A Salmon Arm youth’s knack for breaking world records earned him special attention during Autism Acceptance Month.
In January of this year, Auldin Maxwell’s talent for stacking Jenga blocks earned him a world record when he constructed a tower of 693 blocks on a single vertical one.
In addition to getting his name in the Guinness Book of World Records, the Shuswap Middle School student also caught the attention of Hasbro, the company that produces Jenga. The toy and game company sent Auldin 24 packs of their giant Jenga blocks so that he might try breaking another record.
Recently, Auldin did just that. Twice. On March 27, he built a tower of 1,400 regular-sized Jenga blocks on one vertical block. In addition to breaking his own record, Auldin also put those giant blocks to use, building a 500-block tower balanced on a single block, earning him another record title.
Kelly Murray, Auldin’s mom, said Guinness World Records recently viewed videos of the construction of both of Auldin’s Jenga towers and confirmed both records, noting he also managed to construct a tower with 699 giant blocks, though that effort wasn’t documented.
Murray explained watching her son as he builds the towers, and how they have to be readjusted and steadied in the process, can be nerve wracking.
“He makes it look easy and has nerves of steel,” said Murray. “I don’t know how he remains as calm as he does.”
In addition to acknowledging Auldin for his record-breaking structures, Guinness World Records also featured him in an April 22 story titled Autism Acceptance Month: Celebrating two brilliant young record holders. The second young person was U.S. resident Sanaa Hiremath, who earned a record for largest mental arithmetic multiplication.
In the story, Auldin explains he readies himself for each record-breaking attempt by “mentally preparing (with) an enjoyable activity like riding my unicycle or playing basketball with my stepdad.”
During the stacking process, he enjoys listening to music, noting it helps him concentrate and makes the time pass.
“My favourite song to listen to while stacking is ‘Maple Leaf Rag’ by Scott Joplin from 1899. Because I am on the autism spectrum, I like listening to it over and over and it stays on repeat,” Auldin comments in the article.
Murray said Auldin was honoured to be in the story, and the two were impressed with the result.
“Auldin is never shy to speak about the fact that he’s autistic because he does feel that his stacking ability is related to being on the spectrum,” said Murray. “And he’s very proud that he’s autistic. He does look at it as a gift and not a hindrance in any way.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Auldin is interested in pursuing other record-making and breaking opportunities, not necessarily involving Jenga blocks.
“There are thousands of records you can attempt to challenge, so he’s going to be researching and looking at anything that involves stacking or balancing to see what he thinks he’s capable of – Jenga blocks aside.”
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