was an engineer and had experience in building things. Mum Bjarney also decided to help her son in his project and the family affair began with the creation of a Lego-sized blueprint of the ship. Next, Brynjar had to determine how many chips he would require to build the model and how he would finance the project.
The 15-year-old pitched his idea to family and friends in return for donations that helped him buy enough Lego chips to make the project a success. Before he started building his famous Lego creation, Brynjar said that he had trouble communicating with others due to his autism, but the amount interviews that he had given since the success of his titanic model has helped him overcome some of the social awkwardness, which he considers to be a great accomplishment.
He has also experienced an immense boost in his confidence which is reflected in his school grades and the way his classmates treat him.
Being Different Isn’t Bad
Like any other parent whose child suffers from Autism, Bjarney didn’t know what her son’s future had in store for him and whether he would ever be able to live a normal life. But after the success of his Lego project, she no longer worries about his disability and believes that it is possible for autistic children to achieve their goals if they have the support of their friends and family.
Autism shouldn’t be perceived as a mental disability, but more like a gift which makes some children more unique than others. It’s important to remember that being different is not a bad thing. A number of great scientists and child prodigies who have changed the world were diagnosed with autism but they never let the disability get in the way of their creativity.