Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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A Humanistic Psychological Approach To Autism

maslow's hierarchy of needs five stage pyramide

 

Humanistic, humanism and humanist are terms in psychology relating to an approach which studies the whole person, and the uniqueness of each individual.  Essentially, these terms refer the same approach in psychology.

Humanism is a psychological perspective that emphasizes the study of the whole person. Humanistic psychologists look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing the behaving.

McLeod, S. A. (2015). Humanism. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/humanistic.html

Looking at whole person means you look at every aspect of the person and how what is going on lets look at this in the context of autism

  • The Environment (social connections, relationships, friendships)
  • Personality (development of personality, traits, types and “disordered extremes” which also connects with communication styles, wants, needs, desires, aspirations etc)
  • Education (types of learning, style of learning, solitary, social, mixed)
  • Information processing (delayed, mixed, information overload)
  • Language processing (literal, aphasia, semantic pragmatic disorder)
  • Sensory integration (over or under processing/integration of sensory input)
  • Sensory perceptional (face-blindness, meaning blindness, object blind and other associated perceptual disorders) 
  • Emotional regulation and perception
  • Mental Health (mood disorders, attachment disorders, dissociative disorders, impulse control disorders, psychosis)
  • Identity (male, female, non-binary, hertrosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual etc) 
  • Co-dependency (dependant personality, passive-aggressive personality and attachment) 
  • Dietary Disabilities (food intolerances, food allergies, chemical imbalances)  
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Auto-immune disorders
  • Seizure Disorders

Holistic Psychology

Holism refers to any approach that emphasizes the whole rather than their constituent parts. In other words ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. Qualitative methods of the humanistic approach reflect a holistic position. Social psychology also takes a holistic view.

A holistic approach therefore suggests that there are different levels of explanation and that at each level there are “emergent properties” that cannot be reduced to the one below.

Reductionist explanations, which might work in some circumstances, are considered inappropriate to the study of human subjectivity because here the emergent property that we have to take account of is that of the “whole person”.  Otherwise it makes no sense to try to understand the meaning of anything that anybody might do.

McLeod, S. A. (2008). Reductionism and Holism. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/reductionism-holism.html

I would say with working in the autism field for over seven years you must look at all the factors and how the interact with EACH OTHER such as personality development for example will dictate how  people react and however the underpinnings are to do with biological, psychological and environmental factors.

Listening, Empathy and Autonomy

Self-worth, self-esteem, self-perception are to do with how we feel about ourselves in relation to others and how other’s feel in relation to you here are simple aspects of that.

congruence

  • Trust (Building stable, balanced and honest friendships and/or relationships)
  • Empathy (Showing genuine kindness, assertion and care which is balanced, contextual and meaningful)
  • Listening (Acknowledging the person as a human being first through listening to their wants, needs, desires and aspirations) 
  • Being Non-authoritarian and egalitarian (Show through example, intention and meaning that being equal is the standard stetter nothing more or less)
  • Allow for growth and developmental, psychological and environmental changes  (Change is good it can be progressive, assertive, connective, inspiring and fun)
  • Everybody is a person (Be non-judgmental, objective and constructive the key for allowing growth is to see the person first) 

 

Fruit Salad 2017

 

What makes each person with autism so different from each other?  How do you learn to ‘speak autistic’?  What are the low cost and no cost strategies to help people with autism manage their own particular collection of challenges?

Published in 2005, The Jumbled Jigsaw is an easy to read, ‘quick dip’ self help manual on the ‘Fruit Salad’ model of and approach to the navigation and management of autism.  It exposes autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) not as single entities but as a combination of a whole range of often untreated, sometimes easily treatable, underlying conditions. Exploring everything from mood, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and tic disorders to information processing and sensory perceptual difficulties, including dependency issues, identity problems and much more, it demonstrates how a number of such conditions can combine to form a ‘cluster condition’ and underpin the label ‘autism spectrum disorder.  Most importantly it gives case study examples and clear strategies for management of each piece of autism spectrum ‘fruit salad’.

Donna Williams 2005

My Conclusion is that looking at the “bigger picture”, “the whole person” and the interacting components form an “inside-out” perspective means that you can potentially enrich and EMPOWER people live giving the them the building blocks to make choices, self-assertion, independence and self-worth.

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Autism -The Three Stages of Empowerment

Autism “Fruit Salads”(© Donna Williams 1995/2005/2014)

This is bottom to top analogy which implements all aspects of what could be in a person’s “autism fruit salad” to start off with the foundation is to understand the mechanics of what is within a person’s “autisms” (rather than autism). By looking at this we can separate it into these aspects.

  • Communication profile
  • Social-emotional profile
  • Emotional processing profile
  • Sensory Integration profile
  • Sensory Perceptual profile
  • Receptive Language profile
  • Expressive Language profile
  • Motor-coordination profile
  • Dietary profile
  • Auto-immune disorders profile
  • Learning styles profile
  • Personality types profile
  • Identity profile
  • Co-conditions profile

Interventions

These will be tailored to the specific needs of person’s profile/profiles looking holistically as well as professional for empowerment, guidance, social support, emotional support and/or any aspect of the person “autisms” that is within the mix. For example you could have someone who has exposure anxiety and dislikes direct confrontation and prefers an indirectly confrontational approach, is profoundly meaning deaf and aphasic. Think how you would build up that person’s profile and empower them?

An example

  • Gestural language
  • Aiding Mentalising by building up meaning and association
  • Being a follower not a leader or an expectant doer
  • Leave them wanting more and giving positive affirmations

Solutions

They will come in many forms as they marriage of each step relies on the one previous with regards to the “final step” this will be looking at what is working, aiding and empowering the person, their families, guardians etc. This could be put in an report or functional document for educational and professional services to have or it could be used as an information pack for friends and family the choice is yours.

Remember autism is not ONE THING it is a CLUSTERING of pre-existing conditions within one PERSON and that is the thing to realise that one person’s reality does not mean that is representational of all because that would mean a lot voices and realities would be left unheard it is time to change the landscape and starts with being open minded.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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I am not a “Label” I am A Human Being First

Baby Pictures High ChairI don’t know about you but when I was born I was born a person, lets ditch the rhetorics and start listening to other peoples realities and opinions (regardless of were they come from) and accept that disagreement will come but everybody as their own things to say. Lets not be restricted by a “box” or the what is “in crowd” I thank the people who have said their realities with conviction, honesty, rawness and carrying on their lives as best they can be the example and don’t just claim it. I am not “autism” if doesn’t “define” my being it rides along life it not a “definition of my life”. I acknowledge those on  and off the spectrum who are honest about the realities lets start listening and going from there keep going even if you don’t do not feel listened to, no popular do not worry at the very least (or most you have been true you and have not be influenced by the dominant wave.) 

Fanciful fable a baby in a cradle
New life and new wonders able
A hand from “in crowd” does beckon
I walk in feel more lonely I reckon

I’m not those things you said “we” all are
I am not a part of a redundant single star
You say things as fact, straight lines so subjective
When all I want to be is “me” more reflective

A puppet on a string I cut them off and look around
The strings a still attached with words and the same sound
I got back to the “real world” so eagerly with open arms
It may not be perfect but honesty has its ethereal charms

I am part of the humanity no label defines me I shall deface
Of flesh and blood and gleefully I move from place to place
The words are rubbed away sounding through the sky
I now what I am from life to death a smile and a sigh

Paul Isaacs 2016


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“Autism” Is Not A Single Thing – So Why Is It Still Being Presented As That?

20160730_121048DIFFERENT PRESENTATIONS 

No one “owns” Autism that includes me, you the person next door- I think it is important to know what “autism” and “asperger’s” in terms of profiles are the presentations that come with them.

POSSIBILITIES AND OPENNESS  

What are the components? (information processing, environment, mental health, personality, identity, learning types) By looking at these pieces you can understand what to do (or not to do) there are many different paths so by being open to possibilities.

GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN

I know my views aren’t popular for one because they go against the status quo of “neurodiversity” that is fine.

LOOKING BEYOND THE RHETORICS

Has anybody wondered what autism really is? Has anybody can beyond the passe rhetorics, memes or generalised views to know how to understand it? To empower  people with autism, their parents and professionals etc?

LOOKING DEEPER MEANS LOOKING AT WHAT IS THERE

Isn’t it time to know what makes up a person on the autism spectrum?  Dig deeper? I can tell you this is what my autism is made up of –

  • brain injury
  • hemiplegia
  • developmental delay
  • speech and language delay
  • language disorders
  • tic disorders
  • mutism
  • related anxiety disorders
  • personality disorders
  • learning difficulties etc.

This took six years of research and self-reflection to get to this point.

 I say to people reading this do not remember me for saying but remember the template that is being presented and what you can relate to and do not relate to

LETS THINK ABOUT IT 

For a so called “accepting autism community” I have seen plenty of internal upset, bullying, gas-lighting, trolling,  arguing, tears and upset to last a life time. Autism has created a “culture” around itself and personally I have seen nothing healthy come out of it. I came into this in 2010 with my parents we quickly got out of it my parents still don’t “get it” the militancy by people on and off the autism spectrum and I have recently been reminded of why I stay clear of it.

The people and parents who seen themselves as human beings first  (not defining by their “autism”), who are living their lives not consumed by labels and redundant definitions are the ones who are great examples.

This isn’t a game and when you are toying with people’s feelings directed at people who dare to above the parapet a speak from the heart and not tow the line Is this fair? I am all for healthy disagreement lets start listening.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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“Autism” A Wheel Within A Wheel (and so forth)

Seeing that “autism” has never been one thing,  I wonder if there will be a time in the future when autism will be seen as an adjective? When autism will been seen as plural (multi-dimensional)? Rather than singular definition (concrete/unmoveable)?

This would surely open up to a host of individuals with very different needs that could be considered, ventured and empowered.

This would be for all people on the spectrum who’s specfic realties and specific perspectives will quite rightly be acknowledged as their own?

Paul Isaacs 2016


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The “Autistic Identity” Phenomena

When I was diagnosed was autism in 2010 – I wasn’t aware of such an “identity” because to honest I was never in that “world” at all. I often wonder that despite the obvious difficulties I had during my development and environment the one thing that I had going for me was the simple “human-hood” which was conveyed by the my parents as a way of connecting with me.

I don’t consider this perception from my parents to be “unique”, “specialised” or “autistic-specific” in its intentions nor in its thinking at the time (although it could have well be seen as that on reflection).

I wasn’t born with a “label”

In many of my blogs I have spoken about the balance of being seen as “human”, “person” and “being” first and as I have been in this “world” for over five years. I have seen the firm importance of seeing people as “people”, by not defining their whole “soul”, “identity”, “being” by their label (or labels) nor having it being overtly defined for them so there is nothing else left.

“Labels” are an adjective not an overall definition

If everybody was to be defined by solely by a “label” wouldn’t it be restrictive, suffocating and narrowing your bandwidth of experiences, perceptions, thoughts and feelings?

Not towing line meant I could see “myself”

I am glad that I haven’t towed the line into the realms of stereotypes, group think, confirmation bias and all the militancy that goes with it. I am glad that my parents after I was diagnosed said that I am still “Paul” regardless. I am glad that I see the importance of seeing somone as a person first. I am glad that I have other interests that take up my time productively such as drawing, poetry, walks in the countryside and meeting up with friends.

People are people regardless

I am free to think and feel and have a more refined outlook that I am firstly and thankfully not being the centre of the universe, not the big answer all  to the questions, not speaking for “all” (because no one can) and have a egalitarian view that all people are of equal worth in this world no more and certainly no less.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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When A Puppet Is On A String It’s Time To Cut It

Three Faces“Autism” has politics too

“Autism” I have wrote many blogs about the the differing presentations, the fact that it is isn’t one thing a  singular syndrome that features the same static 2 dimensional traits that is certainly what it is not.

Confusion because of the “status quo?”

When stereotypes emerge people can feel that their voices, perspectives and realities may well be a bone of contention for the “status quo” model.

Having that readily supplied to them they may be confused, bewildered, angry, upset, saddened that that what they are hearing doesn’t relate to them, their child, friend or family member because the “status quo” supplies them with “the model”, “the framework”, “the thing” that autism is (of course it isn’t but the is the supply).

What is “in” today will be “out” tomorrow

If you have felt any of these theses things I bring a hopeful and proactive realisation let it go, let it go of the stereotypes, let it go of the the generic models around autism, let it go of the popular fads – go with what is right, what is true and what what is really for you.

Paul Isaacs 2016