Max's shop of horrors

Warning: imagination testing site. Enter at own risk

Month: August, 2014

Foreign body language

I’ve talked at length about how other people’s body language can be about as decipherable to me as Klingon algebra, but the funny thing is, it goes both ways. Very often, my own posture and behavior are completely misinterpreted. It’s like me and the rest of the world speak similar but fundamentally different non-verbal languages. I say “danke”, they hear “dunk it”. (A disaster in the making if we happen to be playing with a sizable hunk of potassium near a body of water. Why would we be doing that, you ask? Because science!)

I therefore present to you; the Maximusaurus body language guide! (I can’t vouch this is true for all people on the autism spectrum, but I’m sure I’m not alone in these)

 

Tucking my arms in/hugging myself

What people think it means: I’m cold.

What is really means: Usually I do this when I’m in a triggering environment, and my OCD is going nuts like a doomsday prepper who got so high he thought the rerun of Independence Day on TV was a news report. It’s a way of avoiding touching anything by keeping my hands close. Kind of like that game where the floor is hot lava, except it’s “the world is hot lava”.

 

Pacing

What people think it means: I’m anxious.

What is really means: Usually it just means I’m thinking; I think best when my legs are moving! I also don’t like sitting or standing still for long periods of time, so I’ll pace just to satisfy my hyperactivity. Like my dancing, this has led people to believe I am under the influence of amphetamines, (and ask me where they can score) but really, all it takes to get me buzzed is glucose. (Though I do have the occasional steamy fling with caffeine, and in the past, with her kinkier sister, alcohol)

 

Staring at the ground

What people think it means: I’m depressed.

What is really means: I’m either deep in thought, or carefully watching where I step to avoid dog dung and other assorted landmines. I remain convinced that sometime in my teens I offended the Godfather of the canine yakuza and that every day he sends a minion to lay barker’s eggs along the footpaths in my neighborhood.

 

Jiggling my leg while sitting/wringing my hands

See: Pacing

 

While a lot of emphasis is placed on the difficulties people with autism can have reading others, it is often overlooked that sometimes it’s people off the spectrum who have trouble reading us. As each person with autism is different, however, there is no definitive guide to “autistic body language”. Just bear in mind that, like in The Labyrinth, things aren’t always as they seem. 😉

My first digital newsletter as editor = published

The autism support group I work for, the I Can Network, has launched the first edition of our online newsletter, Grapevine, which I had the honour of working on as editor.

Without further ado, to present to you: Grapevine: The Fruits of Awetism

http://icannetwork.com.au/

Max Flu

Any male will know the agonizing ravages of that most horrific of diseases, “Man Flu”. (Which, by the way ladies, science has recently proved is real. You’ll have to Google it though, WordPress is being an insufferable gherkin and not letting me link)

Less well known though, is a rare mutant strain of this disease, so diabolical that the KGB, the League of Shadows, and Weyland-Yutani tried to weaponize it. The governments of the world deny its existence, so it has no official name, but the genius who discovered it coined it “Max Flu”.

Max Flu is a very selective virus; nobody knows how many people are susceptible to it, but the majority of the population seems naturally immune. I myself am unlucky enough to be one of few who are not.

In addition to the usual discomfort of Man Flu, Max Flu has the additional effect of making the victim acutely anxious and paranoid about infecting others. A patient with Max Flu will go to extreme lengths to avoid passing on the disease, including holding their breath in the presence of healthy people, washing their hands to the point of the skin splitting, and shutting themselves in their room for the duration of the illness. The victim will also suffer from guilt and panic attacks if they believe they may have infected somebody else.

There is currently no vaccine against Max Flu, and the only effective treatment seems to be a combination of the remedies used for colds/influenza and OCD. If you too have experienced this illness, please contact Maximusaurus Viral Research in the comments section. (But use a fake name; THEY ARE WATCHING)

Plans for the Victorian Autism Conference

It’s an exciting time to be an autism advocate! From tomorrow ’til the 8th, the Victorian Autism Conference will be held in Melbourne, and the NGO I work for, the I Can Network, has some big plans for it.

There will be over a thousand guests attending, including health care professionals, people on the spectrum, and their families, so this is a golden opportunity to sow the seeds of our ideology; that we should nurture and celebrate the talents of people with autism instead of treating it as a disease. That in addition to helping them face their challenges, we should recognize all that they have to offer, be it encyclopedic knowledge, photographic memory, or the ability to think outside the box.

My boss will be giving the conference’s closing speech, and to help spread awareness, I’ve been tasked with writing an opinion piece to be submitted to The Age, which outlines our mission. The piece I wrote is under consideration as I type this. Fingers, toes, and  everything else crossed! (Except the streams, of course. Never cross the streams!)

I feel truly privileged to be a part of this growing movement, and I can’t wait to see what develops from this.