Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Being Thankful for My Parents

Note this is from a personal perspective

Being thankful is a term used for many different contexts, it has different meanings, associations and be it personal or professional and it can come from an emotive place deep within someone’s being and soul to take a humble acknowledgment of the foundations laid bare that I had no control of (no person does) but giving it some thought and the time to do so has made be reflect on my early years.

Not Knowing But Still Doing

I was born in 1986 and my parents had now knowledge of the word “autism” for it would be many years before the word would be uses, so one must get by the frameworks and current situation in other words my parents not knowing did it hinder? Or through this did it urge them to be me more holistic, creative, and more practical in their approach towards me as a human being? I think it did.

Different Systems & Trajectories

If I would had been diagnosed it would have been of “classic” autism this wasn’t just about milestones speech, language and motor delay were noted – I was also hemiplegic, had visual perceptual disorders, face, object and meaning blindness and well as being meaning deaf and having a language processing disorder some of this partly due to being brain damaged at birth.


I lived (and still due to some degree) in the system of sensing, was tactile kinaesthetic, had pattern, theme and feel language – but my parents saw me as their child, their son and valued member of the family this speaks values not only of one’s character and the wordless observations at the time but the patience and nurture that goes with being a caregiver.

Many adjectives and observations were made the idea that I was deaf and blind, having an attachment disorder these were all perceptions (rightly or wrongly) put upon not only me but my family. The way in which my parents dealt was in a a very holistic and fluid way the expectations they had for me was simple but would later a sturdy foundation to build from “happy”.

Autonomy, Growth & Boundaries

Now that is one emotion of many they cared not for existential things, materials or hierarchy or work or education because that was something I would do on my terms, they offered the values of autonomy, the healthiness of failure as a normal part of life and the sanctity of self-exploration.

As I have grown, I have valued their company, their need for boundaries, direction and care which has built up a mutual respect but not tipping into areas of blurriness of misinformation, but all our cards are held to each other we know where we stand.

Conclusion

The greatest gift that many are denied from their parents and caregivers (at many times through no fault of their own – just repetition of generational patterns) is the ability to grow into one’s own connected self this is something I hold dear and treasure.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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How To Drop A Piano Play By Samantha Grierson

The Plot

Ryver Cooper (Mabz Beet) needs a break and in order to learn their lines for the lead role in a new but dismal play, they book into a B&B in a quiet leafy backwater in Stratford upon Avon.

Margaret Grainger (Jane Asher) who owns the establishment is desperately trying to keep the mansion roof over her head with innovative ways to pay the bills.

Her lodger Libby Lentil (Lesley Joseph) provides some of this much needed cash and surplus to requirements drama. An unexpected weekend of revelations, desperations and reparations… while they all learn the fine art of how to drop a piano…

Tackling themes of love, loss and living an authentic life, “How to Drop a Piano” is Samantha.Griersons latest neurodivergent and LGBT+ comedy.

Listen soon – https://anchor.fm/samantha-grierson

Credits

Ryver Cooper by Mabz Beet
Margaret Grainger by Jane Asher
Libby Lentil by Lesley Joseph
Monica by Suzy Bloom
Lionel / The Major by Andrew Spooner
Sound Production Jack Townley
Written Directed and Produced by Samantha Grierson

Theme Tune “Drop it and go” – lyrics written by Samantha Grierson, piano and composition by Madge Woollard, Vocals by Rosie Eggleston, Bass by Jo Whateley, Mixed by Paul Reynolds. The team who created the theme tune all identify as autistic.

Listen on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Anchor and Google Podcasts

Samantha Grierson, Writer, Director and Producer of How to Drop a Piano, received a later life diagnosis of Autism in 2018, changing the course of her life forever.

What was initially a shock, became the driving force behind her creativity and allowed her to revive her love of writing. In addition to Kitty, Sam has written a
series of plays which deal with later life diagnosis of autism/ADHD and motherhood, including Henpire, Crocodile (Heather Peace), Mole (Sharon Morgan) and Kitty (Miriam Margolyes) which are available on all major platforms. Sam lives in Rugby with her 3 children.

Sam met Mabz Beet via a conversation on Facebook in June 2021. After their initial
chat about both being autistic and from within the LGBTQI+ communities, Sam went
for a swim and conceived of the idea of “How to Drop a Piano”.

Sam wanted to tell a story that wasn’t “about being autistic or Trans”, it was just a good heart-warming story that would hopefully make people laugh and think, 3 months later here is the completed audio play.

The Cast & Actor Biographies

Jane Asher is playing the role of Margaret Grainger in Samantha Griersons new LGBTQI+ and Neurodivergent Audio Play “How to Drop a Piano”.

Jane Asher actor, author and entrepreneur has.stared in TV shows and films such as The Masque of the Red Death (1964), Alfie (1966), Deep End (1970), The Mistress (1985-1987), Crossroads (2001-2003), Death at a Funeral (2007) and The Old Guys (2009-).

She is also known for supplying specialist
cakes and kitchenware, as well as publishing three bestselling novels.

Jane Asher has been the President of the National Autistic Society since 1997 after serving for many years as Vice President.

Jane supports the charity in various fundraising and awareness activities, including attending corporate meetings, opening and visiting our services, helping to organise a variety of events, including the Stars Shine for.Autism Christmas Concert, and raising awareness through media work.

Lesley Joseph Actor and Broadcaster, best
known for playing Dorien Green in the television sitcom Birds of a Feather from 1989 to 1998, and again from 2014 to 2020.

Other television credits include Absurd Person Singular (1985) and Night and Day (2001–2003).

Her stage roles include UK touring productions of Thoroughly Modern Millie (2005), Calendar Girls (2011) and Annie (2015). In 2018, she was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, for the original West End production of Young Frankenstein.

Lesley stars as Libby Lentil in How to Drop a Piano.

Introducing the fabulous Mabz Beet, who
plays the lead Ryver Cooper in “How to drop a piano” by Samantha Grierson.

Mabz is a Trans and Autistic actor who has starred as Jazz in “The Mighty Atoms” at The Bradford Playhouse, is a regular voice actor for the horror anthology series Quietly Yours, and Transmisson an Audioplay.

Sam met Mabz via a conversation on Facebook in June 2021. After their initial chat about both being autistic and from within the LGBT+ communities, Sam went for a swim and conceived of the idea of “How to Drop a Piano”.

Sam wanted to tell a story that wasn’t “about being autistic or Trans”, it was just a good heart-warming story that would hopefully make people laugh and think, 3 months later here is the audio play.

Andrew Spooner stars as Lionel in “How to Drop a Piano”, Audio Play by Samantha Grierson.

Andrew Spooner is a puppeteer, actor and voiceover artist who performed on Muppet Treasure Island, Muppet CD-ROM: The Muppets Inside, Muppet Treasure Island CD-ROM, Jim Henson’s Animal Show, The Hoobs, 101 Dalmatians, That Puppet Game
Show, Muppets Most Wanted and The Furchester Hotel as Furgus Fuzz.

Andrew trained at the Guildford School of Acting and upon graduation attended a workshop at Jim Henson Creature Shop run
by Nigel Plaskitt, Rob Tygner and Kevin Clash.

He has performed puppet characters for the BBC, Channel 4, Sky and a number of
independent production companies. His first puppeteering job was on Spitting Image in the mid 90’s.

Andrew has appeared as an actor on a number of British TV shows including The Bill, The Knock and Inspector Morse.

He has also appeared on the stage in various productions including Romeo and Juliet for Theatre Clwyd and Love’s Labours Lost at the Comedy Theatre.

Suzy Bloom stars as Monica in “How to Drop a Piano”, Audio Play by Samantha Grierson.

Credits include, “Noises Off” at The Garrick Theatre, “The Mentor” and “Stepping Out” at The Vaudeville Theatre, “Travesties” and “Mill On The Floss” at Nottingham Playhouse, “French Without Tears” and “Vanity Fair” at The Northcott Theatre. Velma Kelly in “Chicago” Adelphi, West End
Live, Bombalurina in “Cats” New London, Jessie Matthews in “Over My Shoulder” at Jermyn Street Theatre.

For radio: From The Worlds Of Doctor Who: Tamarind in “Lady Christina” and Katya in
“Tales From New Earth”, for Big Finish Productions.

Television and film work includes Patsy in Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher’s “Snuff Box”
(BBC3), Rachel in “Genie In The House” (Nickelodeon), Julie in EastEnders (BBC), Tamara in Casualty (BBC), Grenola Cherrystone in “Tillington Hills” (GR Films), Catherine in “The Art OF Love”, and Daisy in the award winning short film “SWEET” with The Mighty Boosh.

Suzy plays Miss Gilbert in Universal Pictures feature film “EMMA”.

Her quirky standup comedy routines can regularly be seen at many of London’s comedy venues. Including at Greenwich, Camden, Shoreditch and others.

Suzy Bloom identifies as OCD and joins the neurodivergent cast of this latest audio play. “How to Drop a Piano”.

Copied By Paul Isaacs with kind permission of Samantha Grierson 2021


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Sumita Majumdar – Autism & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder & Autism

Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have around a 30 to 40 percent crossover.

This isn’t to be confused Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder which has a 40 percent crossover with Asperger’s Syndrome and is the disordered extreme of the conscientious personality type.

Autism & Mental Health Crossover

With over 70 percent of people diagnosed with autism having mental health conditions – it’s time to ditch the rhetoric (however well meaning) that everything is “the autism” in presentation.

When people think of autism in terms of mental health please take into account of other factors such as

The presentation and origins of –

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mood Disorders
  • Impulse Control Disorders
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Attachment Disorders
  • Psychosis

A Personal Account Of Autism & OCD

Sumita gives a depthful, insightful and reflective descriptions of how autism and OCD co-exist she is a creative soul artist, musician, screenwriter, blogger and voice actress.

Sumita Unjumbled Blog

Paul Isaacs 2021


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What Is Friendship? What Is True Connection?

I think these are all valuable points – the test of a friendship can be outside of an environment that you were habituated in or become accustomed to.

Superficial Connection

What I behaviour I find worrying is people who appear to care on (sometimes on a superficial level) or proclaim genuine connection but internally act otherwise and switch to other “friends” because of social-emotional convenience or opportunity.

Mental Health & Environment

For me that isn’t true friendship that is situational necessity and can be fuelled by co-dependency, gas-lighting and sometimes a chronic need for external validation.

Now I understand the psychological underpinnings of such patterns – trauma, attachment, personality disorders etc.

Self-Ownership & Autonomy

But hypothetically if someone is going to take conscious ownership when information has been supplied work on being your own best friend first and break the cycle of victimhood and empower yourself to take control and autonomy.

Transparency

Friendships should be built at the very least on genuine connection, rapport, and dynamism if that isn’t there how can that be a called a friendship?

Please read this useful article: How to Know if Your Friend No Longer Likes You

Paul Isaacs 2021


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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