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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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Autism & Anxiety? What Are The Correlations?

Often people may ask what is anxiety? People have different thresholds, strategies, internal somatic experiences, and interpretations of what words mean to them.

Some when breaking down the different types of anxiety we can explore the different potential experiences that are going on.

Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder – in which a person may be avoidant of social activities and/or deeply analyse their perceived faults.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – in which a person repeats actions (movements, songs, checking) to “feel safe” this experience is usually temporary and short term.

Exposure Anxiety – in which person’s nervous system is triggered by awareness of self that leads to compulsive reactive retaliation responses.

Analysis Paralysis – in which a person may overthink multiple strands of information and not come to a decision and/or look at too many variables.

Phobias – in which a person through core beliefs, early childhood associated trauma, perception and associated patterns has specific conscious and/or unconscious phobias secondary to anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Trauma – in which the from context of autism sensory integration, sensory perception, social perception, alexithymia, language processing and other information processing challenges that are secondary to a person’s environment cause a negative pattern of nervous system responses.

Conclusion

So, when we look at autism and anxiety, we must take time understand what type of anxiety is present, what triggers the person’s nervous system and taking into account their information processing, language processing, mentalising and learning styles when supplying information to them.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism? I Am Neither Proud Of Have Shame – What I Aim For Is Balance

When I was diagnosed in 2010, my parents wisely said to me that I am still “Paul” (whatever that entailed at that point in time).

Not everything about someone is “Autistic” and I am no exception to this rule in the wider scheme of things.

I respectfully do not see autism as identity because that is something that has consciously created, made and I feel we must be more lateral about what autism means for people beyond our own experiences.

Personality types that are within me that could present more AUT-istic are the fact that I am solitary, serious and idiosyncratic however people internally are not straight lines as I am mercurial and self-sacrificing.

Extend this to educational systems, employment services hospitals and beyond what are people trying to say about autism? If we share objectivity then maybe fertile ground can be sown for other experiences too.

As an infant I was functionally non-verbal, I was meaning deaf, blind, context blind, body disconnected, pain dead and lived primarily in the system of sensing. What I valued was that my parents saw me as a person first regardless and that has stayed with me well into adulthood.

I value my personhood it keeps me grounded, objective and sane in many ways. I am made up of many things autism is a part of the mix not the centre of because no one person in the world is one word.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Do I Still Have Challenges?

Autism is neither here nor there, it shouldn’t be glorified or glamoured and in the same light should not be demonised either.

If achievements should be sought then maybe they should be looked upon with healthy objectivity, meaningful connectivity and be socially binding.

I often wonder if people understand my challenges? It is a healthy question to ponder sometimes and maybe there is solitude with such meandering in the infinite mindscapes.

Without my tints there is visual distortion, fragmentation, challenges in depth perception, recognition of objects, faces, people and places.

As a child I would use my side vision, would lick, sniff, tap run and use my body to map my surroundings. As an adult I pattern out routes through movement.

So faceblind I thought my reflection was a separate person until my mid teens, that seeing objects was “dead”, that any focus on one thing meant I lost everything else. I didn’t see with coherent reasoning until the age of 26.

I associate mentalise and learn through touch primarily, secondary to phonics and sound, however having auditory agnosia meant me bridging the gaps between a sound and it’s origin takes time.

That the art of interpretation in terms of language came late – for words were akin to my mind like confetti blowing in the wind. I appeared deaf, words were sounds with no origin. The mechanisms of my speech organs to not always allow for such words to flow and when they did it was feel speak.

A shared sense of social in which I couldn’t do “self and other” in real time meant that I either spoke or listened without making the shared connections, the first time I experienced this was when I was in my mid 20s. I can now do this for up to four to six hours.

That exposure anxiety at its most chronic meant that any direct notion of self awareness from others was met with compulsive self sabotage, now as an adult it is more residual but still has an impact on my ability to share information as I am naturally solitary.

That hemiplegia means I live in half a world and with the extension of body disconnection and pain agnosia meant I learnt to bathe with mixing taps at 14 because of scolding my body and I still struggle with mechanical aspects of shaving, brushing, personal care and oral hygiene, so maybe persistence is my friend?

Alexithymia means that I don’t always know how I feel about myself or what someone has said on a conscious level, however ask me to type something and I will be surprised what I thought or knew, emotional introspection and extensions of creativity leans more than logical or linear structures of learning.

I am thankful for life however a lesson can be retrieved from my writings above that even with all the knowledge, words and experience I still have these challenges.

That is where I find peace and solace knowing for I am a person a part of the world around me.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism, Neurology & Information Processing & Making Connections

Connections

I think this to me that people on and off the spectrum may have things in common as well as significant differences.

For those “differences” non- autistic people can have which can make an AUT-istic presentation.

– Let’s look at the first point about facial expressions – a higher number of people in the spectrum have social emotional agnosia (not seeing facial expression, body language or hearing tone of voice). Others may have simultagnosia and have visual fragmentation and/or faceblindness.

– High reactivity could but with exposure anxiety and compulsive retaliation, diversion responses, emotional dysregulation (60 percent cross over with autism), challenges with shared sense of social, core beliefs/internalising and mentalising challenges as an extension of agnosias, aphasias and potentially alexithymia.

– Fawning and poor boundaries could be to do with environmental factors, core beliefs – and extension could be borderline personality disorders/dependant personality disorders in which person has a poor sense of self, dissociation (reaction to information processing as well as environment) and attachment.

– Difficult conversations – challenges with self and other and a shared sense of social (All self NO other/ALL other NO self), social emotional agnosia, alexithymia language processing (aphasias/verbal agnosias), communication challenges (oral/body apraxia).

– Personalising strangers reactions – personality sensitivities, emotional regulation and filtering, social perception related to agnosias and/or language processing. *some people may not take responses on the personal.

– Not understanding when one is in danger this could to do with mono – processing, agnosias (related to social perception), body agnosias/body disconnection, aphasias, alexithymia and not knowing how you consciously feel about the situation and dissociation. *some people may live in system of “sensing* in which they unconsciously filter danger.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Reflective Notions Of Autism & Balanced Narratives For The Future

It’s now the end of autism awareness/acceptance month and I think people do misunderstand my position on this.

Autism & Politics – An Odd Connection

The politics of autism are dicey and that to me is part of the incoming challenges everybody is coming from the angle of their own perspective, internal lens and experiences.

Let’s Look At Healthy, Person Centered Realities

I do not seek cures nor do I see people on the spectrum as “broken” nor do I see autism as inherently a culture.

I think this diverts from the very real issues that are happening on a community based level. I see people as such, three dimensional, patchwork quilts who deserve at the very foundation a chance to be understood and make meaningful connections in their lives.

To be allowed to explore the notions of competence and humanness if we over or underinvest in labels we miss so much, see failure as a friend a companion that will aid you to the path that suits and works.

Being Balanced Isn’t Threatening

I will listen to people even at the extreme ends of the narrative (to gauge their internal reasoning) because even they need their perspectives to be accounted for. I am not the centre piece it’s beyond specific people.

Why I Advocate – Broader Experiences

I advocate and I inform about language processing, visual perception, information processing, exposure anxiety and the fruit salad analogy. Why? To bridge gaps of different experiences, to offer an expansion of the different “systems” within autism, to give people the space, time, autonomy and self ownership to know their autism and empower others.

Conclusion On Personhood

To see that people are people and their personhood should be cherished as much as the challenges faced.

We have as human beings more in common than we times care to wish. I am all for authentic individualism.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism – When It Isn’t Just Neurological?

No (for some) with a high prevalence between 40 – 60 percent have either gut, immune and autoimmune disorders as opposed to people with AS who are less likely to have the challenges above – this can and does have an impact.

Vitamin D & Autism

Function

For example vitamin D (and other vitamin malabsorptions) which can cause secondary effects that can be disabling in their own right. Vitamin D is a neuro steroid which impacts on these areas

Some major known biological functions of neurosteroids include modulation of neural plasticity,[26] learning and memory processes,[27] behavior,[28][29] and seizure susceptibility,[30] as well as responses to stress, anxiety, and depression.[11][31] Neurosteroids also appear to play an important role in various sexually-dimorphic behaviors and emotional responses.[29].

Vitamin B12 & Autism

Function

Vitamin B12 aids with digestion and when malabsorption is present it can cause s vast array of neuro, psychological and psych- social symptoms.

Vitamin B12 was discovered as a result of pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disorder in which the blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells, due to a deficiency in vitamin B12.[5][13] The ability to absorb the vitamin declines with age, especially in people over 60 years old.

Many cases of ‘severely’ autistic child I’ve seen as a consultant didn’t involve B12 deficiencies. Excess Salicylate levels, kids eating fluoride toothpaste and stripping out their gut lining, extreme learned helplessness and Dependent Personality Disorder in families who were co-dependent with it, visual/verbal/body agnosias associated with brain injury or dyspraxia which required brain gym and adaptations, kids with undiagnosed immune deficiencies whose brains weren’t firing on all cylinders but didn’t have B12 deficiency…. you get the picture. So stop grabbing one-size-fits-all autism ‘cures’ like maniacs in the last days of a department store sale. Get sensible and think holistically. Kids are not one size fits all. Nor is autism. Nor are autistic kids.

Donna Williams

Salicylate Sensitivity & Autism

Function

Salicylic acid modulates COX-1 enzymatic activity to decrease the formation of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Salicylate may competitively inhibit prostaglandin formation. Salicylate’s antirheumatic (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) actions are a result of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

Hives, joint problems, headaches and attention/information processing issues were part of my childhood. I was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis around age 9-11 and put on painkillers until I was 17 and had few white cells. I had had immune problems all my life and was used to infections running in succession, lasting months and not responding well to antibiotics. By 17 I had regular migraines and was on asthma sprays and thrush became my constant companion. By age 26 I had multiple simultaneous infections (respiratory tract, bladder, eye infections), chronic thrush, severe fatigue, and episodes of numbness, vein problems and swelling in my hands, very dark circles under my eyes and what would later be diagnosed as ‘severe reactive hypoglycemia’. It was 1989 and when I was asked if I’d ever been tested for allergies, I was surprised such a thing could cause such ill health. I was referred to an allergy clinic.

The allergy clinic was run by qualified medical doctors. They injected me with a small amount of salicylate then measured the size of the histamine associated reaction. They had a scale of measurement for these bumps which went up to a score of 22. My score for salicylate allergy was 22. Ah, so that’s why aspirin swelled up my hands, feet, face and neck with edema!. I went home with a diet that was gluten free, casein free, no soy, low phenol, low salicylate and no refined carbs. I had no family support, no counselor. The withdrawal was horrendous. I made it and within 7-10 days I was becoming markedly better on all fronts. I remained relatively loyal to my low salicylate life for 21 years until I was 47 years old.

Donna Williams

Autism & P53 Gene Deletion

Function

A gene that makes a protein that is found inside the nucleus of cells and plays a key role in controlling cell division and cell death.

Deletions in mtDNA and altered p53 gene copy ratios appear to result mainly from genetics, particularly in children with more severe autism,” Giulivi said,” whereas the gene x environment interaction seems to play a greater role in children with autism with less severe symptoms.”

M Father has a P53 gene deletion, CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukaemia) and a diagnosis of AS it was through blood tests that they found out and had to go into a treatment of steroids and a blood transplant.

This would suggest that if the rhetoric is that autism is just – then you miss other realities that may not fit the cookie cutter narrative be bold and understand that it isn’t a one size fits all. Knowledge is power.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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House Hunting and Moving Advice for Parents With Children on the Spectrum

Image from Unsplash

I’m a dad living in Philadelphia. I enjoy DIY projects almost as much as raising my two children. I’m also the co-creator of Fix It Dads, which offers tips for home improvement projects.  www.Fixitdads.com

As a parent, your primary priority will always be your child. Considering your little one can be challenging when planning a move, especially if your child is on the autism spectrum. There will be house features to look out for and home modifications to make. In addition, when forced to confront change, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often experience extreme anxiety and stress. This can be harrowing to watch as a parent.

However, the payoff for the hard work is well worth the effort. Seeing your child flourishing, joyous, and well-adjusted in their new environment will be highly fulfilling. Whether you’re house-hunting for financial reasons, a job, or wish for a better life elsewhere, moving may just be the ticket to happiness for you and your family. And with a bit of advice from Paul Isaacs’ Blog, you’ll be good to go for a smooth and efficient move.

Keep Your Little One in the Loop

The key to a successful move is to include your child in the decision-making process. According to the Raising Children Network, kids with ASD don’t deal well with change, so it is vital to help them feel secure. Try to let them know about the move as early as possible, so they have the time and space to process the information. Spectrum News reports that kids with ASD typically need a month or more to prepare for a significant life change.

Another critical tip is to paint a vivid picture of their new environment. Tell your kid about their new room, the house, and the kind of school they’ll be going to. Get them excited about features like a pool in the backyard or a great park nearby. Don’t forget to mention anchor features that they value in your current home, such as toys or furniture.

Look For the Perfect Autism-Friendly Home

You will need to find a home that is ideally located to suit your child’s needs. Look for neighborhoods with easy access to good schools, medical facilities, and therapy centers. Once you’ve narrowed down the right location, you’ll have to do some research on median prices. It can be tricky to find a home that is both autism-friendly and affordable. However, remember that details that bother those with ASD are typically easily fixed. For example, painting and lighting are easily changed up for a budget-friendly solution.

In addition to features and home prices, you’ll need to consider annual income, monthly expenses, and the down payment cost. During this time, you may want to consider whether purchasing an “as-is” home is the right choice. In addition to saving you money, purchasing an “as-is” home can allow you to tailor the space to your child’s specific needs. However, if you decide to take this route, make sure that the home’s current state doesn’t pose any risk to your family’s overall well-being.

Fixing Up Your New Home

It’s going to be challenging to find a house that is fitted out with your specifications and meets your budget requirements! You’ll likely need to make a few modifications to ensure that your house feels safe for your loved one. For example, you will have to ensure you’re accommodating your child’s sensory sensitivity. Echoey rooms and unclean spaces are big triggers, so be sure to get some furniture in and deep-clean the home before moving in. Soundproofing, rounded countertops, and quiet appliances are some other features that will be valuable for your child on the spectrum.

Also, take the time to set up smart cameras, safety locks, and smoke alarms, so the house is move-in ready. Set up open concept plans to ensure circulation, as this is important for people on the spectrum. A bigger backyard is also a great way to ensure your child thrives — this will improve their strength, processing, and attention span and give them exposure to the outdoors. House hunting and moving can have some unique challenges when you’re the parent of a child with ASD. However, get comfortable with the difficulties and take it in your stride. Plan ahead for an efficient move, and remember to comfort your child on moving day. The more you involve your child, the better they will adjust to the upcoming changes

Post by Rob Woods

Blogged by Paul Isaacs 2022


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An Alternate View Of Autism & Personhood First Language

Note – This is from a personal perspective of my autism profile, identity and ethos

I have never seen the day of was diagnosed as “autism” being all of “me” and since then I have come to understand why. The day I was diagnosed my parents were present through the process and on the way back to the car my Mum said to me you are still “Paul”.

Autistic Identity Vs. Human Selfhood

She was right in so many ways and that is why I didn’t fall down the hole of the “autistic identity” phenomena with all its trappings of rhetoric (idolisation and recycled stereotypes), confirmation bias (lacking objective reasoning), group think (cliques and separatism) which regardless of intent cause confusion and sometimes overriding opinion over factual information sharing.

Information Processing Challenges Aren’t Unique To Autism

Understanding my own personal information processing challenges took time firstly what the are and where they came from. I had brain injury at birth and no information processing challenge in its own right is “autism” not one what what makes and aut-is-tic presentation is if you have many – for me it was being faceblind, object blind, meaning blind as an extension of visual perceptual challenges, body agnosic, hemiplegia and pain agnosia as an extension of body disconnectivity, language processing challenges which meant I was meaning deaf, didn’t get a shared sense of social until later in adulthood and I was tactile kinesthetic in my style of learning, context, bonding and mentalising.

Mental Health Conditions Aren’t “The Autism”

My mental health co-conditions are not the autism (but can and did temper surface presentation at the time) they do however come along for the ride such as mood disorders in mid infancy infancy, dissociation due being meaning deaf in later infancy, obsessive compulsive disorder by my early teens and exposure anxiety which came about prior to gaining functional speech between the ages 7/8 years old.

Autism, Personality Types, Disordered Extremes & Its Broader Context

When it came to my early adulthood I was diagnosed with borderline and schziotypal personality disorders these were in my case not a misdiagnosis (this also included auditory hallucinations and psychosis). So what can we learn from this in the broader context? That people on the autism spectrum have personalities too and the traits like all other human beings the common being devoted/dependant. conscientious/obsessive compulsive, idiosyncratic/schziotypal, solitary/schizoid. This suggests to me that non-autistic folk can also present as “autistic” because they could have “autistic presented” personality types with certain attachment styles and sensitives. This means that what people are again calling the autism is it that really accurate and in a broader sense helpful? I am solitary, mercurial, serious, self-sacrificing and idiosyncratic. I am also asexual and asocial.

I Am A Happy Human Being? Or Happy Being Human?

Now I can only speak from my own experiences and I can say that I am neither proud, ashamed or otherwise with regards to my diagnosis it just is – this doesn’t come from apathetic dismissal nor does it come from non acceptance. I see myself as a person first not because of shame but because all people are patchwork quilted, layered, multi-faceted – autism is part of who I am not the centre nor is its bulking up my selfhood.

I am happy being a human not a lot people get that chance.

Paul Isaacs 2022