Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside

Autism, Walking Gait & Hemiplegia

Leave a comment

A Dreamscapter 2016

 

Note this is from a personal perspective

As I have documented before in previous posts hemiplegia is a part of my autism profile which in my case is associated with a traumatic birth, prematurity and brain injury due to a placental abruption.

This affects the right side of my body, which caused me to have problems with the following.

  • Left-right orientation
  • Turning on one side (regardless of where the noise, auditory or tactile stimulus is coming from)
  •  Using the dominant side of body for tasks that involve both sides of the body
  •  Having an unusual/abnormal  gait which involves the right leg stiffening with a lack of bending in the knee and the leg itself rotating away from the other leg

What are the effects of hemiplegia?

It is difficult to generalise: hemiplegia affects each child differently. The most obvious result is a varying degree of weakness, stiffness (spasticity) and lack of control in the affected side of the body, rather like the effects of a stroke. In one child this may be very obvious (he or she may have little use of one hand, may limp or have poor balance); in another child it will be so slight that it only shows when attempting specific physical activities.

Copyright © 2007-2014 HemiHelp

Gait refers to the controlled manner of walking or moving on foot.  The functioning of the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system determines the gait pattern. In children who have hemiplegia, this delicate system is out of balance and often results in different types of gait.

Gait in the Child with Hemiplegia

A child with hemiplegia may have a tendency to walk with the toes on the affected foot striking the ground first, instead of the usual heel strike. This “toe drop” often results in our kids taking quite a few falls and tumbles. In order to clear the toe while walking, the child may develop a variety of ways to compensate, which then result in problems with his hip and or knee.   Treatments may include gait analysis, physical therapy, orthotics, serial casting, botulinum toxin and surgery. The goal of treatment is not to “cure” the condition, but to enable the child to achieve her maximum potential.

© 2017 CHASA. All Rights Reserved.

What has helped me?

I still have residual hemiplegia in terms of its impact on my life and it tends to start when I walk for long periods with associated movements etc. What has empowered me over the years is that same thing that would help someone who has acquired brain injury, a stroke etc which is called “brain gym”.

As an Infant & Teenager

  • Walking in long fields, day-trips and other activities (with the family and school trips)
  • Swimming in the local pools and streams (when I was younger)
  • Cycling from an early age (first with stabilisers and moved on to independent cycling) 

As an Adult

  • I continue to to walk from place to place promoting movement to the side which is impacted
  • I continue to touch type promoting both sides of my body being used
  • I continue to create art

Personality Types & Styles Of Learning

  • Being idiosyncratic and solitary meant that I was empowered by trying to do do things in my own time, my own way  and with a small amount of people so I could get direction
  • Being serious and mercurial meant that I was able to things with a level of focus and with element of free-will and boundary making and making it fun and light-hearted
  • I have a kinesthetic style of learning with a mixture of solitary and social learning

Communication 

  • Exposure Anxiety – Meant that being indirectly confrontational was the best way for me to feel included without the “watching, waiting, expecting” nature of direct contact setting or “retaliation and diversion” responses
  • Aphasia/Language Processing and Visual Perceptional Issues – Breaking down communication into smaller chunks, using gesture, tone, inflection, objects of reference, one topic at a time and one context at a time

Conclusion

Through looking at the different pieces of one’s autism (or autisms) if hemiplegia is apart of the profile it may be worth thinking of different ways to empower the person, gaining confidence and trying out new activities without fear and/or anxiety about getting things wrong but focusing on the little steps as always communication, sensory integration, sensory perceptual, associated personality types and any other issues would have to be taken into account.

 

Paul Isaacs 2017

 

Advertisements

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

Leave a Reply - Many Thanks

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s