Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Celebrating My Gramp’s Life

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My Gramp had a wonderful send off yesterday the night before we said our goodbyes at the chapel of rest. He looked serene and calm in blue. I touched his face for the last time his skin soft and his hair the texture of snow. The next day we went to Oxford Crematorium to pay our respects and celebrate his life.

I firmly believe that in order to go to a funeral you must have known the person on a superficial level and that you aren’t there for your own selfish agenda to cleanse your sins of not being there while they were living, treating them poorly in life and making it all about you it is the ultimate hypocrisy.

I am so glad it was a celebration of his character, ethos, humour and outlook.

Gramp was a kindly fellow who cared deeply for his friends and family and would spread his kindness to those who took time to get to know him. He was funny, serious, charming, witty and above all loyal. He took shit and as another friend said made sculptures out of them from the people who decided to damage his character by spreading rumours to the verbal tirades he always knew who he was and carried being true to himself thats is what I loved about Gramp he loved life.  xx

Paul Isaacs 2017


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The Importance of Recognising Personality Types In Autism

Note this is from a personal perspective

Personality types are just as relevant to in which a person behaviours and responds to the environment around them, this includes interaction, communication, lifestyle choices, interpersonal choices etc.

Personality Types A Mix & Match

We can break down these personality types into their basic forms. In example I will use three different personality variants (people can have to 4 to 6) however this will simplify the point in question.

Personality Types in Autism 2017 Image

Personality Types Are Valid 

People on the autism spectrum will have personality types within their “autism fruit salad” like all other human beings people have overlapping personality types which can be fluid or concrete, complex or refined, narrow or lengthy which will be dictated by genetics and the environment they are in. They can also spill over into “disordered” extremes.

Is “Autism” All Of A Person? 

 I think that the main factor that gets missed in the overall ensemble when looking at ASD is personality traits/types. To define one’s whole neurology as one’s “self” ego-syntonic were as I see my neurology in terms of autism as part of “self” not the overall picture “ego-dystonic”.

This would surely help professionals, parents, guardians and people on the autism spectrum? To know that part of being a human is to do with the development of these aspects to?

“Autism” It Is Apart Of The Mix Not The Defining Factor 

To put in honestly that fact that I am face-blind isn’t “me” it is just how I processing faces, the fact that have simultagnosia as see in pieces isn’t “me” but is how I process visual information, the fact that I am aphasic and meaning deaf and struggle at times process the words being spoken to me isn’t “me” but is how I deal with receptive language they are part of the package, the fact that I struggle to do simultaneous “self and other” isn’t “me” but it means I need time to gauge and internalise information is again part of the package .

They come along for the ride and my personality types will dictate how I cope, manage and productively find an outcome for these different processing issues I have. If someone isn’t seen as person first then what are they?

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Autism -The Three Stages of Empowerment

Autism “Fruit Salads”(© Donna Williams 1995/2005/2014)

This is bottom to top analogy which implements all aspects of what could be in a person’s “autism fruit salad” to start off with the foundation is to understand the mechanics of what is within a person’s “autisms” (rather than autism). By looking at this we can separate it into these aspects.

  • Communication profile
  • Social-emotional profile
  • Emotional processing profile
  • Sensory Integration profile
  • Sensory Perceptual profile
  • Receptive Language profile
  • Expressive Language profile
  • Motor-coordination profile
  • Dietary profile
  • Auto-immune disorders profile
  • Learning styles profile
  • Personality types profile
  • Identity profile
  • Co-conditions profile

Interventions

These will be tailored to the specific needs of person’s profile/profiles looking holistically as well as professional for empowerment, guidance, social support, emotional support and/or any aspect of the person “autisms” that is within the mix. For example you could have someone who has exposure anxiety and dislikes direct confrontation and prefers an indirectly confrontational approach, is profoundly meaning deaf and aphasic. Think how you would build up that person’s profile and empower them?

An example

  • Gestural language
  • Aiding Mentalising by building up meaning and association
  • Being a follower not a leader or an expectant doer
  • Leave them wanting more and giving positive affirmations

Solutions

They will come in many forms as they marriage of each step relies on the one previous with regards to the “final step” this will be looking at what is working, aiding and empowering the person, their families, guardians etc. This could be put in an report or functional document for educational and professional services to have or it could be used as an information pack for friends and family the choice is yours.

Remember autism is not ONE THING it is a CLUSTERING of pre-existing conditions within one PERSON and that is the thing to realise that one person’s reality does not mean that is representational of all because that would mean a lot voices and realities would be left unheard it is time to change the landscape and starts with being open minded.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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To My Gramp – Gilbert Harpwood A Man Who Enjoyed Life

My  Gramp Gilbert Harpwood was a man who enjoyed life to the full he was an avid gardener tending to his vegetables and flowers with relish and passion, eager to plant his seeds that would blossom each year such as his runner beans, cabbages and brussel sprouts they tasted lovely and and as he said it is because they’re organic.

Gramp 1930s

He also was fascinated by the changes in the weather noting and logging the rainfalls and temperature changes through the years in his little note book which he called his “diary” which he has many of and would be interesting to look back at the what he noticed over the years.

His other main passion was football and he was an avid support of Oxford United all of his adult life going to the the Manor Stadium and also Kassam, he made many friends there and made lots of fans around him laugh with his antics and child-like wit which came in the form of chants, laugher, heckling and being accompanied by his little teddy mascot called Messy which he put in his bag with his little head poking out. Gramp always liked to imagine he was watching the game too.

Gramp Oxfod United.JPG

My Gramp was a pragmatic, idiosyncratic, humourous and largely misunderstood man he was caring, loving and affectionate in his own unique way he was a very guarded man and like to keep himself to himself only opening up to people whom he felt comfortable with and am I grateful for knowing him and spending time with him listening to his stories of old, wisdom, humour, political views and so forth.

He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2011 at the age of 84 which in many ways surprised me  that he was open enough to go to a diagnostic session and open up about his life with such candor and honesty, when the session was finished he concluded that is “why he was like he was”.  Reading books on the subject from the library.

Nan & Gramp 50th Wedding Anniversary

Despite his cancer he carried on till the end a lover of life and person who wanted live and he will do in our hearts and minds forever if there is a cloud up the sky with a garden patch ready to be tended to I know my Gramp will be there ready to tend to it.

I love you Gramp and thank you. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Paul Isaacs: Living Through the Haze 2nd Edition Review By Dr. Manuel Casanova 

 

Paul Isaacs’ book, “Living Through the Haze”, has been published (second edition). The book has new content, a new introduction and an afterword that I wrote. Paul was diagnosed as autistic in 2010. As a child Paul was considered to be a “naughty child” with no prospects for a future. At present Paul is a lecturer, trainer and consultant who promotes autism awareness throughout the UK. In the following paragraphs I provide the afterword that I wrote for “Living Through the Haze”:

Many times during his life Paul felt confused and detached from his surroundings. His attention could only focus on one aspect of his sensory experience. He lived his life as if wearing blinders, and as such, he could not react adequately to what people asked of him at home, at school or at work. His perceptual style made him seem odd to his peers. Parents, teachers and peers objectivised and bullied him.  In the end the reader can only wonder, how did Paul survive?

For many autistic individuals the environment overwhelms their nervous system with information.  Seeing a face is like looking at the sun. Blinking, when looking at the sun, is a response aimed at avoiding damage to your eyes by allowing only a sliver of sunrays to hit your retina. In autistic individuals, allowing only a sliver of available information into your brain is meant to protect it from overstimulation. Overall, autistic individuals can’t see the forest for the trees and it is easy for them to become thoroughly engrossed in the details of a particular situation but miss the larger picture.

Paul grew up displaying many of the classical symptoms of autism. Unfortunately, as is the case for many autistic individuals, his diagnosis came late in life.  Still, he prospered and found fulfillment in being a speaker, counselor and in helping others like him. In this book Paul publicizes his own plight with some of the darker aspects of autism. Through no fault of his own Paul was misunderstood and relentlessly bullied by even those who were supposed to protect him.  The psychological and physical aggression that he suffered is at the crux of a mixed mood disorder that at times has greatly handicapped him.

So we can ask again, how did Paul survive? In a longitudinal study sponsored by the NIMH on so-called recovered autism, it seems that the most salient commonality for those that “recovered” was caring parents who were quick to act on behalf of their children.  Paul in this regard was blessed with caring supportive parents and grandparents. He also found solace and purpose in a special education camp outside of school, which he called the “Autism Base”. There he found others like him living within a spectrum of severities. More importantly, within the Autism Base he found comradely and a social sense of togetherness.

Paul has not forgotten the painful experiences of the past but has learned from them.  Indeed, the excuses provided by the teachers who failed him are indelibly marked in his memory. He has a keen power for introspection.  His ability to self-reflect is one of the reasons why I believe that there is undue emphasis in the Theory of Mind conceptualization of autism. Paul was always keenly aware of his mental state and on occasion provides privileged access to the mental state of his parents.

This is a must read book for parents with autistic kids, especially if they are attending mainstream schools. The book is also a valuable aid to teachers. It portrays in a no holds barred way the effects of intimidation and the behavioral manifestations of bullying. Finally, Paul provides many constructive comments and guidelines as to how to improve the school system and teaches by example the positives of a supportive role by parents.

Source: Paul Isaacs: Living Through the Haze


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To Polly – A Friend – Thank You

 

To Polly A Friend

Words cannot plunder

The source of your wonder

A light in the bleak dark

Words that make their mark

A kindly soul with the gift to give

A balanced example of how to live

A humbling experience your facts and humour

Your words, pictures and  legacy will forever nearer and sooner

Empowerment 

What can I say? I often have wondered how to put into words how I feel about the impact that Polly has made on my life, the words, the support, the chuckles over our skype chats the personal and professional guidance that was given in the blink of an eye. She has helped broaden my professional career, empowered me to find myself and ultimately has given me invaluable tools.

Setting Examples 

The kindness and concern the building blocks shown by words and example and the insatiable zest for life and to “just be” in your own skin, to have fun, to be serious, to be balanced, to be caring, to be selfless, to be you, to understand me and other, to be giving and to be caring, to not put yourselves above and to finally find yourself and pave your own journey so you may have the tools to experience life anew. That is what I think when I will remember Polly a shining example of balance, breaking of barriers, retaining self, not selling out and creating her own path.

Connecting 

I meet Polly briefly in 2009 at a conference and connected with her on social media a few years later. I value her friendship because she showed me that relationships can be built on safe, secure and balanced foundations and to expect anything less is the time to move on and pave something new. I am fully aware people knew Polly far more than I did in terms of length of time and so forth. I would like to say that the impact she made on me and her continued friendship online put faith and self-belief back into a realistic and doable perspective.

I thank you Polly for giving me the tools to empower, for giving me hope, laughs, reality and solutions and just being you.

Nobody Nowhere – Paper Owl Films 

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Dr Who – The Invasion – DVD Review

 

This DVD is a 2-Disc Edition of The Invasion with two missing episodes which have been animated 

PLOT

The is an “Earth Story” and this would become a staple of the 3rd Doctor Era the title suggests the main plot of the story aliens that are preparing for a global invasion starting with the United Kingdom.

The main plot is an expansion on themes used in the Troughton “cyberstories” which includes the dangers of technology and how this has an effect on people, communication devices such as video links are used throughout preempting such devices that we take for granted now, as well as the political dangers of single force wanting to control the world. The cast are colourful, deep and imaginative with enigmatic performances, tight dialogue and atmosphere.

PICTURE 

The picture is sharp, detailed with a good deal of contrast and saturation although at times the picture is a tab soft probably due to age . I viewed this in HD upscaled 1080p 60 frames per second. Overall there is  higher clearer definition of picture quality.

Image result for dr who invasion animated

ANIMATED EPISODES

The animated episodes are well done with excellent attention to detail, sharp background contrasts, faithful character design and animation lends to the atmosphere of the serial in turns of camera direction which feels less cinematic and more faithful to how it would have looked and excellent job by Cosgrove Hall.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with few hisses and artifactual noise this is something that I have noted in Hartnell and Troughton era that attention by the Restoration Team is paid not only to the image but also the quality of sound which is of course is restricted by technology at the time.

CONCLUSION

This is really classic Troughton at its best a tight another tight endearing story by  Kit Pedler about technology, fabulous direction with stunning visuals and atmosphere, great memorable and enigmatic performances. One of my favorites.  Highly Recommended.

Paul Isaacs 2017