Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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I Am Glad I Got Bullied And Here’s Why

Me Holding Something 1

Note this is from a personal perspective 

I was speaking with two friends this evening and the subject of school-life came up it was an interesting exercise in subjectivity, objectivity and personal experiences shaping people’s lives but not defining them as we all move on.

My friend respectfully and realistically pointed out the fact that when students are at school (regardless of disability or otherwise) they are on their own unique journeys and difficulties can arise from all sorts of areas which have an impact of self-esteem, confidence and the ability to thrive on a functional level.

Enviroment vs. Social-Emotional Development

I was diagnosed late after my mainstream education had finished the best foundation for “social” I was given was through my tenure in education. It gave me the ability to cope with stressful situations, integrate and overall gave me the invaluable skills of living a “human life” rather than a “autistic life”. I was around people and my disability was not being flag waved to the point where I lost myself and was only defined by one single factor.

Is Bullying/Psychopathy Normal in Educational Settings?

I was surrounded by people who used interpretive speech. I still find this mode of speaking difficult and it is something I have aqquired a long the way in the context of school yes that was true. I cannot deny the verbal and at times physical abuse I encountered at school by other students on a daily basis as ‘normal‘ as their conscious psychothapy and narcissism was allowed run free regardless of the emotional damage that ensued.

Yes it is subjective and many of the students that bullied were emotionally insucure however being so doesn’t give you a free ticket to do it to others, however they did. I see this as a learning curve and lessons in life and I am thankful to learn from the shit and make sculptures out of it. 🙂

They may have changed which is great, found families, bared children etc I wish them well on their journeys.

Human Journeys

We (as people) are all on our journeys and bullying and victimisation was part of my experience however many others have been in the similar situations and I refuse to define my present situation by the past experiences. I am indifferent and objective about my past it happened and I am done with the “what could have beens” and “what ifs” I am thankful for my overall experience I would not have had it any other way.

I consider my reality no better or worse than any others, I don’t consider myself “special”, “better” and/or “superior” to anyone else. Affirmation has to be contextual and real not dished out like candy with hollow self-praise. There are too many people in the western world who just want their cake and to eat it all if only it was to shared out a bit more so other people’s realities could be shared and equally acknowledged with the sub-test of mine is better/worse than yours.

Tides of Glory 

I strayed and came about

Eager to scream and longing to shout

I have travelled a life which has been painted

I refuse to see my deepest memories as tainted

Come up and down and my thoughts fleeting around

I pick my body and ground my mind with the comfort of sound

A cloud full memories embraced and feetful of walking to be chased

A human being am I no better nor worse living a madless time at even pace

Paul Isaacs 2017

 

 

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Autism, Words, Aphasia, Body & Visual Agnosias

Sound Asleep

Note this is from a personal perspective

Aphasia and Words

Words in my mind felt ethereal, transient and distant the internal garbel of sounds, pitches, tones, hums and inflection as if my unconscious mind was trying so desperately to find the words, string the sentences anew to project and receive in “real-time” on some level I believe in my later years that is what I was trying to do. The jumble of a “salad of letters” in my mind could be found and then lost in equal measure.

Oral Apraxia and Word Finding and Formation

The functional element of my speech was delayed in both speech and language the aphasia was both receptive and expressive in nature with a high instance of anomia (word finding). The other element is oral apraxia which rendered me unable to form the words I would find leaving me disconnected and frustrated.

Receptive Aphasia, Body Agnosia & Associated Visual Agnosias

The receptive element of speech for example someone talking to me was the same external garbel as was in my mind a silent war between expresser and receiver trying to find clarity amongst the hidden mist of miscommunication.  The inability to perceive my own body meant a level of internal groundedness was  not their and context was missed time and time again. I relied on the touch, taste, smell, texture these feelings gave me a context to grab onto and create an association it is no surprise to me that my Mum through I was deaf and blind because that is exactly how I was behaving my language processing and sensory perceptual systems (visual agnosias) were so scrambled the credible and most importantly meaningful option was to “feel to think”, “feel to relate”, “feel to connect”, “feel to be”, “feel to extract” and the list goes on.

Creating My Own Language

Before interpretative language sets one could be creating their own language through association, things they have heard and seen on the television, jingles on the radio or other stands of information that bears relevance to an event and/or emotional meaningful response. In my case this was form of communication which looked meaningLESS to the listener but was meaningFUL to me as the expresser.

Memory and Internal Mentalising 

A memory with no associative images for words and no words for images meant my style of learning and integrating was not logical in nature nor literal this is secondary reason why my language and visual-verbal processing was delayed and slower, however as the years progressed I was building up a slow repertoire to words and my functional speech came around 7/8 years old this was expressively and developmentally in terms of content and formation of a 3 year old this new “voice” at times rendered me equally mute and frustrated.

Conclusion

Looking at the broader instance of different aspects that make up language processing difficulties in autism one needs to look at what is making the difficulties piece by piece, how that has an impact on the person and then work on positive and empowering and meaningful interventions.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Living With Anomic Aphasia In The Context of Autism

paul-amber-2002-3Note that this is from a personal perspective 

Speaking to a speech and language therapist yesterday it got me thinking about my autism trajectory and what residual and very apparent markers of disability are still present and more importantly how they manifest and present themselves.

LOOKING BACK 

As a child it took me a long to time to speak and use language in a functional way this meant that both receptive and expressive language was hard to filter and decode into something that was connecting and meaningful.

LEFT HEMISPHERE & LANGUAGE

As I have stated in previous blogs part of my development was due to brain injury to the left hemisphere this part of brain is were human language is formed (although other aspects of the brain will connect with this).

THE PRESENTATION NOW 1  – VERBAL LANGUAGE 

As an adult  the type of a aphasia  (receptive and expressive) as apart of my autism would be considered residual in presentation and it effects me with I tired my words get stuck like a “blockage” and I have to consciously “find” the words which seem almost on “there” but disappear leaving me to have longer pauses or repeat “umm” for example.

THE PRESENTATION NOW 2  – VISUAL PERCEPTUAL DISORDERS & MENTALISING

Lacking visual internalisation means that I don not have a “meta-reality” which involves complex pictural referencing in other words I do not “store visual information in a coherent way” meaning that retrieval and word association when tired can be slowed down.

Having simultagnosia means I see things in pieces that has an effect on how I internalise visual information and mentalising (organising) and need to focus on movement, pattern and touch to externally map-out something rather than internally.

Anomic aphasia (also known as dysnomia, nominal aphasia, and amnesic aphasia) is a mild, fluent type of aphasia where an individual has word retrieval failures and cannot express the words they want to say (particularly nouns and verbs).[1] Anomia is a deficit of expressive language. The most pervasive deficit in the aphasias is anomia. Some level of anomia is seen in all of the aphasias.[2] Individuals with aphasia who display anomia can often describe an object in detail and maybe even use hand gestures to demonstrate how the object is used but cannot find the appropriate word to name the object. [3]

CONCLUSION THE PRESENTATION NOW 3  – ANOMIA (WORD FINDING)

It is completely understandable that not having an visual memory and having a long developmental history of language associated issues that word finding at times for me can be difficult but one much use what they have and accept what is going on. I’m glad I am in a position to understand what is going on and I hope this blog helps others who can relate to this. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Autism, Language Processing, Understanding, Expression, Retrieval & Echolalia

Bubbles

Finding words can be difficult in my younger years I had trouble with many aspects of language and what is was meant for – this can be seen in my early developmental history which shows that I had problems with both language processing, use of and retrieval.

Body and Brain

The body and brain are connected so if the “words” I found where gone this could well be to do with the brain and the body not “connecting” at the right time of expression this meant that either I would not speak at all (because of the movement of my tongue, jaw and mouth) or the words “disappeared” rendering me to say “rubbish” in the place of something which was meaningful to the person and/or peoples in questions.

The “Language Bottleneck”

As I got older developmentally there were still delays in speech input and output this meant that by the time I was 7/8 years old language output was that of a 3 three old both in content, trajectory and conversation there would also be times of stiltedness and apparent awkwardness in expression and of course frustration that the “blah” was not making sense and that sometimes my “blah” that came out it was like two ships in the night looking for each other but completely missing each other in terms of understanding, this was not either parties fault but the nature of the “language bottleneck” which meant I had many words “stored” and ready to say but when it come to expression could not get them out in their enteritis  the bottle neck could also be put into reverse when people “spoke” to me it was only a small bandwidth in which I could retrieve meaning and when I did that meant the process of expression had to start all over again.

Pronouns “Us”, “We”, “You”, “Me”

Even at nearly thirty I can get stuck on what these mean in time and context which they are meant I have problems with even the most basic an obvious tasks such as “can you put the oven on” this is being directed at me but I not processing the significance of what that means to me for a few seconds my Mum got my attention by saying “Paul can you put the oven on” this had a level of significance, yesterday evening I was watching a film my Mum said “I think she was dreaming” – I turned to Mum and said “who and what” (confusing the matters farther) she then directed me to the film I was watching the character in question.

Meaning Deafness

When my language systems “shutdown” I words begin to drop so a sentence could look like this “…….could………outside…………sho………an……….pi……..eys………….plea……….” this could go into sounds that means the words have reverted back developmentally to their place of origin before “meaning and contextual language was given” – when this happens I can echo surface information back at the person so that gives the illusion of “self” and “other” processing if you where to fine tune your observations you would realise at this point that is not happening and it reverts back to the “bottleneck”scenerio above.

Contextualisation

Helping me contextualise comes in

  1. Getting my attention (you are speaking to ME)
  2. Structure, content, context
  3. Gesture, tone (painting a picture)
  4. Objects of reference (mentalising)

 

Paul Isaacs 2016


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My Language Development – Receptive & Expressive Aphasia & Visual Agnosias

IMAG0083Note this is from a personal perspective

Overview 

Yesterday I presented a speech on my life with autism afterwards I had an interesting conversation with a lady who specialises in aphasia and language development so I thought I would go through my language trajectory.

Speech & Language Delay

I had both delays in speech and language acquisition this means that I was missing milestones on both these areas of language development – this was noted by my parents during those early years of development and I didn’t a level of functionality to my speech until late infancy.

Receptive Aphasia

This meant the the language of “the world around me” was a garbled tumbling mess that was feel of noises, inflections but not “meaning” in the typical sense at times I would be interested in these “noises” perplexed, intrigued even but it was very much a swirling bottle neck with the words being at the deepest part of ocean within the sea-back grasping yet not.

Expressive Aphasia

When expressive language did present itself it was not at the level firstly of my chronological  age and secondly what coming did not reflect what I wanted to say to people around me so there was quite rightfully and frustration there as words would “drop” both receptively and expressibly sentence construction, “word-finding” and neologisms which came in the form of echolalia was present and having created my “own language” (pattern, them and feel) before typical  interpretative language and unpicking that was difficult. As I have said I had before I had “words” within my head but grasping them, finding them and using them was being “blocked” by other factors.

Conclusion

Looking at my overall trajectory would say that I had global anomic aphasia coupled with additional difficulties created by the visual perceptual disorders and oral apraxia.

OVERVIEW OF APHASIAS 

Visual Agnosias, Simultagnosia & Semantic Agnosia – Related to Anomia

The word finding aspects I can split into two aspects firstly the nature of aphasia itself and not being able to use word retrieval and secondly the perceptual disorders (visual fragmentation, visual semantic problems) and not having “visuals” for words meant that making tangible and “concrete” associations was difficult.

I had to use a lot of tactile-associative strategies sniffing, rubbing, mouthing and sculpting my “external reality” in order to get a aspect of meaning I still very much “live in a world” before the literal so significance and bridging the gaps are important to me.

This meant that perceiving objects, people, faces was one aspect verbally being able to name them was another aspect of language which I found difficult.

Oral Apraxia 

I had this which layered the impact of speech production the use of my tongue, mouth, jaw and having a level of “disconnect” between the “words”, the “mind” and “body” not acting as team and going on there own path this caused difficulties in expression this carried on for many years and was notable present in observations of me at a CAMHS assessment in 1996 for at that time clinical depression.

Residual Issues Still Present? 

I would say the are in particular when I am tired this is something I have become more aware of as I have researched and got older so this means that sometimes my expressive speech can become laboured, slow and I can miss out words in sentences and struggle with “word-finding” etc. What helps me is music, gesture, tone, placement, telegraphic language and objects of reference to gain the firstly and foundation and then secondly meaningful association. However as always I continue to live life, experience life and enjoy life as much as possible with new experiences, friends and creativity 😉

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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Autism & What About Humanity? And Connectivity?

Family Christmas Early 90s

Dad, Gramp & Me Just “Being”

Autism it just “is” when I go out in the world the biggest thing for me is to be apart of humanity, people, beings – so when I go down the street what do you “see” and what do.

I “see” – “Autism” is a name for a clustering of pre-existing conditions which I have which for me are (PERCEPTUAL, LANGUAGE EXPRESSION, AUDITORY, LANGUAGE RECEPTION, BRAIN INJURY, MOVEMENT, COGNITION) this is PERSONAL to me but they affect how I process things/understand things – they do not define my TOTALITY nor are they “ME” I am artistic, idiosyncratic, emotive, emotional, creative, solitary, serious, funny, silly etc those things are what is called shared things with other people (regardless of any disability or not).

Autism is something I am neither proud or nor ashamed of it just “is” I was born a person so I would rather people see me as a person (as everyone else should be) not to be swept up by stereotypes, or militancy or “them” and “us” perceptions, but be seen as person. I am not a an “object” to be observed nor am I a “genius” to be revered – so if we look at being balanced about things then we open up more doors then close them. I am no “better” nor “worse”. We (as human beings) are all equal. 

Paul Isaacs 2015