Note – This is my personal perspective of Autism & LD
When I was writing m autobiography in in 2011, I was writing about my life from birth to present, this was to help and empower others on the the Autism spectrum to give them hope, their families hope and for me to make sense (personally) of over 2o years of living with a condition at that point I had only been fully aware of for over a year (I was formally diagnosed in 2010).
DR. MANUEL CASANOVA’S REVIEW OF “LIVING THROUGH THE HAZE”
During late 2013 Dr Casanova presented to me another layer to my profile – his review of my first book “Living Through The Haze” was very humbling, moving even because I’m not aware of the the impact of something unless someone tells me and here is the bit that really got me thinking and a light bulb moment came. 🙂
“Paul was the product of a premature delivery and was considered a very small baby when born. Some physicians would consider the fact that he is left handed a possible sign of brain damage from his premature delivery. As other autistic individuals, Paul had delayed language acquisition, an atrocious handwriting, and a possible learning deficit. The commonality of all of his signs and symptoms is what both Paul and Donna Williams call a “fruit salad”.”
AUTISM & A LEARNING DISABILITY
This was conclusive on many levels for me it concluded that the reason I had complex visual, auditory and language processing issues, visual agnosias, auditory agnosias, aphasia, lack of visual memory etc. The next conclusion was something I had been quietly thinking to myself for some time that I had a Learning Disability within my Autism profile this makes perfect sense to me it’s important that if a learning disability is apparent to have it recognised it is equally important for it not to be either if the person has Autism without a Learning Disability. All I can see to Manuel is thank for his open-mindedness. 🙂
So what do I still find difficult
I cognitivity still lose the “patterns” for (this is not just executive functioning )
- Using the toilet and understanding the “steps” to this
- Bathing and Washing myself losing the “steps”
- Getting Dressed losing the “steps”
- Brushing my teeth losing the “steps”
- Brushing my hair losing the “steps”
- Shaving losing the the “steps”
WHAT DO I MEAN BY LOSING THE “STEPS” & STAYING POSITIVE
This is not just executive functioning (having the “steps” but not connecting them) this is cognitive “forgetting” to process all together and trying my best to retrieve the information. I want to be as independent as possible and sometimes having a laugh and joke at yourself isn’t a bad thing and also being light hearted and positive is what drives anyone to challenge themselves.
WHAT HAS HELPED?
My parents have helped in so many ways with this one firstly acceptance, patience, love, care and empathy and persistence and acknowledging that I can do things. I’m extremely verbally hyperlexic which covers my difficulties but when it comes to Autism like Donna Williams things just “piece to together”. 🙂
LEARNING DISABILITY CAN CO-EXIST WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
Yes they can I have dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia within my Autism “Fruit Salad” but that is personal to my own profile.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED
Never give up I have learned so much from folks on the spectrum who have different and/or similar presentations of Autism some with a Learning Disability some without no one should ever be “written off” we are all equal in this world. 🙂 Every person’s profile should be taken as their own, no comparisons(they can be damaging) and no stereotypes just be person centered.
Knowing that I have Autism and have a Learning Disability has not changed my outlook that I’m still “Paul” and that was given to me long ago by my parents and also meeting others on the spectrum who want their Autism profile acknowledged but also want their personhood to be seen in equal measure to and thus want that to be seen as “them/their personhood” rather than just their condition.
Special Thanks to Donna Williams and Manuel Casanova for Contributing to this Post
Paul Isaacs 2014