Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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A Journey With Exposure Anxiety

Exposure Anxiety comes in 3 levels:

  • Specific: Targets only specific environments, activities and interaction with particular individuals.
  • Generalized and other-directed: Effects all areas of life which directly involves others.
  • Generalized and both self and other directed: Effects all areas of life which directly involves others but is also present when alone.

Copyright Donna Williams 1991, 2003, 2008

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Residual “Exposure Anxiety?

If we think about exposure in a residual (non syndromic sense) those moments of embarrassment, aware of being aware, aware of your own self-awareness of the situation meant that you froze clamed up or even ran away meant that this “feeling” you wanted to escape, remove, and disappear.

 A Personal Look at Exposure Anxiety And Me

If you turned the “volume-up” on this condition you may find that it fits in the realms of being called “Exposure Anxiety” a feeling on a chronic level that falls into the three subtypes above. I would say that in my early years I had the 3rd one throughout my child and teenage hood as I grew into my twenties and was at the tail end of being employment in my mid teens I was thrust into a world of expectation from a social perspective that in many ways never let up. I never the less “kept going” and now at the age of thirty two I can say that the claws of this condition have shortened, nails smoothed and hands made smaller.

I would say it has an impact on me in specific areas so that is going from 80% to now at a more comfortable 30% and below I can show more of “myself”, be, share and talk in a more “connected manner” than I did even 10 years ago. Other things have changed to my environment, my purpose, life is but a rolling journey and that is the joy we can all celebrate and question at different stages in our lifetime.

My information processing being meaning deaf and meaning blind have changed, the tints have aided in those areas of visual perceptual challenges, and my meaning deafness is around 30% so I can keep a better track on conversation around me. My emotional processing and perception are still delayed that is a work in progress and I seek not to compare but to be the closest version of “me” I can be.

When we look at other people’s autism “fruit salads”, we begin to wonder what is the “driver” to what I am seeing? Is it sensory perceptual? Is it dietary disabilities? Is it seizure related? Is it emotional perception? Is it language processing? Etc. By looking at the person’s “systems” you are dealing into those areas of honest and humble questioning, what will you find and how will you adapt?

Common Threads Of Humanity?

Do people with autism have much more in common with those without? My answer is yes they do the only difference is the areas of that person’s “autism” that is challenging some to smaller more residual degrees others to more severe and/or profound degrees it is not the matter of it being a linear spectrum from “classic” autism to “asperger’s syndrome” but the also the palette of grey and what is specific to that person is what matters. All human beings have “system” it may be just that I have taken the time (which anybody could choose to do in my circumstance) and work out “what that is”.

Looking At People As People?

If one ignores the poison of the autism militancy which is political and unhelpful in its projection and reasoning one must look at the person and what “autism” is for them and means for them.

Paul Isaacs 2018

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In Conversation With Sharon King – Autism Speaker, Author, Advocate & Mum

I first met the Kings in 2016 this was somewhat of an interesting meeting of minds, I was nervous it was my first speech/training session as a freelance speaker and it was in Telford at a National Autsitic Society Event. Her daugther Rosie diagnosed with Asperger’s Sydnrome was introducing the speakers in the main hall. I had seen Sharon and her family over the years on social media.

She was in the audience during one of my sessons and we sat down during one of the intervals to chat with her daughter Rosie. They were both very warm, friendly and welcoming I then went to their home the same year to do consultancy sessions with her son and daughter Lenny who was diagnosed with classic autism and Daisy who was diagnosed with Kabuki Syndrome.

It was a pleasure to meet them all including Sharon’s husband Richard who with their charming and down to earth manner it was had left me with a positive and reflective on impression and we have became all beomce friends. Sharon has since of 2017 publised a book “How To Best Help An Autism Mum.”

Sharon’s Ethos

What would you like staff to know about people with autism?

That each person with autism is an individual. Anyone who believes themselves to be an autism expert needs to get humble and go back to learning. The greatest barrier to learning is the assumption that we know everything.

What support benefited you the most as a Mum?

The greatest support has come from my children and othet individuals with autism who I have befriended. An arena of respect is where the best parenting happens. X

Further Conversation

Sharon King

I think. One of the most helpful things I have learned is not to take Daisy and Lenny’s behaviours personally. It is quite freeing. Ie ~ ‘this is happening, how can I deal with it?’ As opposed to ‘this is happening to me…poor me!’

Paul Isaacs

Yes I agree ever take things on the personal because it largely isn’t even the swearing and being bitten doesn’t bother once you know where it comes from.

Sharon King

Yeh like rubbing crap (with regards to smearing) into radiator nor personal ~ just a bit smelly! X

Paul Isaacs

Haha Humour is an ally! I used to urinate in the bath in my infancy I liked how the colour changed in the water I also got confused and would treat my bath as a “very large toilet” it looked like a duck, sounded like a duck so I thought it was a duck no? That is context blindness

Sharon King

At least you admit to it lots of ppl do it in secret! X

Paul Isaacs

Haha 🙂 The sods 😀This conversation proves that open-mindness is the key
open doors rather than closed.
Of course poo smearing can have different motivations for some it could exposure anxiety and keeping “people at bay“.
For others it could be to do with severe sensory perceptual and/or language processing difficulties.
For some it could be to do with addiction, habitual and compulsive in nature.
For others it could be to do with co-dependency.
One “behaviour” can have multiple reasons why. 😉

 

Sharon King

I think with Lenny it stems from a genuine interest and delight in textures x

Paul Isaacs

Sensory perception yes 😊

Its been a very interesting chat as always Sharon as there certainly is a positive an objective theme going on here with your permission could I use your answers on a blog? This then can be put on your page. 🙂

Copied with kind permession of Sharon King

Paul Isaacs 2018

 


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I Don’t Mind Being Solitary – Looking Beyond The Stereotypes

Me Early 20s Christmas Hat

Main Interests of the Solitary Personality Type

  1. finding solitude; being alone
  2. remaining independent; maintaining autonomy; being self-contained
  3. being dispassionate
  4. being indifferent to pleasure and pain
  5. remaining sexually composed; avoiding attachment to anyone
  6. being uninfluenced by praise or criticism

 

Characteristic Traits and Behaviors

Dr. John M. Oldham has defined the Solitary personality style. The following six characteristic traits and behaviors are listed in his The New Personality Self-Portrait.

  1. Solitude. Individuals with the Solitary personality style have small need of companionship and are most comfortable alone.
  2. Independence. They are self-contained and do not require interaction with others in order to enjoy their experiences or to get on in life.
  3. Sangfroid. Solitary men and women are even-tempered, calm, dispassionate, unsentimental, and unflappable.
  4. Stoicism. They display an apparent indifference to pain and pleasure.
  5. Sexual composure. They are not driven by sexual needs. They enjoy sex but will not suffer in its absence.
  6. Feet on the ground. They are unswayed by either praise or criticism and can confidently come to terms with their own behavior.

“Autism” Is Not A Personality Type

People often think that “autism” has a “look” it doesn’t and never has when people think of autism they may think and/or mentalise certain people they have come across, members of the family, people in movies and/or films etc.

Solitary By What Factors?

Being solitary can fall into differing camps some people can be solitary by circumstances that are out of their control such as the loss of parents and/or guardians, having a small family and other circumstances others may have the complete opposite but their values and environmental factor and/or influences. Some can be both.

I fall into the the category of of circumstance/ environment genetic my family is small, I have sister who I have only met three times when I was in my late teens, I still have my parents and my Nan on my mother’s side. I have never had a partner and would consider myself asexual.

I Value Life

What has this given me time to do? I say that because people are probably going to focus on the the things I have missed or not been apart of? I understand why such comment or feelings would be made. I do not feel I have missed out on anything nor do I feel I have been given a ticket that has not taken me to all the places in the amusement park.

Observing, Friendships & Interests

I love life and being observer of people, the goings on, their life stories and so forth I feel connected to them. I have friends that are real friends because they are people who connect with rather than people that I feel I should be connecting with (there is a massive difference). I like going for long walks on my own, drawing, creating poetry/creative writings, watching movies and listening to music. I like sharing these things as well as “being”. This of course is peppered by being Idiosyncratic, Mercurial & Self Sacrificing.

Conclusion

I feel this have made me as I have matured more objective before you go out into the “world” you have be your own best friend first regardless of your wants and needs in life.

Paul Isaacs 2018


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What Is “Life”?

Peering through life I often wonder about it “what is it all about?” this may seem like a hopeless and uncomfortable question to ponder. We are not here for eternity, however memories and echoes of the past wonder and echo around us.

Things happen that change our perspective on life as an ongoing experience. People go on seemingly timeless changes in identity, health (mental or otherwise), perceptions, directions, fortunes (philosophical or otherwise too) maybe that is it in that is changeable, not tiresome, fluid, not stagnant, fruitful and not grey.

Balance is such a currency that one cannot buy but learn either through example or trial and error and that has been the most valuable to me.

Paul Isaacs 2018


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What is Achievement?

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Do you judge achievement by the vastness of comparisons or by the person cantered nature of what has been achieved? I have not married nor have I the desired to have children. I ask how is my life welling up with fullness and ethereal walkings amongst the populous of humanity? Because I am comfortable in the roads, paths and darkly forests that tread beneath my feet. I think “achievement” is not what, if or how it’s the reason and honest virtues behind them that make them special and worthy.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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“Doing” vs. “Being”

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“Doing” in its extreme form can consist of over-thinking, over worrying, over-analysing losing grounded functioning and not being pre-occupied with too many things at once denying at times what is right in front of you tentative steps to be taken in the overburdens mind that consist of unwanted thoughts that sometimes never let on to being silenced. I am sure that that wanting to be a “be-er” may consist of flattening thoughts.

“Being” in its extreme form can be pre-occupied with the moment feelings of floating, connection to the situation with yourself, having an inner world to eagerly retreat to that consists of many colours, patterns, shapes and shine being jolted into to “doing” and conscious thought may well be difficult but can be achieved.

None of these things are distraction or detraction of cognitive skills although quirky and paradox like presentations may resume.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Wretches & Jabberers DVD – A Journey Into Autism

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A moving and delightful movie and about two men on the autism spectrum who are both “functionally non-verbal” finding their voices through facilitated and typed communication. Debunking the myths that people who cannot speak with their mouths are “retarded” or “intellectually disabled”.

Tracy and Larry are best of friends and their passion for advocacy leads them to meeting others around the globe who are also yearning and fondly sharing their experiences and voices with a wider audience, showing great empathy, compassion, introspection and deepness through the words that they write to a wider audience. Bringing people into their world and inviting others to think, reflect and reevaluate what “autism” and “intelligence” even look like.  Showing great feats of creativity.

There is warmth, humour, sadness and hope sometimes all at once when listening the candid words and hopefully the viewer will come out of this experience with greater level of acceptance and make less assumptions about what is going on on the “inside”. Please all presume competence.

I highly recommend this DVD.

Paul Isaacs 2017