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Autism from the inside


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Autism and Asperger’s Different Trajectories and Different Presentations?

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Today I was doing autism training and in the team was lovely and inquisitive man with Asperger’s Syndrome as the session went on he shared some of his experiences from not picking up verbal cues, being literal and having sensory integration disorder as well as issues with emotional regulation and possible alexithymia.

It amazes me still that people think that “Autism” and “Asperger’s Syndrome” are still considered to some to be the “same thing” when is clear that even if on the surface some of the issues may be similar many of underlying components are very different. If I use both the gentlemen in question and myself as examples so here goes.

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  • The gentleman seemed to display a level of Social Emotional Agnosia which meant he struggles with non-verbal cues, tone of voice and facial expression he acknowledged that he use past experiences to build up a format of how to understand someone
  • He didn’t have Prosopagnosia (30% of people with social emotional agnosia do so)
  • He was literal in processing of verbal language and seemed to have less impaired visual-verbal processing
  • Possible Alexithymia which is “knowingness of your own emotional states”
  • Seemed to mentalise in a more logical, literal and pragmatic manner which suggests the use of the “left brain” person.

With Myself

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  • I have a mixture of Simultagnosia (Object Blindness) and Semantic Agnosia (Meaning Blindness) which means my visual field is fragmented, distorted and incoming visual information does not have any meaning, context or reasoning
  • I have Prosopagnosia (Faceblindness) as an extending of the already existing issues around visual perception meaning I “recognise people” primarily by patterns of movement and voice
  • I have a level of Receptive and Expressive Aphasia (Meaning Deafness) which even in its current residual form means I “lose” the ability to keep up with interpretive verbal information and struggle with visual-verbal processing
  • I have less literal, logical and pragmatic style of thinking or organised thoughts  I am very much a “right brain” person.

 

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I was asked what I thought the main different feature was between Autism and Asperger’s. I think you’ll maybe find in reading through the site on brain hemisphere specialisation that there are many Aspies who may be better at left brain stuff and many Auties who may be more right brain but not nearly recognised for the abilities they do have as much as they are recognised for the left-brain abilities they don’t have. Whilst most people have a balance of both abilities, being extremely one side or the other clearly means the abilities of that other side are far less practiced. Processing incoming information in a non-Autie manner usually involves using a good balance of the two. So feel free to try the test yourself.

Donna Williams

Related image

 

Different Trajectories 

Maybe its is because I spent large part of my infanthood exploring through my senses and/or through patterning, theming and feeling struggling to get a sense of what “interpretive information” is and what it means? To be around such information and how to connect all the dots within in my mind. However I appreciated and acknowledged the validity of it in my previous blog post.

I flourish in areas of typing, writing poetry and creativity I love wordplay, sounds,  pitches and the seemingly infinite kaleidoscope colours, shapes, textures and shines they “talk to me” as much as next person.

Things Foundly Remembered

I saw your face with my hands

A voice a distant echo but foundly acknowledged

The smell of the wise tree in the garden the leaves did dance

A new place everywhere to be eagerly explored upwards and onwards

Flomping along the globblyness unstuck and unshackled my hands are free

Looking at the gloaming and silvering shape what plotunes and envelopes my soul

I thank you old friends you are me and I am likewise swashing around in the ink clouds

 

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Autism, Alexithymia, Body Disconnection, Mental Health & Loss

Tulips

 

Note – This is from a personal perspective

In short space of time two people dear to me had sadly passed away my Gramp Gilbert Harpwood and my friend Donna Williams (Polly Samuel).

I knew that because of alexithymia I would find this process lag and that I wouldn’t be “emotionally connected” straight away this led me to going day to day with no sort of emotional context at all despite showing on the surface seemingly “connective” emotions they were not connecting with me on the inside.

Alexithymia /ˌlɛksəˈθmiə/ is a personality construct characterized by the subclinical inability to identify and describe emotions in the self.[1] The core characteristics of alexithymia are marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relating.[2

Expression Of Grief

After the month and half since my Gramp’s loss and not long after Polly’s I started getting pains in my arm, stabbing and throbbing like a vice was clamped on my left arm. I quickly ruled out tetanus (which is serious bacterial infection) this then progressed into neuropathic – like  pain which was shooting from my neck, jaw, arms, legs, feet and groin “settling” in places for minutes and hours with a “warm”, “tingling” feeling as it moved.

I know this based on having a family history of mood, compulsive and anxiety disorders many things came into place as well as somatisation disorder which is a pseudo pain diversion.

Anxiety and Somatic Disorder

Somatic symptom disorder occurs when a person feels extreme anxiety about physical symptoms such as pain or fatigue. The person has intense thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to the symptoms that interfere with daily life.

Anxiety Neuropathic-like Symptoms

Anxiety doesn’t actually create peripheral neuropathy. While anxiety and stress have been thrown around as possible issues that lead to neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy is about nerve damage, not nerve symptoms, and since anxiety is unlikely to cause nerve damage, it can’t technically be peripheral neuropathy.

Dermatillomania (skin picking disorder)

Dermatillomania may be a reflection of a mental health problem. Psychological and behavioural theories suggest that skin picking may be a way of relieving stress or anxiety.

A Dolly Mixture Of Mental Health Conditions

I  know that I have mixture of differing overlapping co-conditions going with my mood disorder being an understandable and normal reaction to grief, skin picking and impulse control disorder which has resulted in my hair being riddled with scabs which is my sub-concious at work, to having excess adrenaline  that is being “stuck” in my body from time to time.

Externalising To Process My Own Emotional States

The alexithymia and associated problems that go with such as body disconnectivty (body agnosias and hemiplegia)  leaving me detached from my own emotional states leaves me also waiting for the emotions to come at a frantic, unprocessed rate leaving me to pick up the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. I have created my own strategies such as writing, poetry and art which help me externalise and thus connect with my own emotional states, thoughts and feelings.

Visual Perceptual Disorders and Mentalising

Another aspect is the visual perceptual disorders which includes simultagnosia (object blindness) assoicated with prosopagnosia (face blindness) and semantic agnosia (meaning blindness) which I have that means my memory isn’t “visual-assoicative ” and I have no “pictures” of “emotional association” so my “meta-reality” (which all people have) has to be externalised.

Remembering

I know that with the slow realisation of my internal states will aid me in the this journey which is a normal journey for human beings, remembering people fondly, the good times, the laughs, the smiles and interactions.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Diagnosis – Looking At What “Autism Is” Is That The Future?

I have been is the autism “world” as a speaker, trainer and consultant for well over seven years, I do not pretend to know all the answers nor I do project or promote that I have them all I can only speak from first hand experience of myself and the others that have been involved in professional capacity.

A 3D Diagnosis For The Future?

I what would like to offer a foundation of empowerment not because I know best but to give people the opportunity to find out about their “autism” what is made up of and the “mechanics” that go with it.

I have wrote and documented my autism the fact that is made of being brain injured at birth, speech and language delays, sensory agnosias, aphasia, apraxia the fact that I have dealt with mood, impulsive and anxiety disorders also.

Information processing such as

  • Sensory Agnosias (being Faceblind, Object Blind and/or Meaning Blind)
  • Attention deficits (ADD, ADHD)
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Apraxias (Oral Apraxia, Fine and Gross Motor Apraxia and Dyspraxia)
  • Aphasia (Receptive, Expressive and Mixed)
  • Gut, Immune and Metabolic Disorders
  • Tissue Connectivity Disorders
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Mild Brain Injury (Affecting Developmental Pathways and Trajectories)
  • Sleep Disorders

Identity 

  • Development (Gender, Sexuality, Self Perception, Environment, Viewing yourself and as a “child”, “teenager” or “adult” regardless of chronological age)
  • Adjustment (Family and.or Personal Environment)
  • Disorder Extremes (Personality Types/Traits that are not balanced causing problems with overall functioning)

Psychiatric Co-Morbids

  • Mood Disorders (Emotional Dysregulation
  • Anxiety Disorders (OCD, Social Anxiety, Generalised Anxiety)
  • Psychosis
  • Impulse Control
  • Attachment Disorder
  • Dissociative Disorders

Enviroment 

  • Dietary/Nutrition Disabilities
  • Morning the Child
  • Isolation/Alienation
  • Learned Helplessness (Dependency Personality Disorder/Co-dependency)
  • Presuming  Incompetence
  • “Cat” People vs. “Dog” People (Exposure Anxiety. PDA, ODD RAD)
  • Eating Toothpaste (Gut Disorder and Fluoride Toxicity)

Human Variants of Learning

  • Visual
  • Verbal
  • Logical
  • Physical
  • Aural
  • Solitary
  • Social
  • Mixed

The fact that being borderline made me emotionally unstable, struggled with boundaries and also being schizotypal made me odd, aloof and detached from people and at times society. These “elements” are all about of my “mix” and words not only for these “pieces” empower not only the person in question but the services they come into contact with also family and friends.

 

Fruit Salad 2017

 

Looking Deeper, Looking Forward, Education & Empowerment

I went through my autism “fruit salad” at an event recently and asked if the diagnosis had pointed out the specific pieces how would they have felt? Also would this model benefit them I came to the conclusion yes because understanding  that the word “autism” isn’t  one thing but understanding the pieces of their children’s autism was felt to be very important, helpful, empowering and overall was a beneficiary to the services that they would come in contact with. Giving them not just the word “autism” but what it meant for them specifically.

My Autism Fruit Salad 1 Updated 2017

Autism Fruit Salad 2 2017

Autism Fruit Salad 3 2017

Autism as “Fruit Salad” Video by Donna Williams 

http://www.interactingwithautism.com/section/living/donna

 

Conclusion

“Autism” is not “one thing” it is specific to each person also people do not have an “autistic personality” exclusively although personality types like solitary, idiosyncratic and conscientious would look more “autistic” but are smaller elements in the overall mix.

I do not believe that a person’s autism is everything about them because human beings are made up much  more than one element/label/word.

You can get  “non-autistic” personality types the people that challenge the stereotypes who could be equally adventurous and mercurial in their ways. For 2017 lets look at this from a broader perspective and empower people with knowledge that is worthy of making a difference.

I am not negative about autism but I am realistic and grounded about what the word means. By finding out the mechanics of what is going that is a positive approach to leading a more fuller, healthier more balanced life.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Autism: A Very Sensory Christmas

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Note: This is from a personal perspective

One of the amusing observations from my parents was my indifference to Christmas in the my early infant years, this would be noted as they would wait eagerly excited on the day while I would still be fast asleep in my bedroom coming down later in the day.

OBSERVATIONS

Another observation was my facial indifference to the event at hand the lack of excitement as each present was opened. My Mum can remember one year they bought me a bike which was perched on the fireplace (not lit of course) she seemed bemused that I didn’t go to the biggest first opening the presents scattered around the tree, when it came to the bike being opened she can remember me staring indifferently at the bike with no seemingly no acknowledgement of what it was or the significance of what it meant.

Looking a back at these two observations I can see many different aspects of what was going on from the inside and how observationally they caused confusion with my parents.

WHAT COULD BEEN  SEEN MAY NOT REFLECT “INSIDE”

One of the conditions I have noted about is simultagnosia and seeing things in bits along side aphasia and language processing issues these hidden blockages no doubt would have an impact on how I physically expressed my emotions to the outside world, be it in this case contextually joy, excitement and love.

All these things I feel and felt but because of visual perceptual issues, language processing, alexithymia and information processing delays these were not seen by my parents however other aspects of Christmas did excite me such as the colourful wrapping paper, glittered tree decorations and the twinkling lights but it was much more instant for me to access how I felt about a present would take longer so time would be needed. As the years progressed so did my level of understanding of what was going on.

I was happy at Christmas. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Autism, Faceblindness & Social Media

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Note this is from a personal perspective

I got a good question from a Dean Beadle a international speaker on the autism spectrum with regards to faceblindness and the use of social media.

VOICE & PATTERNS OF MOVEMENT 

The way in which I recognise people I have documented in various other blogs with regards to “seeing” faces or rather not and that is through patterns of movement (the way in which the person moves their body around the enviroment) and the person’s voices. Context helps through understanding (their full full name, significance of were I know them from).#

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SOCIAL MEDIA 

When it comes to social media it is best for people to message to help me remember where they came from. I do look for full names (that is a good start) and other contextual and associative information, although at times I have gotten it wrong in terms of sending the friend request to the wrong person it is a matter of trial and error for me. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2016

 


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Sub-Clinical Autism & Having Pieces Of What Can Make Someone “Autistic”

SEEING “PIECES” IN OTHERS 

As odd as it may sound people can have “pieces” of what can someone on the autism spectrum. This year I want to an event in Cardiff and spoke towards the end of the speech I asked if people in the audience related so some of the issues around autism presented many put their hands up. These people weren’t on the autism spectrum but the could relate to the some of  “pieces” I had been describing.

DW Fruit Salad Model - most common

 

“SUB CLINICAL” ASPECTS & SPECIFIC ISSUES FOR THAT PERSON

This is because “autism” is made of pieces and these pieces differ from person to person that means that different “expressions” and “presentations” will be shown. So if people who are considered “sub-clinical” or as having “traits” what help is there for them?

The question I would say is what do you relate to? How does it present itself? What help is there for those people whose issues maybe considered not important but at the same time have a significant impact in certain areas of functioning.

With this increased awareness could mental health services and other professionals be able to help diagnose people with these issues?

MY AUTISM “FRUIT SALAD” 2016 

Paul Isaacs Autism Fruit Salad Part 1 2016Paul Isaacs Autism Fruit Salad Part 2 2016Paul Isaacs Autism Fruit Salad Part 3 2016Paul Isaacs Autism Fruit Salad Part 4 2016

WILL THE WORD AUTISM BE USED IN THE FUTURE? 

Each “piece” of my “autism” has its own reality and function some of them you may well be able to recognise others you may not.  By saying that “autism” is one thing  (and can then only be owned within that group) when people with acquired  brain injury, strokes, cerebral palsy, genetic syndromes can inter relate to these issues presented (and may well have or have not have autism in mix) it really begs the question will the term autism be used in the future?

I spoke to a neurologist some years ago who said in 20 to 30 years the word will not be used and instead the pieces of that person’s profile would be diagnosed instead this would certainly be progression for people with autism and also others who have “pieces” to.

Paul Isaacs 2016

 


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Autism, Visual Perceptual Disorders & Tinted Lenses Videos

Note: This is from a personal perspecitve and doesn’t represent all people on the autism spectrum with or without the co-conditions mentioned

These interviews were conducted at the NAS Conference in Telford – In these interviews I talk about visual perceptual disorders, agnosias and tinted lenses in the context of autism. I would also like to stress that everyone’s autism.

 

 

Paul Isaacs 2016