Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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There Is No “Pure” Autism

An advocate felt it was old fashioned that autism and brain injury can coexist. They can present in some people’s developmental trajectory.

The problem with not being objective around the different trajectories in autism is that people’s potential realities get lost in rhetoric and the need to be popular and/or relevant.

Toxic Militants

This toxic militant form of advocacy I suggest newbies stay away from as it isn’t about making a difference it’s about filling a bullshit sandwich and making it look edible.

My Developmental Trajectory

So here’s the low down. I was born a month premature and the birthing complications which included placental abruption, fetal distress and c- section. The condition is called cerebral hypoxia.

I have always been open about this in my speeches and presentations over the years of being a speaker, trainer and consultant.

Signs of the nervous system being impacted were I was sleepy baby, photographic evidence in my early months such as fisted hands, the toes pointing upwards. This is called decoritcate posture.

Further neurological challenges such as language processing, visual perception and hemiplegia and gertsmann syndrome.

The Problem With Super Power Narratives

By suggesting that this cannot happen and always proclaiming that autism is a “super power” not only lacks objective reasoning, but also suggests that people do not have disabilities with their autism “fruit salads” in their own right.

Think Laterally About Autisms

For some it’s

Social emotional agnosia and social perception
Simultagnosia and Visual Fragmentation
Dyspraxia and Overload
Challenges in Mentalising
Challenges in Mental Health
Exposure Anxiety
Attachment, Personality & Identity


It’s multi-faceted. This also includes links with autoimmune disorders, collagen (ehlers danlos syndrome) and seizure disorders.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism, Anxiety & Resilience

It is difficult for autistic individuals to embrace failure or take risks. Instead, patients see themselves as confined in a drama dominated by shadow archetypes, mystery, and chaos. This engenders an unpleasant emotion; one caused in anticipation of danger. Indeed, anxiety is the biggest source of stress for those in the autism spectrum. For many, it is their constant companion. Anxiety thus establishes an intimate relationship with a person only to be interrupted by occasional bouts of intense fear or even panic.

Manuel Casanova 2021

I have written over the years about my own experiences with anxiety and mood disorders from a personal perspective

The dualism of having visual perception challenges (simultagnosia, semantic agnosia) rendering me object and meaning blind was both freeing, tangible, emotive and enriching in one sense but could be the opposite – coping strategies from an early age were dissociation, assigned characters and secondary to exposure anxiety.

My first memorable episode was being meaning deaf not able to decipher the interpretive frameworks of language in early infancy.

Strategies Built Over Time

I value the past, I was undiagnosed until my early twenties so I lived in a sink or swim environment, lacking concrete conscientiousness as a “primary option meant I was adaptive in art, fantasy and later creative writing.

This became a much more leisurely venture, however I still use it as a way of bridging my emotional world through my works

Conclusion

I wanted to know whyI was like I was” this included my attributes, my vices & my personhood (I refrain from lacking objectivity in autism making the condition akin to a “superpower” I would much rather look at reality and all that comes with it).

This I suppose is grounding as you can like people for social binding qualities.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Militancy – Is That The Sad Way Forward For Neurodiversity?

Daemos & Idolos

I take the middle ground on because some of this is down to personal and/or professional preferences.

Autism politics is a great divider on the autism community.

I am neither a culturist nor a curist because they are two extremes which lack reflection and objectivity.

Getting Balance Between Two Polarising Extremes

They share one aspect they refuse to people on the spectrum as people one side “diseased” the other “sexy” (for very different reasons as people). This is truly saddening for me. Demonisation & idolisation at its most potent.

Autism & Selfhood

When I say person with autism I do not mean a literal appendage what I mean from an ethical point of view before labels (adjectives) are given to people we are born as human beings.

The next aspect is I see autism as apart of me because I am neither proud nor ashamed, here nor there it just “is” that is a personal standpoint and a choice.

It also means I am a human being no more, no less and living a human life. Surely that is the greatest gift?

Taking The Middle Path

Many roads.and different journeys I feel the first aspect of self acceptance is understanding you are a person and that is fine.


With regards to not being accepted I value it (it wouldn’t have been any different in my situation if I would have had a diagnosis or not) because the people who did had their own challenges, be it mental health, core beliefs, projection or otherwise we are all fallible.


So I thank them for it and the frameworks it has given and wish them well in their lives.
With regards to the autism community it’s just like any other it has its systems, politics, varying viewpoints, discord and harmony and I value people on their views of personhood regardless.


The premise of belonging is you first it starts with the interior and working on and unpicking perception of self and reality of connected self.


In other words be your own best friend first because it’s the flesh cage you reside in and you might as well make comfortable.


I am naturally solitary, idiosyncratic, self sacrificing and mercurial these are part of my patchwork quilt. I am asocial, asexual ,value friendship and a keen observer of folk.


Faceblindness and visual agnosias made me connect with that world kinesthetically, language processing (aphasias) made feel words beyond/before their interpretation, living in system of sensing makes me feel too much, alexithymia can make me feel like inner emotions are to be explored and hemiplegia makes my world halved and wobbly.


I was diagnosed 12 years ago at age 24. I was a functionally non-verbal child who presented as deaf and blind, echlolalic, meaning deaf, meaning blind and oral apraxia. I was grateful for my parents for seeing “Paul”.

I had a great mentor Donna Williams (Polly) whom helped me understand the guts of.my “autism fruit salad”.


We are all on a journey from birth to death and I respect your candid honesty in your work, moved by your treatment as a child and your passion for change that I agree with.
Sometimes people have different ideas of what neurodiversity means.

Paul Isaacs 2022

Autism, Disability & Looking Further

Expanding on this further “all” human beings are patchwork quilts made of different elements – environment, mental health, identity and learning styles.

Personality types are within all people up to 4 to 6 this means in to context of autism that there is more fundamentals going on.

Parts That Cause Distress? Parts That Don’t

Also there are parts of people’s autism “fruit salads” which do cause distress (ego-dystonic responses to information processing challenges) so that has to be looked into as much as the parts that don’t.

Egalitarian means the principal of equality for all, if voices and perspectives are being willing or unwillingly silenced then that isn’t really diversity.

Political Bias, Informed Choices & Realities

Autism is not a “culture”, “identity” or “community” inherently. That aspect has been created rightly or wrongly.

This why I am an moderate I do see people as such people.

Maybe that is were true neurodiversity resides?

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Lenny King – An Autism Journey With & Presuming Competence

Lenny & His Mum Sharon
Lenny & His Mum Sharon

I first met the friendly and welcoming Lenny many years ago during a consultancy session

Lenny King is an endearing, funny and compassionate young man whom is thriving in his teenage years. He has a deep and close relationships to have parents and sister Rosie and has a sense of wonder and interest about the world around him.

Oral Apraxia, Echolalia and Language Processing

Lenny was diagnosed with on the autism spectrum when he was 2 years old, meeting him it is clear that he has oral apraxia and this is to do with speech organs in the mouth (tongue, jaw muscles, lips) not going tandem with what someone is saying. He has echolalia and this is do do with having a language processing disorder and creating one’s own language (patterning, theming and feeling) – with emotional context, phonic relatability and feeling words as opposed to their interpretive use.

Lenny has a great affinity for music and enjoys and eclectic array of songs – this seems have a profound impact on him as his body moves, sways also most in its own synchronistic modulations.

Sensory Perception, Object Blindness (Simultagnosia) & Meaning Blindness (Semantic Agnosia)

Lenny navigation of his external world suggests that he has sensory perceptual challenges if one can imagine for a that your sensory organs work but the feedback or information gets fragmented or distorted in some way – what system would you use? To create connections he is tactile kinesthetic in which he will feel his external world with great intent such as sand, blades of grass etc, When walks into a rooms he goes in around “dead space” and at times looks through and use peripheral vision to free information processing to “see”. This is extends to the way in which Lenny communicates and interacts with people touching their faces could be a way of creating context and association on a personal and emotive level.

Faceblindness, Body Agnosias & Mirrors

Lenny is fascinated by this face in the mirror and he at times brings his face up close and makes very distinct contortions around his mouth, lips and teeth. He seems to pay great inspection to these areas and there could be many reasonings to why this is happening.

Some people can be faceblind to their own face and on a subconscious level building up an external movement based “map” of what certain gestures look like could be one option, the other could be that he sees this person as an existential “friend” or “familiar person”. It took Donna Williams well into her twenties to understand she was looking at “herself” and me until I was sixteen. The final one could be a marriage of the above and be an getting a sense of his own “body as a whole” with the specific sways, body pressure and movement a to great a sense of reality and clarity/association.

Competence and IQ

I remember saying Lenny once not long ago “You are intelligent” to which he quickly replied “Yes!” this suggests to me that although he has complex language processing, sensory perceptual challenges and communication disorders and that his systems are on the plain of sensing much live his sister Daisy – in which he feels, merges with people, places and his surroundings and is able to connection on an emotive/introspective level that must never assume that “intelligence has a look”.

Lenny is intuitive, friendly, personable and highly idiosyncratic and self driven in all areas of his life and it is pleasure to be in his company.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Profound Autism? Or More Complex Autism “Fruit Salads”?

Different Fruits Salads? Different Realities?

Some people have more complex autism “fruit salads which means the ideas around need certainly to addressed. Terminology does become polarising and inclusivity means looking at all realities, including one’s which challenge people.

Difference In Information Challenges?

Complex autism “fruit salads” may have these pieces. There are significant differences in Asperger’s and autism “fruit salads”. To say they are the same is misdirected.

Profound “autism fruit salads” could look like as follows-

Language processing disorders (aphasia/verbal agnosias).
Visual Perceptual disorders (face, meaning or object blindness).
Oral or full body apraxia and other communication challenges.
Body disconnection/body blindness (body agnosias) making one prone to self harm.
Underlying gut, metabolic or auto-immune challenges to information processing.
Acute levels of Exposure Anxiety.
Secondary Mood, Anxiety and Compulsive disorders that may have been present infancy.
Are still living in the System of Sensing.
Overall higher levels of visual-verbal information processing challenges.

Conclusions

Identity?

This means that you understand the pieces, produce competence and intelligence and never over invest in these challenges being “them”.

Politics?

Advocacy should always be a balanced, inclusive narrative. I see it as a professional responsibility not to feed the masses fables, buzz words or rhetoric.

Being Authentic & Objective?

It’s about being real and if that makes people uncomfortable then one must reason our why and come to a place of peace.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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The Problems With “Autistic Identity”& Stereotyped Perceptions

“Neurotypical” A Word Misused & Inaccurate?

There is no such thing as “neurotypical” in terms of a collective definition of people, viewpoints or principles.

It’s a word I never use as it seems to adorned a slur like status in projection. Bigotry is as such is not only based on stereotypes but I feel hinders more balanced narratives and objective dialogues and information sharing.

We Live In A Human World First Identities Come Second

This isn’t a “neurotypical” world either it is world full of different and sometimes conflicting ideas, notions and perceptions of “other” which then lead in extreme cases to towards conflicts in bias.

Autism Militant Projection & Distorted Narratives

Militant narratives burns more bridges than it claims to build, by having a narrow lense of how someone who isn’t on the autism spectrum acts, thinks, feels etc.

How does this build a platform for idea sharing, life sharing and forming healthy agreement and disagreement?

Non- Autistic Realities & Autistic Realities – All Human Beings Are Walking “Fruit Salads

There are different forms of non-autistic realities and some parts of those realities may be relatable to an “AUT-istic” experience such someone whom has faceblindness, object blindness or language processing disorder. In other words there are multi- faceted realities of being “non-autistic“.

For the AUT-ism is not a collective reality either, not everything is sensory, not everything is language processing, not everything is dyspraxia etc.

For these are potential facets of an AUT-istic experience but are separate and identifiable pieces in their own right, that can exist on their own terms and have different presentations.

The Problem With Identity- First Narrative

That is why Identity-First language is misleading because what “parts” one is choosing to relate may not be the “autism” (in their “fruit salads) anyway.

Paul 2020


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NAS Lambeth/A2ndVoice Workshop – Autism As A Fruit Salad & Sensory Perception Issues

This workshop is about Donna Williams’ “Fruit Salad” analogy of autism and sensory perceptual challenges and agnosias in the context of autism. Hosted by Venessa Bobb.

Further Information & Reading

What Is Autism?

Common Pieces In Autism “Fruit Salads

Sensory Perception in Autism

Paul Isaacs 2020


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NAS Lambeth /A2ndVoice Workshop – Autism & Exposure Anxiety

This workshop was about the crossover between Autism and Exposure Anxiety. Presented and Hosted by Venessa Bobb.

Cross overs with Pathological Demand Avoidance, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder & Passive-aggressive Personality Disorder.

Additional Links

Autism & Exposure Anxiety By Donna Williams

PDA & EA Cross Over By Donna Williams

Paul Isaacs Personal Experience of Exposure Anxiety

Paul Isaacs 2020


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“Autistic” Identity & Sense of Self?

My autism dances with my personhood… and my personhood must also dance with my autism yet whilst not separable, nor are they interchangeable with each other.

Autism, Identity First Language, and Identity Blog 2014

Donna Williams

What is “Autistic Identity” is this narrative helpful? Or is its own simplicity, stereotypes, static and linear narrative actually causing more harm than good? Are people who do not fit the “look” being dismissed because of politics and hidden agendas?
 
Personality Types & Disorders in Autism
 
For example let’s look at personality types and autism – all humans beings have these mine are mercurial, idiosyncratic, serious, self-sacrificing and solitary this tempers my perspective, tolerance, outlooks and even my belief systems to some degree. When they become disordered this in term has an impact on presentation.
 
Social Perceptional Challenges 
 
Now there is sensory perception social emotional agnosia (not seeing body language, facial expression and tone of voice) and alexithymia (emotional awareness) is not SENSORY perception but SOCIAL perception.
 
Sensory Perception and Sensory Integration? Different Origins?
 
SENSORY perception simultagnosia, semantic agnosia and associated visual agnosias in which the person struggles with context, faces, people, visual mentalising and secondary factors with language processing what about that reality? Sensory sensitivities associated with psychosomatic amplification are different.
 
Language Processing, Perception & Articulation 
 
Then there is in language processing such as verbal agnosia the perception of words, receptive and expressive aphasia and ability to filter interpretation, sentence structure and may have secondary communication disorders such as body and oral apraxia. What about that reality?
 
Mental Health – Does This Change Presentation?
 
What about people who have mental health presentations such as dissociative disorders, attachment disorders, psychosis, anxiety disorders and impulse control disorder. What about that reality?
 
What About People With Impacted Health Systems?
 
What about people with gut, autoimmune, metabolic or collagen disorders in which they gave associated challenges around these conditions in top of any further information processing challenges above? What about that reality?
 
Autism “Politics” & Fixed Narratives 
 
What about people whom claim that people aren’t on he spectrum due to personal and potentially mitigated circumstances? An inability to see their reality, ideas or perspectives? So potentially setting up an assassination of character and allowing others to go along for ride? How is that care, compassion or inclusion?
 
I would like to further add that if someone whom was diagnosed in the 1960’s with “childhood psychosis” (which is what they thought autism back then) and later had been diagnosed with autism in the 1990’s along with other conditions throughout their adulthood (such as visual perceptual disorders, atypical epilepsy, dietary disabilities, malabsorption, collagen disorders/ehlers danlos syndrome), whom for many years their diagnosis was considered to be “fake” and a “fraud” despite historical evidence. Is that correct?
 
Is it fair that their character after over two decades of physical and sexual abuse (they had a mother whom was a attachment disordered serial pedophile and abuser) whom acquired PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder to be given the mantle of “fake”? Personality disordered? Emotionally dysregulated? Violent and infantile? I ask these questions because its certainly clear to me that it isn’t and yesterday it brought me great sadness because I know in my heart that this isn’t truth. Its not the writer of such things I upset by its the teller of those things. 
 
They are not here to defend themselves so the least I can do is send out a clear message do not dictate someone’s character second hand. Its that simple.
 
Identity vs. Reality 
 
“Autistic Identity” is a it’s own separate social phenomena in which people can at times cherry pick what “is and isn’t” their autism. One can supply facts with empathy and I have always remained objective and moderate in the world of autism. Let’s start acknowledging that “autism” was never one thing in the first place.

When someone is diagnosed with autism? Are there other aspects we have to consider?


So for example if someone sees there whole being as “Autistic” is that accurate? helpful? Should we be allowing this to happen?

Paul Isaacs 2020


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Donna Williams – Autism Beyond The Narrative

mde

It’s a very lonely road at times with my autism work and advocacy and here is why, I know as I type things will make more clarity as I continue to type.

Remembering Polly

Since Donna Williams’ passing in 2017 I have tried to advocate for her fruit salad analogy of autism (please checkout previous posts, links and images etc). I know that over her years of advocacy and consultancy she had her fair share of problems and challenges.

Militancy Loses Objective Reasoning  

Militant autism advocates (on and off the autism spectrum) attacking her online for daring to challenge the status quo, rhetoric and internalised problems within the autism community.

Misunderstandings in her non- soft language terminology and her ability to supply “what if” scenarios etc.

This can a does become tiring on both a mental and physical level as to supply knowledge, it isn’t always easy however I try various different formats and medias to do so.

I believe that the ethical and moral thing to do is to supply with empathy and candour the multi-faceted nature of autism, the presentations, the mechanics and personhood.

What Really Is Empowerment?

Why? Because empowerment in this context means giving people tools to make good in life, to find themselves and be ultimately the best version of themselves. So many people cherry pick what autism “is and isn’t” and that is completely understandable because knowledge is not on the table to be supplied.

So anybody interested in finding out more?

Take time in ingest the knowledge and please know as with Polly my heart is in the right place.

Thank you Paul 😉👍 2020