Who is Brynjar Karl?
Brynjar is an 11 year old from Iceland with Autism and he loves Legos. He and his mom made a movie and posted it on YouTube asking the Lego Company to allow him and his mother to tour the Lego factory in Denmark. He then went on to ask if they would be willing to send him enough Legos to build his favorite ship, the Titanic. He has already drawn the ship to scale with every imaginable detail included. He ends the video saying “Please be so kind to help me make this, my dream, come true.”
In the movie Brynjar states “It’s kind of tough being autistic … I’m learning every day to behave like other ‘normal’ kids. Whatever normal means. “I’m still trying to figure that one out. But also, I’m artistic … and creative.”
He is extremely gifted and has made many other Lego creations either with the Lego sets or on his own. He hopes to be an engineer when he grows up.
Brynjar’s mother is also hoping to spread the word about Autism by making a documentary about her son. She exclaims “I’m working on a documentary about autism and my son, Brynjar Karl, who is himself autistic, is helping me with that process. I’m on a journey with him to understand better his way of thinking, how he expresses himself and how he lives his life with autism. In my documentary I tell Brynjar Karl’s story and how he sees the world, his dreams, passions, sorrows and challenges, hoping to share with the audience how an autistic mind works.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder and Autism
These are broad terms for different complex disorders connected to brain development. They are characterized by:
- Difficulties in social interaction
- Verbal and nonverbal communication
- Repetitive behaviors
In May 2013 these disorders were linked together under Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Before this there were many individual subtypes that included autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and Asperger syndrome.
Some of the associations of ASD are:
- Intellectual disability
- Difficulties in motor coordination and attention
- Physical health issues
People with ASD can have outstanding visual skills and excel in math, music, and art.
The Number of Autistic People in America
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 88 children have ASD in the U.S. and it has increased over the last 40 years. Some research indicates that this increase is partly explained because there is improved diagnostics and more people are aware of autism. Autism is about five times more common in boys then in girls. About 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed in the United States each year.
Brynjar Karl is just one of over tens of millions of people worldwide that have been diagnosed with autism. He is a bright and capable young man, who with the right help can go on to lead a productive life. He has pride in his abilities and his view of the world.
Hopefully Lego will come through for this bright young man and help to make his dreams come true.