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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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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I Am Not Special – Just A Human & Part Of Humanity – Autism is Part Of Not The Centre Of

Act for Autism Event 2022

Act For Autism – Autism & Transition To Adulthood Event this morning I was talking about my “Living Through The Haze” and life on the autism spectrum from a personal perspective.

Birthing Complications & Trajectory

Covering the early aspects of birth, placental abruption and prematurity – with an association with language processing and visual perception.

Agnosias, Aphasia, Context & Connection

Being a meaning deaf, meaning blind & object blind child whom lived and communicated by pattern, theme and feel, externalising – sniffing, licking, tapping, rubbing and to internalise and how that impacts language association.

Being so faceblind that I didn’t recognise my own face in washrooms and mirrors until mid-teens (thinking it was a girl).

Once functional speech came it was that of a three year old (expressively) and exposure anxiety made the directly confrontational world difficult to navigate.

Being pain dead and body disconnection and not reacting to physical trauma.

Autism, Mental Health & Personality – How That Impacts on Self

Secondary conditions such as mood disorders, OCD & dissociation came while in infancy and more complex conditions such as schizotypal, borderline personality disorders, psychosis and auditory hallucinations came in the guise of a nervous breakdown in 2007/08.

I was diagnosed with autism in 2010 and visual perceptual disorders in 2012.

But I still “buzz”at lights, twinkles, colours, shimmer and shine, sounds and words.

The ups, downs and in-betweens of education, employment, autism as a fruit salad, autism, asperger’s & “aspiauts” profiles.

The Human Factor Of Complexity

We (as human persons) are all walking fruit salads, patchwork quilts, raw ingredients yet to be cooked etc. I know my story is my own (I am not representing all) and that is fine.

Overview of Speech & Reflective Points

– Living with significant information processing challenges.

Agnosias (body, face, object, auditory and semantic and this impacted perception/learning & attachment)

Alexithymia (not perceiving self social/emotional feedback)

Oral Apraxia (and words not being able to escape)

Aphasia (language processing and phonics being distorted)

– Not getting a shared sense of social until my late twenties

Living Half and World (hemiplegia).

– Living in a world were interpretive language was not “king” and “feel speak” was/is.

Exposure Anxiety that in its extremes denies selfhood.

Not being logical and literal in navigating the external world (akin to a mind full of confetti)

Personality Disorders that make one feel “mad”

– Seeing that being human is more significant than anything else no more and no less

For All These Pieces What Then?

“Paul” is made up of many things from my upbringing, my landscaped enviroment and people I have met. I stay steadfast in the middle not wanting to indulge, over-invest in such artifices of identity because people as humans are made up of so much more then one word, one label and one describer.

I value the depth nature of human connection beyond the notions of separate invisible lines drawn amongst the invisible sand of othering. For bigotry and denial of shared humaness is still a saddened treading of human mindscapes. I am simply a person who didn’t ask to born (as we all are) so I must take what I have use it with yearning for a fantasy of what “life could be like”.

“Autism” just is “is” it doesn’t define a person in totality and to the path of weathered extremes is like being in the eye of the storm you observe the chaos within the peace – we are (as human beings not a group) made up of multiple ingredients and the same for autism, no one profile is the same, no one experience is the same.

You Cannot Save Anyone – Selfhood Comes From Within

Giving yourself but having steadfast notable autonomy of self cared nuances uplift the soul from the caged stones of uncertainty to the angel whom may fear his wings to be severed a half life deserted.

An eternal garden of one’s own can be tended with up most clarity ladened meanderings of the brain cages experiences of the outer flesh world. Our pastures memories plucked and resown eternal.

You cannot save anybody in this world from the internal torments of their baron life pastures full of bloodied thorns, grating sole that burns the mind soul with every movement. You offer helped hands and give them alone the chance to create their own life seedlings a chance to saunter in new foundational nutrients

One must be able to tend to their mind sphere and understand that giving guidance doesn’t mean plucked ears will clad into the pollen so earnest, tempered responsibility means your selfhood as on going footings most balanced to another.

If people have a baron mindset a tear may be shed for their lives pained thorn throne which their body has been punctured for a lifetime of hardships, however the ploddings are meeting are but an husk for the internal bile that ferments.

To come to internal peace one must look inside out and lurk amount the multiple embryos of sadness, embrace them, be kindly and let them settle as the venom sloshes out and you are reborn through the thronged mossy motherhood.

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


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Autism, Aspergers, Applied Empathy & Sensing

My Father as diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2010. I am going to give a two basic ideas from personal person perspectives who (not from an identity perspective but from a profile perspective) how two different diagnosis under the same umbrella can be different experiences of personhood, reality and information processing.

Social Perception – Practical & Interpretive

My Father’s profile consists of social emotional agnosia this is a non-verbal language disorder and has an impact on social perception because he doesn’t process body language, facial expression and tone of voice – so this means that information (even emotional) is understood through facts, he has alexithymia, sensory integration disorder, dyspraxia and dyslexia.

He cannot sense but that doesn’t mean that he lacks empathy. He has to be supplied the information such a way which semantically in a list like fashion for him to internalise and mentalise with coherence, once that is done he is able to use a “colour by number” variation in which all his prior knowledge of situations is used.

Other factors include a poor care giving enviroment which impacted on his development he is conscientious, hyper-social logical, literal and has social anxiety.

I was diagnosed with Autism & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in 2010, Visual Perceptual Disorders & Learning Difficulties in 2012.

Social Perception

My profile consists of simultagnosia (visual fragmentation), faceblindness & semantic agnosia my social perception fragmented so I have to use auditory an tactile association to mentalise as well as being aided by tinted lenses, alexithymia, body agnosias and hemiplegia (cerebral palsy) make me disconnected from physical form, aphasia means that I struggle with after between 1 to 4 hours with tinted lenses to get a “shared sense of social” .

Applied Empathy – Sensing & Mergence

I can sense and merge with people readily when this happens I am unconsciously filled with the person’s internal states of mind (personality, core beliefs, trauma) and everything that goes with it along with my own emotions. I have to externalise to internalise in which I use art, poetry, creative writing read or look at and the learn about myself and potentially others.

Other factors include poor educational environments, being idiosyncratic, self sacrificing as well as being asocial, less logical, less literal and have exposure anxiety.

Conclusion

Its clear that the two systems have a different way of applying, rationalising, mentalising and exploring empathy and the differing informational processing underpinnings that although on the surface may be deemed as “the same” are actually quite different.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Looking At People With “Complex” Autism Fruit Salads

Note this is from a personal perspective, professional and observational perspectives – photos supplied with kind permission of Sharon King.

Reference Points

When we think of the word “autism” what do we mean? What are we saying? Is it a person’s own observational perspective? Could it be what one has read in a book? Seen on the television? Or could it be around a family member or diagnosis that you have yourself?

What Lenses Are We Looking Through? Our Own? Or Others?

When I think of the words “autism” from objective stand point which filters in to my professional philosophy it must ultimately be person centred, there should be no room from stereotypes, misinformation, rhetoric, identity politics that ultimately cloud, divide and at times silence voices and realities. Inclusion should mean in principle a need to look at things other than your own lenses.

Patchwork Quilts & Fruit Salads

When I saw the both Daisy and Lenny King many years ago I was ultimately seeing people in there own right and consulted with the family and the different information processing challenges that they had.

  • Sensory perceptual challenges (face, object and meaning blindness)
  • Language processing challenges (aphasia/verbal agnosia)
  • Body disconnection (body agnosias, finger agnosias)
  • Communication challenges (oral apraxia)

The Precious Nature Of Seeing Personhoods

What I have enjoyed and still do as family friend is their company they both live in the system of sensing (a pre-conscious world in which they have mergence), they are fiercely and emotively introspective, solitary and self owning, they offer friendship and connectivity beyond interpretive frameworks but are still equally meaningful, they are idiosyncratic and individualistic and their intelligence is clear to those whom are open minded enough to presume competence and understand that autism doesn’t have “one look”.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Anna Kennedy – Autism & Information Processing Workshop

Information Processing Challenges Covered In Workshop

This workshop gives an overview of some (of the many) information processing challenges that people on the autism spectrum experience.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Autism, Information Processing and Train Travel

This is an article about autism and travel, on the context of a train station the potential pieces of a person’s autism and specific information processing challenges.

Face blindness

When on a train, waiting for a person at a station and/ or destination one may struggle with the ability to recognise someone by their face this is called prosopagnosia. Some people may need to different compensatory strategies to make the connection that they are a person that they know.

  • A board that has their name and the person’s name.
  • A familiar piece of clothing such as shoes, earrings, glasses etc.
  • The sound of the person’s voice.
  • The way in which the person moves such as gait, walk and stride.
  • Tactile and alternate sensory modulation to create association, such sniffing, tapping, rubbing etc.

Visual Perceptual Disorders

If a person has related visual perceptual challenges within a train station this can cause distraction but the way in which that connects with association is vast because of different experiences, variations and the personal emotions that got with.

  • Becoming increasingly “meaning blind” may mean the person goes into the system of “sensing” within their surroundings.
  • May experience intense euphoria and induced chemical highs due to simultagnosia and/or semantic agnosia’s. (fragmented vision).
  • May experience intense aversion and induced chemical highs due to simultagnosia and/or semantic agnosia (fragmented vision).
  • May need contextual means to be able to ground themselves this could be self-regulated or from another person.


Topographical Agnosia

When a person is in the same surroundings but cannot process or perceive where they are (even though they have been to this place many times) this could be to do with many factors – coming on a different train that is resided in a different place at the station for example or moving to the same location from a different angle.

  • Needing to find a place of association that is a landmark
  • Needing to be able to mentalise the new surroundings (through different modulations and associations).
  • Needing to be able to go to a place of safety.


Language Processing

This is a broad definition in which a person’s information processing ability to express and/or receive language may be for example be distorted the person loses words within a conversation. In a train station with external stimuli this could compound the ability to receive language further.

  • The person may need the aid of gesture and tone to get meaning.
  • The person may need the aid of objects of reference.
  • The person may need the aid picture/word association (if they do not have visual perceptual disorders).
  • The person may have delays in connections and a shared sense of “social” this means the person may only be able to do all self no other or all other no self.


Personality Types, Temperament & Resilience

It is worth noting that within the context of this article that other factors that come into is a person’s personality type which has its own values, systems, associations, temperament and varying degrees of resilience and association.

This means that if a person is idiosyncratic for example may have more novel ways of dealing with stress induced situations say than a more conscientious person who may be more linear.

Conclusion

In the context of autism this does count for a person is more than their information processing and one’s personhood rides with the latter and vice versa. People given the balanced nature of caregivers and other means of support can and do have the ability to change and adapt be healthily acknowledging their “autism fruit salads” but also their personhood to, for people are more than labels and so humanity starts with seeing people and everything that comes along with it.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Interview by UK Health Radio About Life On The Autism Spectrum

I had the pleasure not being interviewed about my life on the spectrum by JJ Stenhouse she also interviewed advocate and Tally Nothey about parenthood and her son who is on the autism spectrum.

Paul Isaacs 2021