Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Decoding the Parkinsonian Face, Now in Handy T-shirt Form

This is probably the most popular PD cartoon I ever drew. I've gotten requests to reproduce it from around the World, from Poland to Australia. Now it can come to you wherever you are!

Words can mean completely opposite things. We add the cues necessary to their proper interpretation through our tone of voice and our facial expression. "Great job" means one thing when declared in approving tones with a smile, and just the reverse when intoned with sarcasm and a frown.

Unfortunately, both speech and facial expression can be compromised by Parkinson's Disease. As PD erodes our muscular control over our faces, we become enigmatic, the normal non-verbal cues people expect from facial expression are hidden by the "Mask of Parkinson's".  Our control over speech and facial expression slip away so slowly those of us with PD can easily overlook the changes. This can and does lead to confusion as people project meaning that isn't intended by the speaker.

This drawing serves as a reminder to ourselves that we can come across as severe, pissed-off, or, at best, inscrutable. It also functions as a heads up to those unfamiliar with this facet of PD. Available from my on-line store in the new simplified and spiffed-up version that appears below.

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