Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Celebrating My Gramp’s Life

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My Gramp had a wonderful send off yesterday the night before we said our goodbyes at the chapel of rest. He looked serene and calm in blue. I touched his face for the last time his skin soft and his hair the texture of snow. The next day we went to Oxford Crematorium to pay our respects and celebrate his life.

I firmly believe that in order to go to a funeral you must have known the person on a superficial level and that you aren’t there for your own selfish agenda to cleanse your sins of not being there while they were living, treating them poorly in life and making it all about you it is the ultimate hypocrisy.

I am so glad it was a celebration of his character, ethos, humour and outlook.

Gramp was a kindly fellow who cared deeply for his friends and family and would spread his kindness to those who took time to get to know him. He was funny, serious, charming, witty and above all loyal. He took shit and as another friend said made sculptures out of them from the people who decided to damage his character by spreading rumours to the verbal tirades he always knew who he was and carried being true to himself thats is what I loved about Gramp he loved life.  xx

Paul Isaacs 2017


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To Polly – A Friend – Thank You

 

To Polly A Friend

Words cannot plunder

The source of your wonder

A light in the bleak dark

Words that make their mark

A kindly soul with the gift to give

A balanced example of how to live

A humbling experience your facts and humour

Your words, pictures and  legacy will forever nearer and sooner

Empowerment 

What can I say? I often have wondered how to put into words how I feel about the impact that Polly has made on my life, the words, the support, the chuckles over our skype chats the personal and professional guidance that was given in the blink of an eye. She has helped broaden my professional career, empowered me to find myself and ultimately has given me invaluable tools.

Setting Examples 

The kindness and concern the building blocks shown by words and example and the insatiable zest for life and to “just be” in your own skin, to have fun, to be serious, to be balanced, to be caring, to be selfless, to be you, to understand me and other, to be giving and to be caring, to not put yourselves above and to finally find yourself and pave your own journey so you may have the tools to experience life anew. That is what I think when I will remember Polly a shining example of balance, breaking of barriers, retaining self, not selling out and creating her own path.

Connecting 

I meet Polly briefly in 2009 at a conference and connected with her on social media a few years later. I value her friendship because she showed me that relationships can be built on safe, secure and balanced foundations and to expect anything less is the time to move on and pave something new. I am fully aware people knew Polly far more than I did in terms of length of time and so forth. I would like to say that the impact she made on me and her continued friendship online put faith and self-belief back into a realistic and doable perspective.

I thank you Polly for giving me the tools to empower, for giving me hope, laughs, reality and solutions and just being you.

Nobody Nowhere – Paper Owl Films 

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Hope is Universal. It’s for everybody with Paul Isaacs #isharehope Episode 107

Chris+WilliamsMany thanks to Chris Williams for conducting the interview with me to following the I Share Hope project please click here.

Paul was branded as a “naughty child” at school. He was classically autistic in his early years and gained functional speech around the age of 7 or 8 years old. He went through mainstream school 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.

After a string of unsuccessful jobs, Paul’s mental health suffered. He was referred to mental health services and misdiagnosed with “Asperger traits with a complex personality”, which did not satisfy. Paul was diagnosed by an experienced psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with High Functioning Autism at 24 years old.

paul-isaacs-i-share-hopePaul wanted to promote autism awareness and help others on the autism spectrum, in the hope that others would not have to suffer as he had. He became a speaker for an autism organisation and has not looked back! Presenting speeches, training and conducting consultancy, Paul is now a freelance speaker, trainer and consultant who continues to raise the profile of autism at every opportunity. Having done much research, he is keen to explain the differences between Asperger’s Syndrome & Autism using Autism Consultant Donna William’s (Polly Samuel’s) ‘Fruit Salad’ model.

Paul firmly believes in retaining the ASD acronym. He says there should not be a negative stigma around the word ‘disorder’. His message is that Autism is a complex mix of ability and disability and every person with autism (and all people) should be a valued member of society.

Paul in his spare time likes to meetup with friends, create art and write poetry which is both a creative and relaxing output for him.

Hope is Universal. It’s for everybody with Paul Isaacs #isharehope Episode 107

Summary: Paul’s answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?

Paul Isaacs:

Hope to me is…you got a feeling then create that into action and then hopefully you can make way for the action. Hope is the building blocks of something that you want to change and it could be anything where you actually instill positivity or at least objectivity in someone and go from there. It’s giving someone a realistic framework.

Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?

Paul Isaacs:

I would say it’s my parents because they gave me positive foundations, they have given me a sense of real life, introduced me to real life. Not candy-coating it, not giving it any sort of gloss. This is real life. They make me feel that negativity is a normal part of life, failure is a normal part of life, losing is a normal part of life – it’s a part of life. Success is brilliant, but it’s also about learning from failure and understanding your weaknesses.

Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?

Paul Isaacs:

The one thing that was difficult for me as a person looking in hindsight or in retrospect is the way in which the community didn’t understand my behavior or understood where those behaviors were coming from. One of the sad things for me was how my parents were treated. Within the community, a lot of assumptions were made about their parenting skills. I suppose at that point, that would probably be the time where my parents would have wanted someone to talk to about the difficulties. I would say, looking back in hindsight, it was so much to do with me, but it was more to do with the alienation for misunderstanding. I just think it was a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding that caused the initial alienation.

It was constant criticism which then of course hurts the parents and when I went for education, it was never really anything positive. Of course it’s understandable because I was in a mainstream school – this is a non-specialized environment. Again, I’m not bitter at the teachers. Actually, my first year of primary school, that’s five years old and one of the teachers said “I don’t know what to do with him.” She was completely lost, but of course she’d be completely lost. It’s almost if you hear that saying “victim of circumstance”, they weren’t necessarily bad people. It was just a circumstance that happened and then it rolled on from there really.

Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?

Paul Isaacs:

I have only been doing this job for about six years in terms of speeches and consultancy and I have never ever seen a community with absolutely really nasty politics, militancy, bullying. I mean I’ve seen it on social media. I mean someone doesn’t say it’s the status quo, being ganged upon, trolling. I’ve never seen anything like it. Another thing that concerns me is the glamorization. You shouldn’t glamorize anything. Glamorization is not objective. If one size fits all condition so you start saying all autistic people are this and that and the other, what you’re doing is sadly creating a set of stereotypes and in any other context, would stereotypes be acceptable? No.

So, what I’ve learned is don’t get sucked in by it, do what’s in your heart, don’t define yourself or autism that it’s a superpower, that you’re special. The thing that has kept me grounded – I was born a human being like you and like anyone else. I was born a human being so I don’t overinvest in my autism at all. When I go to work, I’m a human being, when I go out there, I’m a human being. I don’t glamorize and I equally don’t demonize the issues. You keep objective. What don’t you hear about in autism? There are people with autoimmune conditions, metabolic disorders, tissue connectivity disorders, and neuropathy, things that affect the body and have an effect on that person’s functioning. In other words, autism is an adjective – it’s not a definition. It’s a stacking of preexisting conditions and depending on the stacking – you can get a more refined stacking, you can get a more complex stacking, you can get a more intermediate stacking.

When I speak, I don’t want you to remember me. I don’t want the ego to take over. I just want people to remember what I said.

Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?

Paul Isaacs:

(1) Get to know people.
(2) Say hello – connect with people.

Listen to the interview with Chris Williams and I on Soundcloud 


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Being Thankful For My Parents

Mum and Dad Early 80s

Please note this is from a personal perspective

It may sound like a cliche in many ways to create a blog with a title such as “Thankful for my parents”  but that is how I feel I know that many people may not for many reasons feel the same as me and that is fine.

I am thankful for them because they  have given me good boundaries, have treated me as a human being then growing up as an infant, teenager and now as an adult, they do not let my disability “define the whole package” (I have written many a blog about that subject), guided me to know that failure and being wrong is normal part of life, to accept and take responsibility for both positive and negative actions, to help people who need it, to always be truthful and be true to yourselves.

I value their sage wisdom as many of these “mantras” and “life skills” come from past mistakes and “failures” but as my parents have noted failures are the fruits of success and success comes in many different forms as example setters for us all.

Paul Isaacs 2016

 


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When Your Father Has Cancer And Life Is Comprised It Puts Things In Perspective.

20160708_194624My Dad is a foundation of why I do not wallow in self pity for too long, he is a trooper with a good sense  humour and a positive  outlook on life itself, for five years he has been in constant pain due to his leukaemia and graft vs host disease.

I am constantly reminded not only of the fragility of someones mortality but also the inner positivism of the human spirit, he seldom moans, complains or feels sorry for himself he is always pushing himself to the limit supporting the family as and when needed.

He takes 90 tablets a week all to aid his fragile immune system and he has weekly checkups and is on a high dose of steroids and has blood cleaning once a week also.

He is tired a lot with pain or high and emotionally unbalanced due to the psychological fallout of having a high dose of steroids. I am glad he is still with us and I am so glad I can spend time with him we support each other he is a practical, down to earth man, takes no bullshit and shoots from the hip. I respect his worldly wise advice giving  good foundation for accepting failure as normal, taking ownership of situations and humility. He is highly spiritual.

His life may well be shortened  but he is adamant to live it to the full. 🙂 I think we could all learn from this.

Paul Isaacs 2016

 


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Meeting Up With The King’s

 

This week I had the pleasure of meeting up with the King’s they are family that live in the north of England in the Wakefield. Sharon and Richard have three children on the autism spectrum Rosie who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Lenny with Classic autism and Daisy with Kabuki Syndrome and Classic autism.

Staying with the family was very interesting and reflective on my part, as all the family showed deep love and care for each other being honest about the difficulties and  balanced about them showing deep care and empowerment for each other.

Their kindness and humility was reflected in the hospitality shown to me and the others we met on our travels to the park during my visit it is sometimes the little things that matter as much as the big ones. I look forward to meeting them again.

Paul Isaacs  2016