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A Journey With Exposure Anxiety

Exposure Anxiety comes in 3 levels:

  • Specific: Targets only specific environments, activities and interaction with particular individuals.
  • Generalized and other-directed: Effects all areas of life which directly involves others.
  • Generalized and both self and other directed: Effects all areas of life which directly involves others but is also present when alone.

Copyright Donna Williams 1991, 2003, 2008

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Residual “Exposure Anxiety?

If we think about exposure in a residual (non syndromic sense) those moments of embarrassment, aware of being aware, aware of your own self-awareness of the situation meant that you froze clamed up or even ran away meant that this “feeling” you wanted to escape, remove, and disappear.

 A Personal Look at Exposure Anxiety And Me

If you turned the “volume-up” on this condition you may find that it fits in the realms of being called “Exposure Anxiety” a feeling on a chronic level that falls into the three subtypes above. I would say that in my early years I had the 3rd one throughout my child and teenage hood as I grew into my twenties and was at the tail end of being employment in my mid teens I was thrust into a world of expectation from a social perspective that in many ways never let up. I never the less “kept going” and now at the age of thirty two I can say that the claws of this condition have shortened, nails smoothed and hands made smaller.

I would say it has an impact on me in specific areas so that is going from 80% to now at a more comfortable 30% and below I can show more of “myself”, be, share and talk in a more “connected manner” than I did even 10 years ago. Other things have changed to my environment, my purpose, life is but a rolling journey and that is the joy we can all celebrate and question at different stages in our lifetime.

My information processing being meaning deaf and meaning blind have changed, the tints have aided in those areas of visual perceptual challenges, and my meaning deafness is around 30% so I can keep a better track on conversation around me. My emotional processing and perception are still delayed that is a work in progress and I seek not to compare but to be the closest version of “me” I can be.

When we look at other people’s autism “fruit salads”, we begin to wonder what is the “driver” to what I am seeing? Is it sensory perceptual? Is it dietary disabilities? Is it seizure related? Is it emotional perception? Is it language processing? Etc. By looking at the person’s “systems” you are dealing into those areas of honest and humble questioning, what will you find and how will you adapt?

Common Threads Of Humanity?

Do people with autism have much more in common with those without? My answer is yes they do the only difference is the areas of that person’s “autism” that is challenging some to smaller more residual degrees others to more severe and/or profound degrees it is not the matter of it being a linear spectrum from “classic” autism to “asperger’s syndrome” but the also the palette of grey and what is specific to that person is what matters. All human beings have “system” it may be just that I have taken the time (which anybody could choose to do in my circumstance) and work out “what that is”.

Looking At People As People?

If one ignores the poison of the autism militancy which is political and unhelpful in its projection and reasoning one must look at the person and what “autism” is for them and means for them.

Paul Isaacs 2018

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Most Common “Pieces” in People’s Autism “Fruit Salad”

Autism Most Common Image

Donna Williams’ (Polly Samuel) set a legacy in what the adjective “autism” meant it was like a bowl of fruit and different pieces of fruit mean different things in this overview she covered in the image above the most common aspects of someone autism “fruit salad.”

 

 

Social Emotional Agnosia – Not perceiving body language, tone of voice and facial experiences means that person only “sees” and “hears” facts that means that the person maybe socially anxious and may need information shared to them (including emotional supply) in factual/pragmatic way.

Faceblindness – A person who doesn’t recognise people by their faces this means the person may connect more with the what the person is wearing, hairstyles, jewellery, voice patterns, walking gait. context is also an issue such as meeting people and/or getting used to seeing someone one context may not translate to another. You may need to ask them is they struggle with faces.

Simultagnosia – (Object Blindness) – A person who only see’s pieces of a their visual field and not wholes this could mean that the person finds certain environments difficult to navigate, people, places, objects may be hard to track causing anxiety, overload and on the opposite end euphoria and “sensory highs” that is person who is addicted to their own “chemical highs”. Lightening, colours, patterns, colours, stairs (surface changes), shadows will all have an impact on perception.

Alexithymia – A person who does not process and/or perceive their emotions in “real-time” this can cause a reactionary delay meaning the person is always “trailing behind” to some degree and may give surface “responses” rather than “connected” responses. Give the person time to respond.

Dyspraxia & Overload – A person is struggles to motor-ordination issues, the movement of their body and limbs in and around their environment being prone to overload could be due to the brain and bodies movement not being in tandem causing/triggering chemical imbalances.

Lack of Simultaneous – Self and Other – A person who can do either “all self no other” and/or “all other no self” this means the a shared sense of “social” may be delayed and the mono-tracked way of conversing may have to be adapted to allow time between “switching”.

Language Processing Disorder – A language processing disorder can come in many forms and presentations the ability to find words (anomia), the ability to construct sentences (pragmatics) and the ability to receive and express meaning with interpretation some people may be “meaning deaf” (aphasia, verbal auditory agnosia) and need for example object of references gesture and tone and other who are literal in their perception and have atonia may need facts and to limit body language.

Communication Disorders – Some people may get tongue tied, stammer, are “tone-deaf”, have tourette’s, have verbal agnosia and talk through echolalia (TV shows, Jingles, DVDs and TV shows), some people have oral apraxia (the ability to use their tongue and facial muscles) having visual perceptual issues and associated personality types which in turn have an impact on style and/presentation.

Exposure Anxiety – A person who is triggered by direct communication and “exposure” triggering compulsive, avoidance, retaliation and diversion responses meaning that “direct communication” you may need to use a “indirectly confrontational response” such as focusing on the object, situation not the person, humanising objects.

Lack Of Mentalising – The inability to “juggle” information with a level of coherence this could be to do with information processing delays, sensory perceptual disorders, social perception and/or language processing this means that you need to work out the person’s “system” of integrating information with associated meaning.

Personality, Identity and Attachment – This is how the person sees themselves, differing personality types will colour a person’s interpersonal wants and needs and communication styles, sexuality and gender

Mental Health – These associated conditions will have an impact on presentation such as mood, impulse control, anxiety, dissociation and attachment disorders.

Physical Issues – They may have auto-immune disorders, disorders of metabolism, dietary disabilities, genetic anomalies which have an impact on overall functioning.

Paul Isaacs 2018

 


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Exposure Anxiety & Autism

Exposure Anxiety Image 2018

Exposure Anxiety was first written about in Nobody Nowhere in 1991 as a syndrome of involuntary and compulsive avoidance, diversion and retaliation responses.  A large section of my first text book, Autism; An Inside Out Approach in 1996, was dedicated to setting out strategies for managing, even reversing Exposure Anxiety.  In 2003 I wrote the first full book on Exposure Anxiety.

Published in 2003, Exposure Anxiety; The Invisible Cage of Involuntary Self Protection Responses, is the first ever text book by a person diagnosed with autism specifically focusing on co-morbid anxiety and impulse control disorders effecting those on the autistic spectrum.  It offers an innovative new approach to working with some of the most challenged people on the autistic spectrum.

Drawing on an ‘Indirectly-Confrontational’ approach, this 336 page book gives case studies and a wealth of strategies to reduce and progressively overcome the compulsive and involuntary avoidance, diversion and retaliation responses of Exposure Anxiety.   Exposure Anxiety is an ‘Invisible Cage’ that challenges the person to either side with it and identify self with their own compulsive self protection responses.

There’s is considerable overlap between Exposure Anxiety and conditions such as Pathological Demand Avoidance (first diagnosed in 2008), Oppositional Defiance Disorder (first in the literature around 2002), Avoidant Personality Disorder and Dependent Personality Disorder.  With this book actually written from an Inside-Out Approach, by someone who actually lived their entire life with and ultimately managed then overcame the condition, those looking for strategies for managing and reducing these conditions may find this book extremely useful.

Donna Williams

Motivational Differences Between Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome & Exposure Anxiety

As someone who has lived with chronic EA all my life this certainly different to PDA who may tolerate an audience (in a social context) I do not while with PDA is triggered by DEMANDs. I am triggered by EXPOSURE which is completely different in terms of motivations.

Exposure Anxiety, Personality Types & “Triggers” 

People with EA have a lack of sense of “self” this it true people with EA may see their condition as the very barrier to showing other’s themselves. I like my own company so naturally being solitary that isn’t a problem, also a lack of sense of self can be seen in people who are mercurial and fear loneliness (real or otherwise) those personality types I have.

If you wanted to want, wanted to be, wanted to co-exist but your EA was crippling you from doing so because of being noticed, awareness of existing etc, that would mean you were in a hidden battle a battle happening when nbeing triggered by the co-existense of other people, with the WANT and the  EA being in polar opposites and it being seen as ego dystonic.

ego-dystonic [e″go-dis-ton´ik] denoting aspects of a person’s thoughts, impulses, attitudes, and behavior that are felt to be repugnant, distressing, unacceptable, or inconsistent with the rest of the personality. See also ego-syntonic.

In EA you can have chronic, diversion, retaliation responses which in my case were running away, freezing, selevtive mutism (once functional speech came) and shutting down when people were expectant of response, expectant of a reaction and expectant of one’s own existence. Did that mean I would hurt the people I liked? Yes of course and then feared loss through these actions.

A message of hope would to understand EA its mechanics and to get the best out of the person and who they want to be.

Paul Isaacs 2018

 


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Autism & Personality Types – They Do Exist

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Personality Types & Autism 

When we look at “autism” looking at personality types is just as important as any other factors. We could look at these aspects of a human being they are very much the “soul” of the person they pepper one’s temperament, personal outlook, emotional regulation, friendships, relationships and aspects of social and emotional interaction.

Identity Crisis

For people who are on the autism spectrum not all their “being” is dictated by the diagnosis that they have. This of course will vary from person to person depending on what part of their “fruit salad” are impacting and how they view their personhood within that. Is it hidden by language processing disorder? Is it being tempered and challenged by health issues? Or are there underlying mental health issues that are being called “the autism” when they are not?

Autism Isn’t a “Collective” 

Some people see their autism as “ego-syntonic” that is all their person and they feel it all of the time, others like myself see their autism as part of their “being” this means that other factors come into it such as environmental factors, mental health, identity and learning style all human being are made of up these things . For me it seems to over simplified and reductive to suggest that people on the spectrum share common goals, values and outlooks as a collective experience.

The “Sameness” Machine

“We” do not all come from the same place, we do not have a carbon copy autism “fruit salad” that is  shared from person to person. That means that one should be seen as an individual not just a sausage machine of traits. People are born with no labels what so ever and no one person is defined by “one word”.

Paul Isaacs 2018

 

 


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“Neurotypical”, Reverse-Bigotry & The Warped Lense Of Equality

 

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Not this is from personal experiences

“Neurotypical” Is Inaccurate & Misleading? 

The word Neurotypical is used to describe people who are “non-autistic” but what if we have got that all wrong? What if the barriers are being created by the assumptions of what “autism” is that then thrusting one’s own presumptions of what it is like to be “non-autistic”?  I think that there really is no such thing.

Bigotry Is Still Bigotry 

Reverse bigotry is still that bigotry and if someone is using the words “NT” or “Neurotypical” to dehumanise, belittle or bully someone then surely that very generalised assumption if wrong? How does that become validated? Is it a sense of one’s own self importance, ego, group think and conformation bias, upbringing and/or past experiences? What gives someone the right to say these things and not take social emotional impact it has on the people in question?

“Autistic Identity”

This has worryingly been created through a “narrow” bandwidth of what autism “is” and “isn’t” but also what being “non-autistic” “is” and “isn’t”. The truth is there are far more similarities between people than not so why over invest in stereotypes? Which in the long run give people  a generic tick list of “traits”?

More Voices? More Perspectives? 

If we created so many degrees of separation do we strive to lose our objectivity? Being grounded means looking at things from the angle of non-bias. I have seen too much militancy that means that some people’s experiences have been silenced because they have not fitted the status quo that means there is rhetoric and that is unhealthy. Equality is for everybody.

No one “owns” autism it is not a thing to be bought or sold, no one should be able to cherry pick what autism “should look like” because guess what? It doesn’t have a “look” and more you give it one ironically the more voices will be lost.

Paul Isaacs 2018


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Is Stereotyping & Glamorising Autism A Dangerous Path to Tread? Balance Is The Way Forward

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I think of Polly a lot and as it is coming near to a year since she has passed and autism awareness month. I think of the valuable and human lessons she taught me and other advocates who keenly listened and understood not only her perspective on the matter but her overall out look and ethos.

Paul 1995 - 1

Autistic Person? Or Person With Autism?

I think when I was born and all that was around me that I wasn’t fully aware of yet, the people, trees, the buildings, the modern world, the natural world. I think of cladding and chosen identities and when comes to defining a person by one aspect of themselves. I often wonder and worry about what that means. If we see everything as the “autism” from the moment one gets up to the moment one goes to bed what is left?

Cannot we see the other aspects the mould a person such as the environment they live in? The personality types they have? The mental health conditions? Their sense of identity? (other than being “autistic”) And their learning styles?

If we are addressing “autism” surely we should be looking at the bigger picture rather than tired and easily digested rhetoric such as “all autistic’s are logical, literal thinkers” or “all autistic’s have special interests” not taking into account the broader perspective on neurological and biological aspects, the social emotional aspects and very specific wants and needs of that person themselves and/or their families and loved ones.

An “Autistic Mind”? Or a “Human Mind? 

Last time I checked there is no such thing as a mind cannot have be clear cut as “autistic” and “non-autistic” many aspects to do with information processing can have an impact on presentation. Such as a person with social-emotional agnosia not being able to read body language, facial expression and/or tone of voice, aphasia and being able to express and/or retrieve words and apraxia with living in a body that doesn’t obey its commands of the “owner”.

Personality types in human beings regardless of autism effect the presentation of the person such as being solitary and a preference for being alone, idiosyncratic and not confirming to the cultural and social expectations and conscientious and wanting logic, linear thought and perfection to name but a few.

Balance

If we ditch the rhetoric, the cash-cows, the money makers, the politics and get to what is “real” then that is the greatest and most honest foundation of them all. True empowerment is knowing what something is and working from there not making things up to suit the make-shift package you want to “sell” to people.  I think there is nothing wrong with showing the example of just “getting on with one’s life” as the greatest one.

I am not famous, “special” or “unique” words like that scare me. It puts me on some invisible pedestal that quite rightly I don’t deserve nor want to be on. 😉

Paul Isaacs 2018


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Altered Developmental Trajectories In Autism Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Note this from a personal perspective reflecting on aspects of development

Donna Williams’ wrote a blog which I have included in mine about the connection between “autism and trauma” now these two things are not mutually exclusive. She was very much a person who thought outside of the box and did not her confine her views to rhetoric or fads making for refreshing and reflective reading.

Early Experience “Nature vs. Nurture” 

Many things part of my autism are to do with early birthing issues such as placental abruption, brain injury, c-section, circumcision due to phimosis in 1991 age 5 and ear infections which lead to grommets and adenoidectomy age 4 in 1990. Many of these factors had an impact on my developmental trajectory some of them are to do with altered states of development which then in turn create a person who nervous system reacts.

Premature 1

What “Makes Up” My Autism?

For me my autism is due to birthing complications placental abruption, prematurity hemiplegia, language processing disorder and visual perceptual disorders making up about 70% of my autism.

The 30% remaining is genetic components such as a family history of dyslexia, mood, anxiety disorders and OCD on my Mother and Father’s side.

Auto-immune disorders of various types are on my Father’s & Mother’s side. Mum had chronic childhood Ezchema, My Nan on my Father’s side had Non-Hodgekin Lymphoma and My Father Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia.

A Broader Perspective Of “Autism” 

Looking at the broader palette of what is “autism”? What if people are becoming progressively distant and/or scared of different “Roads To Rome” when it comes to the different factors that come with an “autistic package”. What if things that “look like autism” can actually be apart of what makes someone “non-autistic” and vice versa? Maybe we need stop finding the magic “bullet” for what autism “looks like” and what it is made up of and start looking a specific realities and all that is within them?

People Who Don’t Have Autism?

People who don’t have autism can have things that can be apart of person’s “autism package” to varying degrees – developmental delays, personality types, mental health, environment and learning styles can have an impact on anybody in the end.

Lets Stop Calling it ‘the autism’: Autism and Trauma – what’s the connection?

Donna Williams’ Blog

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Recent studies in reputable medical journals have linked Autism to seemingly farfetched things like being born to mothers with pre eclampsia, being born prematurely, being born to older fathers, being born to smokers, being born by cesarean, being circumcised under the age of 5.

And as an autism consultant since 1996 I would say that of over 1000 families I saw as a consultant, that a rather strikingly significant number of them claimed to notice the onset of their child’s autism in the week following the child’s first birthday party (being posed for photos, candles, cake, room full of visitors, clown etc). And then of course are the plethora of families who swear their child began developing autism anywhere from 24 hours to 3 months after heavy vaccination schedules. Could these seemingly unrelated things have anything in common? Could it even be there is a cascade effect where the child’s autism is present (subclinical) but not showing following a cesarean birth, then becomes progressively more obvious if the same child gets circumcised, has a heavy vaccination schedule and is then thrown a full on first birthday party? It may sound utterly whacky, but is it possible?

“Children can develop a kind of ̳hard-wired‘ autonomic nervous system response to trauma and its triggers due to the ongoing need to utilise the circuitry to promote adaptive defence strategies. Over time they decrease their capacity to access their social engagement system (since this has not been used successfully in great amounts), and as more and more of the world is perceived as unsafe, they come to rely on their defensive states to negotiate their environments, making social engagement very difficult.

Porges research has revealed that how our nervous system interacts with our environment depends on not just the absence of threat, but the absence of nervous system perceived threat. He has developed the term ‘neuroception‘ to describe our perception of safety not just consciously but also – and often exclusively – at a below cognitive level (Porges 1998, 2001, 2003). It is this neurological response of safety that promotes the ability to utilise our newer system and circuits, whilst conversely, the lack of safety promotes a return to using older circuits to mobilise or immobilize in the face of neurologically perceived danger.

When our nervous system detects safety our system adjusts and makes it possible to enjoy closeness without fear, and keeps us from entering defensive physiological states of mobilised hyper arousal and immobilized hypo arousal, whilst still enable the use of these circuits in safe ways.”

Chronic ear infections have been linked to PTSD so why shouldn’t Upper Respiratory Tract Disorders or gut disorders, even chronic severe constipation in children with immune and autonomic dysfunction equally result in such entrapment with pain from their bodies that some children might develop a neurological developmental response akin to PTSD?

In mild brain injury could the brain similarly interpret as trauma things like chronic sensory confusion/overload, extreme emotional dysregulation, the CNS disorientation from untreated food allergies and intolerances, the entrapment of being non verbal in a verbal world or having a body you can’t make work for you. And as one reached age 2-3 when functioning demands of the environment dramatically increase, could inability to organise one’s senses, emotions, communication, self help contribute to a trauma related cascade that progressively derails development accordingly?

What of the trauma potential to an infant of relentless torment from hyperacusis, or the whooshing sounds of Pulsatile Tinnitus, or severe Tourette’s, even relentless ear popping tics nobody can see, the repeated disorientation, unpredictability and loss of control of constant seizures?

If being born to a carer who is in the grip of post natal depression would predispose a child to not having established that initial bonding, would this leave such a child more predisposed to PTSD than one born to a healthy mother? And what of infants who fail to develop normally whose carer then goes through years of mourning the loss of the ‘normal’ child they had expected? Is this also experienced by the child in a similar way to being born to a carer with post natal depression? And what of the maternal separation of premature babies too small to be held by their mothers?

What of immune deficient or other unwell infants left in the care of hospitalswhere they experienced the absolute vulnerability of and utter foreignness of significant medicalisation in the hands of a range of strangers? With a 45% higher incidence of autism associated with circumcision before age 5, could this be traumatising for those children already genetically predisposed to trauma? Could this be extended to children handed over to doctors for heavy vaccination schedules without any later autism having anything directly to do with the vaccinations themselves?

And what of the trauma of a birthday party? We all have different personality traits. Babies too. Some of us are simply not wired for full on, in your face sociable parties when we are one year old. If our personality traits would later make us an attention seeking, self confident, adventurous party animal there’d be no foreseeable problem. But what if our nature was sensitive, solitary, vigilant, idiosyncratic…

It seems predisposition to PTSD is genetically predisposed. Would there then be children already more at risk from a progressive cascade effect of accumulated perceived traumas that would leave other children unaffected? If the children of older dads are more prone to mental illness would this include a higher predisposition to PTSD?

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a genetic collagen disorder with overlap with autism. Collagen is the stuff of connective tissue throughout the body, including the vascular system and the brain and is also responsible for immune regulation and brain connectivity but those with EDS also have autonomic dysfunctionassociated with sudden fluctuations in blood pressure (ie floppy veins) due to faulty collagen. These sudden fluctuations commonly get interpreted by the brain as panic attacks. So a child experiencing continual panic attacks caused by autonomic dysfunction would logically also be predisposed to developing chronic fight flight states and associated compulsive involuntary avoidance, diversion and retaliation responses.

Being born c-section leaves the child with lower levels of the calming hormone Oxytocin which is essential to having resistance to heightened threat and anxiety. We also all begin life with a reflex for crawling out of the womb. After using this infantile reflex it becomes neurologically inhibited which leaves us ready for the use of other reflex responses, each essential in the developmental process. Being born c-section leaves this infantile reflex uninhibited.

“Normal performance of primitive reflexes in newborns can be linked to a greater likelihood of having higher Apgar scores, higher birth weight, shorter hospitalization time after birth, and a better overall mental state”.

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_reflexes

What about if the mother experienced trauma during the pregnancy? If a mother was living in an abusive relationship would the unborn child be experiencing her own trauma as its own? Is the baby awash with stress hormones? Does the baby also feel this same level of threat that the mother is feeling?

Pre-eclampsia and other pregnancy and birth related emergencies have left mothers acutely anxious and sometimes traumatised and pre-eclampsia in particular has been recently shown to have another high association with autism . In response to this blog article I heard from a commenter who drew my attention to the recent links between Paracetamol and both pre-eclampsia and autism.
They wrote:

I would suggest that the missing link is not trauma but the use of paracetamol (acetaminophen, Tylenol). Rebordosa found that paracetamol use during pregnancy increases the risk of pre-eclampsia. Paracetamol is often used in conjunction with vaccines,ear infections and viruses. We have been circumcising for centuries but autism is a new and escalating phenomenon. So how could circumcision increase the risk of autism? What has changed about circumcision in recent times? The use of PARACETAMOL (acetaminophen, Tylenol) with the procedure to treat pain. This practice began in the mid 1990’s, with recommendations by WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It has been shown that infants have significant difficulties metabolizing paracetamol in the first days of life. Paracetamol is known to have a narrow threshold of toxicity under the best of circumstances.

Three studies investigating prenatal use of paracetamolhave found adverse neurodevelopment in the offspring- ADHD and autism phenotypes in 3 year olds. It is not such a stretch to think paracetamol given directly to the infant could also have deleterious effects. This study supports the paracetamol hypothesis set forth by Bauer and Kriebel and highly warrants further investigation.

Could it be that in some cases paracetemol (acetaminophen, Tylenol) derails neurodevelopment pre-nataly which in turn leaves the child neurologically less equipped to handle acute stress and so has an early trauma response to things someone else would not, then once an acute fight-flight states becomes a chronically triggered/regenerated pattern, that becomes the default social-emotional response to such a wide range of new experiences the person is then further developmentally derailed. Paracetemol is also given to babies following circumcision and after the MMR vaccination. Parents have systematically given Tylenol to their infants for teething, for nappy rash, even for trouble sleeping.

In adults, single doses above 10 grams or 200 mg/kg of bodyweight, whichever is lower, have a reasonable likelihood of causing toxicity.[4][5] Toxicity can also occur when multiple smaller doses within 24 hours exceed these levels.[5] In rare individuals, paracetamol toxicity can result from normal use.[11] This may be due to individual (“idiosyncratic”) differences in the expression and activity of certain enzymes in one of the metabolic pathways that handle paracetamol (see paracetamol’s metabolism).

US television adverts of this drug psychologically target carers to ‘care for their child’ by quickly reaching for the Tylenol. These advertisements do then rush through the disclaimer at the end, often so quickly it is hard to process and usually completely out of sync with the reassuring tones used in advertising the product moments before.

IF trauma is found to have the most significant impact on brain development, communication development, social and emotional development presenting as ‘autism’, then what is the future? Would it also mean that autism is both born and made? Would we have to accept that a more mildly autistic child could become progressively more autistic if progressively accumulating further retraumatisation through everything from a bad fitting form of intensive intervention to bullying at primary school, to actual abuse from a carer unequipped to healthily care for a challenged child?

Do we have then develop screening for genetic predisposition to PTSD before a child is put through the same approaches and treatments as those without such predispositions? Would the strategies used to turn around chronic fight-flightstates and involuntary diversion, avoidance and retaliation responses in Exposure Anxiety become the most important first interventions?

I could suggest a protocol something like this:

Possible protocol for turning around chronic fight flight states.

a) inform the carers/diagnosticians about the presentation features of ‘autistic post traumatic developmental disorder’ and that trauma and the sources of retraumatisation can have a range of quite unconventional causes.

b) where possible identify initial traumas in each case and ensure these are addressed

c) identify additional re-traumatisation triggers that keep this being reinforced

d) put in place a treatment plan to address any underlying gut/immune/metabolic disorders and associated pain, sensory perceptual disorders and associated sensory distress, communication disorders, movement disorders, chronic information overload as socially non invasively as is possible to stop feeding chronic fight-flight responses.

e) to bring in omega 3s as a natural mood leveller and L-Glutamine where suited to raise GABA in order to facilitate lower doses of mood levelling/anti anxiety medication necessary to give respite to an overreactive nervous system.

f) to start a program designed to raise Oxyitoxin levels to tame over active anxiety responses: start music, massage, body brushing, art and movement programs, animal therapy, singing, laughter yoga, non invasive touch, to help calm the nervous system, get dissociated people feeling safe back in their bodies.

g) to counsel and support families in retaining the approaches that will progressively turn around chronic fight-flight states and thereby facilitate freed up development of more adaptive information processing, communication, and interaction.

And finally what of identification with one’s autism? What if it turns out that we do in fact ‘all have a bit of autism’ and that traumatisation (and retraumatistion) makes the difference in how much we each end up with? Do all people with autism then have ‘autistic post-traumatisation developmental disorder’? A kind of ‘Traumatism’? And would they want treatment or be happy with how they adapted?

At the end of the day, stress may break some of us, but stress also makes us. Stress trains the brain, trains the body. The trick is to build that slowly, progressively, so it isn’t experienced as trauma followed by continual perceived retraumatisation:

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.
http://www.donnawilliams.net

I acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Owners of this country throughout Australia, and their connection to land and community.