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You're definitely not alone. There are quite a number of us around, whether professionally diagnosed or self-diagnosed (which I know may not be entirely accurate). I enjoy focusing on the task at hand with no distractions, simply following instructions without having to think about things too much. Lego has greatly helped me with my anxiety, particularly during the really bad days when I needed a distraction. Only downside is how expensive it is so I can't always afford to buy new sets once I'm done building what I have. But then I guess that's a problem we all have!
a) Technic, which he finds very frustrating, or
b) nearby during a meltdown!
I've been to a lot of meetings for families so I've seen a lot of autistic people in my life, and Lego seems to be a common interest. It's a sort of self-contained system where creativity can be utilised without the stress of too many options.
I'd recommend anyone who "self-diagnoses" themselves to get a formal opinion, as you'll almost inevitably be told something different. Autism is generally confused with the lesser-known social anxiety, which is effectively the same as what most people incorrectly think autism is (hence the confusion). Social functioning is only one of the many aspects of autism, and the only immediately apparent one - there's the meltdowns, for starters; extreme sensitivity, particularly to noise and touch; intellectual disabilities often go hand-in-hand with it as well. It's something your parents or teachers would have noticed when you were at a very young age, and not something you'll notice yourself without a reference point. I've had a handful of people approach me, telling me they're "self-diagnosed autistic". These are the sort of people who definitely, definitely aren't, and it's a bit insulting that someone who has such little understanding of the disorder would claim to know all of the hardships that come with it.
Unfortunately, my brother isn't on this forum - I think it'd intimidate him quite a bit - but it seems there are plenty of other AAFOLs around to chat with. Have fun!
Welcome to the forum. I understand the (historical) stigma regarding grown-ups buying toys for their own pleasure. But I feel that is being eroded now, and as long as you have an understanding household (which I think you have if your wife is ok with you buying the UCS Falcon - even if you have to sell it on afterwards) you don't need to worry about that any more. You certainly don't need to worry on here!
Join in on any conversations you find interesting and add to them your own POV and Lego news! :-)