Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Anna Kennedy – Autism & Information Processing Workshop

Information Processing Challenges Covered In Workshop

This workshop gives an overview of some (of the many) information processing challenges that people on the autism spectrum experience.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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An Educational System That Works?

  • You can have all the legislation place, however it has to be with people in mind.
  • The staff must have a specific skillset for the the job that is concisely filtered during the interview process.
  • Having a concrete 3 to 6 month probationary period in which the management team gauges if the person is suitable for the job or not.
  • Allowing staff to healthily work parallel with different autism “fruit salads“, giving room for mistakes and adaptions.
  • Having a mental health team for both staff & students being looked after, monitored, recognised and validated.
  • A firm, healthy and egalitarian working environment for both students and staff.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Compliments, Expectations & Being A Connected Self

Don’t expect anything because chronic expecting can lead to over attachment, over investment and a lack of clarity. If people are getting on with their lives without your presence that should be enough.

If they don’t answer it’s because of own their life, if they don’t call or reply it’s their choice and so was that to ponder on how much of our created reality of people is accurate? All these aspects should be respected.

I give compliments for example because of recognised achievement or personal progression – there is nothing in it for me (nor should there be) other than the simple idea of another’s self belief and determination.

I sense more than I dare need to interpret because that is were the answers are found not always in one’s actions but one’s energy.

If one wishes other’s to be truly be at one with themselves regardless of their situational environment that breaks all cultural divisions in the world .

To be internally connected first is the key to quality of life.

It means you show nothing more than you and that should be enough.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Autism, Information Processing and Train Travel

This is an article about autism and travel, on the context of a train station the potential pieces of a person’s autism and specific information processing challenges.

Face blindness

When on a train, waiting for a person at a station and/ or destination one may struggle with the ability to recognise someone by their face this is called prosopagnosia. Some people may need to different compensatory strategies to make the connection that they are a person that they know.

  • A board that has their name and the person’s name.
  • A familiar piece of clothing such as shoes, earrings, glasses etc.
  • The sound of the person’s voice.
  • The way in which the person moves such as gait, walk and stride.
  • Tactile and alternate sensory modulation to create association, such sniffing, tapping, rubbing etc.

Visual Perceptual Disorders

If a person has related visual perceptual challenges within a train station this can cause distraction but the way in which that connects with association is vast because of different experiences, variations and the personal emotions that got with.

  • Becoming increasingly “meaning blind” may mean the person goes into the system of “sensing” within their surroundings.
  • May experience intense euphoria and induced chemical highs due to simultagnosia and/or semantic agnosia’s. (fragmented vision).
  • May experience intense aversion and induced chemical highs due to simultagnosia and/or semantic agnosia (fragmented vision).
  • May need contextual means to be able to ground themselves this could be self-regulated or from another person.


Topographical Agnosia

When a person is in the same surroundings but cannot process or perceive where they are (even though they have been to this place many times) this could be to do with many factors – coming on a different train that is resided in a different place at the station for example or moving to the same location from a different angle.

  • Needing to find a place of association that is a landmark
  • Needing to be able to mentalise the new surroundings (through different modulations and associations).
  • Needing to be able to go to a place of safety.


Language Processing

This is a broad definition in which a person’s information processing ability to express and/or receive language may be for example be distorted the person loses words within a conversation. In a train station with external stimuli this could compound the ability to receive language further.

  • The person may need the aid of gesture and tone to get meaning.
  • The person may need the aid of objects of reference.
  • The person may need the aid picture/word association (if they do not have visual perceptual disorders).
  • The person may have delays in connections and a shared sense of “social” this means the person may only be able to do all self no other or all other no self.


Personality Types, Temperament & Resilience

It is worth noting that within the context of this article that other factors that come into is a person’s personality type which has its own values, systems, associations, temperament and varying degrees of resilience and association.

This means that if a person is idiosyncratic for example may have more novel ways of dealing with stress induced situations say than a more conscientious person who may be more linear.

Conclusion

In the context of autism this does count for a person is more than their information processing and one’s personhood rides with the latter and vice versa. People given the balanced nature of caregivers and other means of support can and do have the ability to change and adapt be healthily acknowledging their “autism fruit salads” but also their personhood to, for people are more than labels and so humanity starts with seeing people and everything that comes along with it.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Interview by UK Health Radio About Life On The Autism Spectrum

I had the pleasure not being interviewed about my life on the spectrum by JJ Stenhouse she also interviewed advocate and Tally Nothey about parenthood and her son who is on the autism spectrum.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Anna’s guest this week on ‘All things Autism’ was our charity Ambassador Paul Isaacs

Anna Kennedy’s guest this week on Women’s Radio Station was Paul Isaacs.
‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.  Please see www.womensradiostation.com

Paul shared: My name is Paul Isaacs and I have been an autism advocate for over 10 years, in that time I have seen many changes – some positive and accommodating others separatist and polarising.

Birth & Early Development

I was born in May 1986 and I was a month premature.

By my Mother’s observations I was quite and happy baby, however after the first six months onwards she began to notice differences in my development.

The initial worry was that I was deaf and/or blind this was round 1987, my motor coordination was delayed, I had oral apraxia for a time and didn’t gain functional speech between the ages 7/8 years old in 1994. Due to being meaning deaf and meaning blind.

Mainstream Education & Employment

I went through mainstream education from the 1989 to 2002 despite having obvious challenges.

The social and environmental factors were acute if not initially passive by people in their presentation, comments, body language and judgement.

It was subversive from the adults within my village and more pronounced and opaque towards me from 1991 onwards at age of five, this then transferred into my educational experiences and larger part of my employment history.

What I Reflected Upon

What I have learned from these experiences is lack of knowledge creates judgement, bigotry and separation, but what causes this?

The Mechanics of Bigotry?

I think it is due to one’s environment, personality factors (although not entirely indicative), core beliefs (what is considered “normal”, “right”, “wrong”) and what could be extension of someone’s ideal of morality.

Paul Isaacs

Now what else I would say about this is false belief systems have to be procured and recycled.

It needs to be fed from generation to generation. This means that if these ideals aren’t challenged they cannot build fertile grounds of change.

Be Kind & Understand Why

This on a personal level this has brought me peace, balance and objectivity now I am not procuring bigotry or saying it is right, quite the opposite.

Sadly psycho-social and environmental underpinnings of ignorance have to be understood in order to give an opening for growth and internal change.

So in many ways the people whom projected their venom on to me. Did they have –

Information processing challenges?

Learning difficulties?

Their own developmental challenges?

Mental health conditions?

Challenges around attachment?

Personality disorders?

I thank these people for at the very least giving me a very clear framework of how not to treat other people.

Polly Samuel’s Fruit Salad Analogy

In the interview I talk about Donna William’s’ fruit salad analogy and how it has helped me grow not only in a professional capacity but personal one as well.

Over the years of being speaker, trainer and consultant I have used the foundation of her analogy and shared to masses so that people can be empowered (parents, carers, guardians teachers, mental health professionals and people on the spectrum) to get to the underpinnings of what is going on.

Could it be exposure anxiety? Could it be visual perceptual disorders? Could it be dyspraxia?

I am balanced that I don’t hold (and never will) all the answers and that in comes objectivity I do not speak for “all” on the spectrum that is impossible task.

I am but one person however what I can do is point out the multifaceted nature of “autistic fruit salads” and open up people’s perceptions.

In the end it isn’t about me, my ego, my status or my person it becomes about something greater other human beings.

Autism & Militancy

I am have noted the militancy within the autism community for many years, I am not affiliated with any groups nor do I procure to mantra of “us and we” which suggests that all people on the spectrum think and act the same.

I do not procure to using the word “neurotypical” as a slur with bigoted and separatist undertones.

How can one fight bigotry if you are willing to “other” people? Also I choose not to use that word because in my opinion there is no such thing because there are “non-autistic” fruit salads too.

Thinking About Human Beings

All people go through an AUT-istic stage of development.

People with autism can have non-autistic moments and experiences and people without autism can have autistic moments and experiences.

Lets be kind enough to presume competence, intelligence and in understanding the persons autism you have do not have to define their entire being by it because what else would be left? We have enough man-made divisions as it is.

I ask you do we need any more?

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Anna Kennedy – Autism & Mental Health Workshop

Mental health issues effecting 70% on the spectrum… a far cry from the old days where if you had any moodanxietycompulsivedissociativeattachmentadjustmentemotional or behaviouralpersonality or identity disorders or psychosis you were trolled with you ‘couldn’t possibly ALSO be autistic’. Alternatively people without functional communication who also have mental health issues traditionally have had their mental health issues almost as standard fobbed off as ‘part of their autism’.

Donna Williams 2016

Mental Health Co-Conditions Covered In Workshop

Mood Disorders

  • Emotional Dysregulation
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Cyclothymic Disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Depression

Anxiety Disorders

  • OCD
  • Exposure Anxiety
  • Social Anxiety Disorder/Social Phobia
  • Panic Disorders
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Catastrophising

Psychosis

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Substance Induced Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective/ Schizophreniform Disorder
  • Catastrophising – Psychosis Related

Impulse Control

  • Body Repetitive
  • Bruxism
  • Dermatophagia
  • Skin Picking
  • Nail Biting
  • Nose Picking
  • Hair Cutting/Hair Plucking
  • Self Injury Disorder

Attachment Disorders

  • Attachment Disorder
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Social Engagement

Dissociative Disorders

  • Autistic PTSD
  • Derealisation
  • Depersonalisation
  • PTSD
  • Dissociative Disorder NOS
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder

Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Aspinauts

What Helped Me? (Personal Perspective)

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Lenny King – An Autism Journey With & Presuming Competence

Lenny & His Mum Sharon
Lenny & His Mum Sharon

I first met the friendly and welcoming Lenny many years ago during a consultancy session

Lenny King is an endearing, funny and compassionate young man whom is thriving in his teenage years. He has a deep and close relationships to have parents and sister Rosie and has a sense of wonder and interest about the world around him.

Oral Apraxia, Echolalia and Language Processing

Lenny was diagnosed with on the autism spectrum when he was 2 years old, meeting him it is clear that he has oral apraxia and this is to do with speech organs in the mouth (tongue, jaw muscles, lips) not going tandem with what someone is saying. He has echolalia and this is do do with having a language processing disorder and creating one’s own language (patterning, theming and feeling) – with emotional context, phonic relatability and feeling words as opposed to their interpretive use.

Lenny has a great affinity for music and enjoys and eclectic array of songs – this seems have a profound impact on him as his body moves, sways also most in its own synchronistic modulations.

Sensory Perception, Object Blindness (Simultagnosia) & Meaning Blindness (Semantic Agnosia)

Lenny navigation of his external world suggests that he has sensory perceptual challenges if one can imagine for a that your sensory organs work but the feedback or information gets fragmented or distorted in some way – what system would you use? To create connections he is tactile kinesthetic in which he will feel his external world with great intent such as sand, blades of grass etc, When walks into a rooms he goes in around “dead space” and at times looks through and use peripheral vision to free information processing to “see”. This is extends to the way in which Lenny communicates and interacts with people touching their faces could be a way of creating context and association on a personal and emotive level.

Faceblindness, Body Agnosias & Mirrors

Lenny is fascinated by this face in the mirror and he at times brings his face up close and makes very distinct contortions around his mouth, lips and teeth. He seems to pay great inspection to these areas and there could be many reasonings to why this is happening.

Some people can be faceblind to their own face and on a subconscious level building up an external movement based “map” of what certain gestures look like could be one option, the other could be that he sees this person as an existential “friend” or “familiar person”. It took Donna Williams well into her twenties to understand she was looking at “herself” and me until I was sixteen. The final one could be a marriage of the above and be an getting a sense of his own “body as a whole” with the specific sways, body pressure and movement a to great a sense of reality and clarity/association.

Competence and IQ

I remember saying Lenny once not long ago “You are intelligent” to which he quickly replied “Yes!” this suggests to me that although he has complex language processing, sensory perceptual challenges and communication disorders and that his systems are on the plain of sensing much live his sister Daisy – in which he feels, merges with people, places and his surroundings and is able to connection on an emotive/introspective level that must never assume that “intelligence has a look”.

Lenny is intuitive, friendly, personable and highly idiosyncratic and self driven in all areas of his life and it is pleasure to be in his company.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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What Is It To Be Truly Balanced? An Internal Process That Will Change Future Relationships, Core Beliefs & Attachment

Note- This A Personal Perspective & Observations

It’s interesting to me I have been thinking today about what makes “true happiness” or being content? Being loved? Love starts and ends with you, self love in terms of not looking for others to fix you and indeed be fixed. If one is there connected self then us no need for you to find anything as it all resides within you. Regardless of your surroundings – family, friends, children etc.Then once those seeds have been sown you can be fruitful friendships, relationships that are connected you know and feel their energy.

Some people aren’t ready to know that their conscious and unconscious minds, perceptions, core beliefs can have a deep reaction to unresolved trauma (this is about introspection, objection and taking ownership and responsibility) they may get angry, upset, dismissive, dissociative, become impulsive or go back to threads of thinking that confirm otherwise – this is a defence, I choose not to take it personally.

AUT-Tisitc Personality Disorders

  • Someone who is Schizoid may become inverted and detached
  • Someone who is Obsessive-Compulsive may want order, structure and control
  • Someone whom is Schizotypal may become more inverted and paranoid

Self based Personality Disorders

  • Someone who is who is Borderline may have bouts of emotional dysregulation due to feelings of emptiness
  • Someone who is Dependent may yearn and be submissive/or monopolise to their caregiver
  • Someone who is Passive-Aggressive may be angered by their and feel the world is against them
  • Someone who is Narcissistic may want revenge and delude themselves with grandiose thoughts

In the end these people need and open-minded and autonomous person whom can give them the space to work through there own challenges.

Understanding “Self” May Not Easy – The Road To Balance

You do not and cannot be in people’s shoes all the time, you may give them tools, balanced advice or nothing at all. However true connection you can ask for them to experience whoever they are – wish them peace and clarity.Here are mine – I know their origins and through that you work with the systems through rationalisation.

  • I would dissociate from interpretive language due to being profoundly meaning deaf during infancy
  • Body dysmorphia with regards due to circumcision and not processing operation and inappropriate incident in with children in my early infancy. This has extended to other parts of my body.
  • I have an ongoing binge eating disorder due to gratification of over eating (being encouraged, validation and “normalised”) and this is in relation to emotional dysregulation and impulse control in mid late infancy.
  • For many years I had emetophobia (fear of vomiting) which started when I vomited on the house carpet in house after having orange juice in infancy. It was resolved in my late teens.
  • I have at times a subconscious reaction to certain words/phraseology – this is now largely resolved as was due to a isolated incident with a teacher at Primary School.
  • I have had Shy Bowel and Bladder Syndrome due to having the toilet door kicked in when I was infant at school in mid infancy.
  • I pick my hair which is related to impulse control (dermatillomania) because it was a relaxing/comforting experience when my Mum picked scabs from my hair when I had chicken pox in mid late infancy.

Knowing the origins of different aspects of oneself can be a road that may be filled with fear and uncertainty but it could well be a release from the shackles of the past.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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What is Communication & Interaction? Should We Look Deeper?

All people have different ways of interacting with people based on many different factors. This is from a personal perspective.

Personality Types, Conversation & Self

For example I am idiosyncratic so I have deep, introspective emotive conversations with people as a preference, I am solitary by nature so I feel comfortable with my own self, I struggle with praise and prefer sometimes more balanced and objective, real observations of things, I am mercurial so I can flit between different cultures, friendships but I am mindful about the challenges of borderline – lack of self identity, sloppy boundaries and emotional dysregulation (which has a 60 percent crossover with autism), I am self-sacrificing so I am willing to aid, support and help others in need but must be care not to present myself as a doormat, I am serious and can be intense and conversations and prone to depressive episodes.

Ego-syntonic Nature of Co-conditions & Complex Information Processing

OCD drove my to be solitary out of the shackles of the conditions, Exposure Anxiety caged me from the want to connect, dissociation was both and ally and enemy when I was severely meaning deaf/blind and being context blind at least allowed me to appreciate (and partly retain) the system of sensing being etc.

Information processing stuff such as faceblindness, simultagnosia mean I struggle with a shared sense of social, language processing disorder means I can go “deaf” to meaning however just KNOWing this information gives me something to work upon.

A lot of Contrast & Subjective Natures?

I think the situations you talk about are mixture of culture, environment, expectations (social, intercultural, gender, context) and how one’s brains are able to keep up (regardless if they are on the spectrum or not), personality types/clashes of ideals, perceptions, rules, outlooks.

Conclusion

It’s a melting pot that people look yourself accordingly – in the end it is what works best for you.

Paul Isaacs 2021