Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside

Living In Half A World – Hemispatial Neglect In The Context Of Autism

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Note this is from a personal perspective of having this clustering syndrome 

It was interesting looking at a video I was presenting at an Tony AttwoodAutism Oxford UK earlier this year being “blind” to my right side is certainly an odd/interesting life. 🙂

Definition of Hemispatial Neglect 

Hemispatial neglect, also called hemiagnosia, hemineglect, unilateral neglect, spatial neglect, contralateral neglect,unilateral visual inattentionhemi-inattention, neglect syndrome or contralateral hemispatialagnosia is a neuropsychological condition in which, after damage to one hemisphere of the brain is sustained, a deficit in attention to and awareness of one side of space is observed. It is defined by the inability of a person to process and perceive stimuli on one side of the body or environment that is not due to a lack of sensation. Hemispatial neglect is very commonly contralateral to the damaged hemisphere, but instances of ipsilesional neglect (on the same side as the lesion) have been reported.

Physical Observations

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The factors that can be picked up is when I speak the right side of my mouth doesn’t rise and fall (giving it a crooked appearance) this also can happen when I smile as well as the eyebrow on the right side not rising and muscles looking lax and frozen.

If look at the picture to your left (left and right are reversed) you can see the difference in brain activity.

Note – the mouth and eyebrow on the side I am “connected with”

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

Left Hemisphere Brain Injury

Part of my Autism Fruit Salad is brain injury this was no doubt in the womb and compacted by complications such as fetal distress, silent stroke, cerebral hypoxia and placental abruption this would also explain the fact that I am blind to the the right side of my body this also includes

What has helped?

  • Cycling and Riding Bicycles
  • Walking on Different Terrains
  • Swimming
  • Drawing & Creative Activities
  • Hand Writing
  • Tinted Lenses
  • Positive Attitude

Conclusion 

Integration of the the neglected hemisphere could certainly be a start and could help not only with learning and experiencing new skills but also assist in good mental health also. (of course strategies will be very much person-centred).

Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism 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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