Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside

Autism – Auditory Agnosias/Aphasias & Oral Apraxia – Not “Processing” Environmental Sounds & Words With “Meaning”

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Dad and I Butlins 1991OVERVIEW

Note – This is from a personal perspective

As apart of my Autism Fruit Salad (Donna Williams 1995/2005) I have auditory agnosia, this means I cannot process “environmental sounds” with meaning, comprehension and not retaining the “sound” in context (so for example “hearing/processing” and ambulance and retaining it it). This is one of the reasons why my parents thought I was deaf, I was/am neurologically deaf but their is no specific impairment to my ears.

AUDITORY AGNOSIA

Discriminative

This type of auditory agnosia is caused by lesions to the right hemisphere of the brain.

Classical (or pure) auditory agnosia is an inability to process environmental sounds, such as animal noises, industrial noises, or the like. An airplane roaring overhead would not be understood to be related to the idea of “airplane”—indeed, the person would not even think to look up.

So How Does This Work

  • I can “hear” the sound lose it’s “meaning” and not “hear/comprehend” in association to where it’s coming from
  • I can have a sound in my head but not “know” it’s origin – this would lead me to repeat the sound in an echolalic fashion
  • I can have sound in my head and flip flop between comprehending and losing comprehension
  • I ultimately lose meaning/comprehension of sounds on daily basis and have to be verbally reminded of basic sounds such as mobiles phones, trains, cars, lorries etc.

BrocasAreaSmallVERBAL  AUDITORY AGNOSIA/APHASIA

Semantic-associative

This type of auditory agnosia is caused by lesions to the left hemisphere of the brain, specifically the temporal lobes and Wernicke’s area.

Linguistic (or verbal information or Wernicke’s) agnosia indicates that the subject can’t comprehend words, although they can understand words using sign language and words from reading books, and are themselves capable of speech (and even of deriving meaning from non-linguistic communication e.g. body language) the particular sounds associated to each word are meaningless.

So How Does This Work

  • I hear words but cannot process meaning/context this means that clipped language is better for processing and meaning
  • Like Donna Williams I like people to use gesture (like mime) to tell the story and use movements that match the words
  • If over processed I will gain no auditory meaning from the words being said
  • I like to touch to perceive (visual agnosias) which helps with language

EXPRESSIVE APHASIA & ORAL APRAXIA

So How Does This Work

  • As a child I had thoughts in my head but had problems using my mouth, tongue, muscles and jaw to convey “words”
  • My mouth felt disconnected from “me” and my “words”
  • I lost words within my “head” (expressive aphasia) so “created” I words/sounds for feelings and communication
  • I speak but I have a lot of bass to my voice, tone is unusual, pitch and rhythm  also (oral apraxia)
  • I use “stock expressive language” to aid with expressive language

CONCLUSION

I believe that this is one of the reasons I still live in a Pattern, Theme & Feel world, I created my own language through the auditory and visual cluttering that I had (and still do) and I still find typical interpretative language difficult (I treat it as a second language) but I try and use it to the best of my abilities. 🙂

 

Paul Isaacs 2014

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Author: Paul Isaacs

Paul was branded as a “naughty & difficult child” at school. He was classically autistic and non-verbal due to speech articulation difficulties. He had complex sensory issues and appeared both deaf and blind. He gained functional speech around the age of 7 or 8 years old. He went through the mainstream school system with no additional help or recognition of his autism. Consequently, he did not achieve his academic or his social potential and had very low self-esteem. At age 11, Paul was referred to the children’s mental health service with childhood depression where he was regarded as “developmentally underage” and having speech problems. As an adult, Paul had a string of unsuccessful jobs, and his mental health suffered. He developed both Borderline and Schizotypal Personality Disorders in early 2007. He was referred to mental health services and misdiagnosed with “Asperger traits with a complex personality”, which did not satisfy Paul or his family. A local autism organisation put Paul in touch with an experienced psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with Autism at 24 years old. In 2012 Paul was also diagnosed with Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome by an Irlen Consultant who confirmed that he also had face, object and meaning blindness – conditions which Paul describes eloquently in his speeches and training sessions. He also has dyslexia, dyscalculia and also a dissociative disorder. Having started working as an local autism organisation as a public speaker in 2010, Paul joined their mission to promote autism awareness. His hope is that others will not have to suffer as he did. Now also a core member of our Training Team, Paul continues to enhance true understanding of autism at every opportunity. Paul has released and published 5 books on the subject of autism published by Chipmunka publishing and has contributed to other books too. Having overcome many challenges to achieve the success that he now enjoys, Paul’s message is that Autism is a complex mix of ability and disability. He firmly believes that every Autistic person should have the opportunity to reach their potential and be regarded as a valued member of society. Apart from autism related blogs Paul also write about movies, fashion, art and anything that is of interest. As of August 2015 Paul now works as a freelance speaker, training and consultant in and around the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire area. If you are interested please contact him via email at staypuft12@yahoo.co.uk

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