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Autism from the inside


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Asperger’s Syndrome & Classic Autism? Or Left Brain, Right Brain Autism “Fruit Salads”?

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The late Polly Samuel’s (Donna Williams) through her career had pointed out that firstly autism was adjective a describer of an experience rather than a definer of a person, she also pointed out through her books and blogs that “autism” is different for each person a clustering and multifaceted condition made of different conditions in both neurology  and biology  and contributing psycho-social factors, identity, mental health and environmental factors

Asperger’s Syndrome – Left Brain Autism

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When noting and observing people with Asperger’s Syndrome the part of the brain which is being used to compensate for a disconnect right is the left, people with Asperger’s Syndrome have a condition called social emotional agnosia this means that the person cannot perceive facial expression, body language and tone of voice. Even thought sensory issues may present themselves it would to do with modulation and integration rather than sensory perceptual issues that effect different areas of the brain, faceblindness (prosopagnosia) has a high co-morbidity as well as dyspraxia, alexithymia and literal perception of language. So other words people with AS have to intellectualise in order to compensate for the disconnect in the right.

Characteristics of Right Hemisphere Syndrome: 

– Left visual neglect – an individual may neglect words on the left side of the page or not realize that there are objects on the left side 
– Difficulty with facial recognition 
– Poor awareness of deficits 
– Poor self-monitoring 
– Impulsive behavior
– Poor initiation and motivation 
– Disorientation 
– Impaired attention/memory 
– Difficulty with organization and reasoning/problem – solving 
– Difficulty with social aspects of language (e.g., poor turn taking skills, providing too much information) 
– Difficulty understanding humor 
– Difficulty with word retrieval 

© By Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP Monday, July 25, 2011

Classic Autism – Right Brain Autism

When looking at “classic” autism one makes the impression that the person has (and wrongly) a “lower functioning” variant of AS, this could not be further from the truth people with classic  autism tend to to have receptive and expressive aphasia, verbal agnosia, speech/oral apraxia, and a higher rate of visual perceptual disorders such as simultagnosia and semantic agnosia. However introspection is in tact and just look at the poetry and art.

What if my brain injury or stroke is on the LEFT SIDE of my brain?

Injury to the left side of the brain may result in right-sided weakness and the following communication problems:

  • Receptive Language: Problems with understanding spoken or written language (listening and reading)
  • Expressive Language: Problems with expressing spoken or written language
  • Apraxia of Speech: Problems with programming and coordinating the motor movements for speaking
  • Dysarthria: Aspects of the speech system is impacted, which may result in slurred speech or a change in how your voice sounds
  • Computation: Problems with number and math skills
  • Analyzing: Problems with solving complex problems

© 2016 CONSTANT THERAPY

 

Right Brain Left Brain Autism Fruit Salads Image 2017

Differences between Aspergers and Autism ‘fruit salads’?

 In one of my books, The Jumbled Jigsaw, I presented a range of conditions commonly collectively occurring in those with autism and Aspergers. I was asked about the differences between an Aspergers (AS) ‘fruit salad’ and an Autism ‘fruit salad’As an autism consultant since 1996 and having worked with over 1000 people diagnosed on the autism spectrum there are areas that overlap, areas where similar can easily be mistaken for same, and areas that are commonly quite different. Some with AS can present far more autistically in childhood but function very successfully in adulthood. Some with Autism can have abilities and tendencies commonly found in Aspies and some will grow up to function far more successfully than they could in childhood but, nevertheless, when together with adults with Aspergers they each notice that the differences may commonly outweigh the similarities. Generally the more common differences are:

ASPERGERS
originally called ‘Autistic Psychopathy‘(now outdated)
commonly not diagnosed until mid, even late childhood.
lesser degrees of gut, immune, metabolic disorders, epilepsy and genetic anomalies impacting health systems
dyspraxia
mood, anxiety, compulsive disorders commonly onset from late childhood/teens/early adulthood as a result of bullying, secondary to social skills problems, secondary to progressive self isolation and lack of interpersonal challenge/involvement/occupation.
scotopic sensitivity/light sensitivity more than simultagnosia
most have social emotional agnosia & around 30% have faceblindness but usually not due to simultagnosia
literal but not meaning deaf
social communication impairments, sometimes selective mutism secondary to Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD)
sensory hypersensitivities more than sensory perceptual disorders
higher IQ scores due to less impaired visual-verbal processing
tendency toward Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), Schizoid rather than Schizotypal Personality Disorder and commonly Dependent Personality Disorder to some level.
higher tendency to AvPD rather than Exposure Anxiety
Alexithymia is common
ADHD common co-occurance but may be less marked than in those with autism.

AUTISM
Once known as Childhood Psychosis (now outdated)
generally there is always some diagnosis before age 3 (those born before 1980 were still usually diagnosed before age 3, although commonly with now outdated terms like ‘psychotic children’, ‘disturbed’, ‘mentally retarded’, ‘brain damaged’.
higher degrees and severity of gut, immune, metabolic disorders, epilepsy and genetic anomalies impacting health systems
mood, anxiety, compulsive disorders commonly observed since infancy
commonly amazing balance but commonly hypotonia
simultagnosia/meaning blindness rather than just scotopic sensitivity
verbal agnosia/meaning deafness
verbal communication impairments (aphasia, oral dyspraxia, verbal agnosia and associated echolalia and commonly secondary Selective Mutism)
lower IQ scores associated with higher severity of LD/Dyslexia/agnosias
tendency toward OCD/Tourettes, also higher rate of Schizotypal PD, DPD is common and tends to be more severe
higher tendency to Exposure Anxiety more than AvPD
higher tendency toward dissociative states (dissociation, derealisation, depersonalisation)
poetry by those with autism as opposed to AS commonly indicates those with autism can have high levels of introspection, insight
ADHD extremely common co-occurrence

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

Reflective Conclusion

It is simple people need to start looking at the functioning of the brain and how these different systems work for different people. This will in turn create advocacy which is not only meaningful and beneficial but character building and the correct information will give a broader foundation and palette to work from. I have autism (as opposed to AS) not because I am just “saying it” but because of what part of my brain effected.

What I am not saying (and never will say) is that I am speaking for all that would be disservice to many peoples realities. I am fully aware that this may challenge people me saying there are differences however looking at the neurology behind it and Polly’s observations I think there is room for healthy discussion.

Paul Isaacs 2017

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“Autism” what does it mean?

Note this is froDad and I Dancingm a personal perspective

When I was diagnosed with autism in 2010 one of the first things that I was told is that was still a “person” even if I didn’t the mechanics and/or “pieces” of my autism that nevertheless was a sage piece of advice that has stayed with me on a personal and professional level.

“Autism” is different for each person so here is a breakdown of the “mechanics”

  • Emotional perception (alexithymia) problems with recognising and verbalising emotional states.
  • Visual perception (visual agnosias) problems with perceiving faces, objects, reading words, colour and “sorting out my visual field into a “whole”.
  • Language processing (receptive aphasia) problems with processing and interpreting “meaning” and “significance” from language.
  • Auditory processing (auditory agnosias) problems with organising the origins of sounds.
  • Body perception (body agnosias and hemiplegia) problems with processing and perception on the right side of my body which affects coordination, problems with recognising pain, hunger and thirst.
  • Body and Movement (visuospatial dysgnosia) left-right disorientation.
  • Light Sensitivity (sensory integration disorder and related learning difficulties) problems with light creating distortions as well as dyslexia and dyscalculia.
  • “self” and “other” processing simultaneous information which requires this can be difficult.
  • Mental health and personality disorders.

 

PERSONALITY TYPES

I have four main personality types which intermingle with each these are human in terms of presentation but will differ form person to person – human beings under stress may develop “disordered” versions of these types affecting social and personal perception, mood management and interpersonal relationships and friendships.

  1. Idiosyncratic
  2. Mercurial
  3. Self-Sacrificing
  4. Serious  

 

NOT RELATING TO “AUTISTIC IDENTITY/IDENTITY-FIRST LANGUAGE 

I do not see my whole being as “autism” nor define myself by it. I see it apart of me, in my case the pieces are emotional perception, visual perception, language perception, auditory perception,
body perception, light sensitivity, information processing and learning difficulties
 with associated mood disorders, exposure anxiety, somatisation disorder, dissociation and personality disorders but they are not a total nor finite definition of my being. I can only speak from my perspective and that is all.

I am “Paul” first with the all the positives and negatives that come with it the likes, dislikes, regrets, dreams and the sense of just “being”. I shall never adhere to the “club” there is to much militancy, over-investing and politics. I see myself as apart of the human race – no more, no less, no more worthy, no less worthy just a person like one of the billions of people on the planet everyone has a story to tell don’t they.  😉

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Hemiplegia & Autism

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RIGHT SIDE – (LEFT HEMISPHERE INJURY)                                           

HEMIPLEGIA DEFINITION 

Hemiplegia is caused by damage to the brain. The damage can occur before or during birth, which is called congenital hemiplegia. No one knows what causes the damage in these cases.

Hemiplegia can also be acquired. This is caused by damage to the brain, such as a stroke, in childhood.

Sometimes the condition will only become clear as the baby gets older, such as having trouble walking.

An injury to the right side of the brain will cause the left side of the body to be paralysed. An injury to the left side of the brain will cause the right side of the body to be paralysed.

The condition can affect any child, but it is slightly more common in premature babies. It is quite a common condition, affecting one in 1000 births.

LEFT HEMISPHERE BRAIN INJURY & RIGHT SIDE DISCONNECT

A Personal Account

As you can see from the picture above there are visible signs of hemplegia (due to difficult birthing, placental abruption and “silent” stroke within the womb) such as – notice how the mouth is lop-sided and has a stretched appearance as a smile (the side the that is “blind” is not matching) also the eyebrows are not matching either. As a child my Mum thought I was deaf and blind due to sensory perceptual and language processing issues the left side of brain is where language comes from (receptive and expressive) so I have an aphasia as well as visual perceptual disorders, motor cordination, under-processing on my blind side both visual (Homonymous hemianopsia) and motor perception (Hemispatial neglect).

WHAT HELPED?

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Rough & Tumble Play (as a child)
  • Painting
  • Drawing (sketches, doodles, drawing by route)
  • Practical Living Skills (cooking, cleaning etc)
  • Tinted Lenses

Paul Isaacs 2015


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Being Brain Damaged – Is Apart of my Autism Profile – A Word That Just “is”

Baby Fisted Hands

Baby picture – note fisted/clasped hands and pointed toes signs of brain injury

Note – This is from a personal perspective of how autism affects me and my profile

Brain Damage/Injury

Brain Damaged and/or brain injury is apart of the reason why I have autism and certain “pieces” of it would not have been there but this is due to circumstance and environment the difficult birth, the placental abruption and oxygen deprivation that caused and stoke, left-right disorientation, visual perceptual disorders, language processing disorder (aphasia) and issues with internalising and externalising language and other developmental aspects.

A Human-Being – Everyone is Equal 

I have no problem with seeing this a part of the issues I face nor do I have an issue with the terminology being used in the this world today words sometimes to have to be used as marker and my case this is maker of a clustering of symptoms that I have as a result of brain injury – as I have stated in the title it just “is” and I am fine with this it doesn’t make me feel any more nor any less. I am “Paul” first (and to be honest always will be) everything else pales in the background of significance.

I have been dealt a set cards and I am going to use them to the best of my abilities. I am not a super-human, I am not the next generation of humanity, nor a super-being, I am not technical, logical or literal or “intellectual”. I am afraid I am just a person.

Autism is Person Centred – It isn’t the Complete Definition of the the Person

I would however I say that I am creative (like art, poetry, wordplay, soundplay, textures, patterns, colours and fashion) and idiosyncratic (I play to the own beat) , mercurial (I listen to my emotions) and solitary (I like moments of my own company)   – all the other things are redundant to me in the bigger picture they apart  of me they aren’t me. I am just a person living life and that is really all. People can play with words all they want but sometimes it is better to get real if not for your sake then for others.

Paul Isaacs 2015


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The Root/Trajectory Of Autism Is A Diverse “Fruit Salad”

Brain Lobe 2Right hemisphere Functions

  • numerical computation (exact calculation, numerical comparison, estimation)
  • language: intonation/accentuation, prosody, pragmatic, contextual

OVERVIEW 

If some one has an agnosia (perceptual loss) on this side of the brain this is called Social-Emotional Agnosia (not reading “facial expressions”, tone of and being literal) this tends to fit the profile with people with Asperger’s Syndrome. One is using the the left side of the brain (logic, literal thinking to get meaning).

So the Brain is Using The Left Hemisphere To Decode Information Because Of The Neglect.

RIGHT HEMISPHERE SYNDROME

Left hemisphere Functions

  • numerical computation (exact calculation, numerical comparison, estimation)
  • left hemisphere only: direct fact retrieval
  • language: grammar/vocabulary, literal

BrocasAreaSmallOVERVIEW

If someone has a agnosia (perceptual loss) on this side they may have an aphasia (language processing disorder) and process before typical interpretation (even literal) information so they loss the words (they become sounds), and they may have visual agnosias (face blindness, meaning blindness, object blindness) so they will not pick up body language this way and may rely on overt gesture and overt tone to get  “meaning” (using the right side of the brain to compensate for the left). less literal and less logical in their processing this could be someone with Autism.

So The Brain Is Using The Right Hemisphere To Decode Information Because Of The Neglect.

LEFT HEMISPHERE SYNDROME

VISUAL AGNOSIAS

EARLY BRAIN INJURY ARTICLE 

This could apply to people on the spectrum who have had and recognise brain injury as apart of their autism profile and how they have developed in many areas of functioning. From a personal perspective this article is very informative.

As a person who has left hemisphere brain injury (as apart of my autism), language processing disorder (aphasia) and visual agnosia this is I feel a step in the right direction.

Other Trajectories that Affect Development 

Paul… for some its brain injury… for some its immune dysfunction… for some its a neuronal migration disorder… for some its being prem… for some its hypo-connectivity… for some its hyper-connectivity.”

Brain Injury

Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

Neuronal Migration Disorder

Premature Syndrome 

Hypo connectivity Syndrome 

Hyper connectivity Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Prenatal Smoking

Placental Abruption (Lack of Oxygen)

Vacuum-Assisted Delivery 

Toxins

Genetics 

and many more

Donna Williams

Autism & It’s Trajectories Are Not “One Thing” They Are A “Fruit Salad” Unique In Origin 

Other diverse factors exist in how a person is on the autism spectrum and my own are as diverse and person-centered as another person’s trajectory. It has it’s own “Fruit Salad”.

Donna points out it isn’t just one defining factor but many many different ones and it’s important to not only acknowledge this but to also understand it is a reality for someone too and factors they bring with them. There could be a whole mixture of different factors that contribute to someone being on the autism spectrum.

In other words not only is “autism” not one thing but also the trajectory defining origins/factors aren’t one thing thing either.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AUTISM & ASPERGER’S SYNDROME – DONNA WILLIAMS’ BLOG

WHAT IS AUTISM? – DONNA WILLIAMS’ BLOG

Paul Isaacs 2014


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Living In Half A World – Hemispatial Neglect In The Context Of Autism

Note this is from a personal perspective of having this clustering syndrome 

It was interesting looking at a video I was presenting at an Tony AttwoodAutism Oxford UK earlier this year being “blind” to my right side is certainly an odd/interesting life. 🙂

Definition of Hemispatial Neglect 

Hemispatial neglect, also called hemiagnosia, hemineglect, unilateral neglect, spatial neglect, contralateral neglect,unilateral visual inattentionhemi-inattention, neglect syndrome or contralateral hemispatialagnosia is a neuropsychological condition in which, after damage to one hemisphere of the brain is sustained, a deficit in attention to and awareness of one side of space is observed. It is defined by the inability of a person to process and perceive stimuli on one side of the body or environment that is not due to a lack of sensation. Hemispatial neglect is very commonly contralateral to the damaged hemisphere, but instances of ipsilesional neglect (on the same side as the lesion) have been reported.

Physical Observations

10338674_881821881831690_7870309102355592004_o (1)

The factors that can be picked up is when I speak the right side of my mouth doesn’t rise and fall (giving it a crooked appearance) this also can happen when I smile as well as the eyebrow on the right side not rising and muscles looking lax and frozen.

If look at the picture to your left (left and right are reversed) you can see the difference in brain activity.

Note – the mouth and eyebrow on the side I am “connected with”

Left Hemisphere Brain Injury

Part of my Autism Fruit Salad is brain injury this was no doubt in the womb and compacted by complications such as fetal distress, silent stroke, cerebral hypoxia and placental abruption this would also explain the fact that I am blind to the the right side of my body this also includes

What has helped?

  • Cycling and Riding Bicycles
  • Walking on Different Terrains
  • Swimming
  • Drawing & Creative Activities
  • Hand Writing
  • Tinted Lenses
  • Positive Attitude

Conclusion

Integration of the the neglected hemisphere could certainly be a start and could help not only with learning and experiencing new skills but also assist in good mental health also. (of course strategies will be very much person-centred).

Paul Isaacs 2014