Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Autism? I Am Neither Proud Of Have Shame – What I Aim For Is Balance

When I was diagnosed in 2010, my parents wisely said to me that I am still “Paul” (whatever that entailed at that point in time).

Not everything about someone is “Autistic” and I am no exception to this rule in the wider scheme of things.

I respectfully do not see autism as identity because that is something that has consciously created, made and I feel we must be more lateral about what autism means for people beyond our own experiences.

Personality types that are within me that could present more AUT-istic are the fact that I am solitary, serious and idiosyncratic however people internally are not straight lines as I am mercurial and self-sacrificing.

Extend this to educational systems, employment services hospitals and beyond what are people trying to say about autism? If we share objectivity then maybe fertile ground can be sown for other experiences too.

As an infant I was functionally non-verbal, I was meaning deaf, blind, context blind, body disconnected, pain dead and lived primarily in the system of sensing. What I valued was that my parents saw me as a person first regardless and that has stayed with me well into adulthood.

I value my personhood it keeps me grounded, objective and sane in many ways. I am made up of many things autism is a part of the mix not the centre of because no one person in the world is one word.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Polly – A Life Beyond Labels

Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) was a remarkable, empathic and humble person that I have had the fortune to know, diagnosed with childhood psychosis in 1965 at age 2, a victim of poverty, trauma, physical and sexual abuse in her infancy and adulthood.

She lived with visual perceptual disorders, verbal agnosias, body agnosias, auto-immune challenges, elhers danlos syndrome and dissociative identity disorder.

In later life she was diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly passed away in 2017.

Her work has helped, aided and empowered many people over the years of her conferences, lectures and books both autobiographical and informational in content throughout the early days of autism advocacy.

Polly was highly intuitive, person centred and accommodating to people’s needs refusing to adhere to the “identity” politics (seeing autism as the centre of selfhood which respectfully isn’t) and the lack of objectivity within the extreme narratives, she challenged the use of the word “neurotypical” its use and the inaccuracies around the word and its inaccurate meaning.

Other work included the use of tinted lenses and how they aided with processing incoming information, visual perception, faceblindness, simultagnosia and semantic agnosia, language processing in which a person is meaning deaf and not literal, advocating for people whom are functionally non-verbal who use assisted communication, advocating for people who had exposure anxiety who find the directly confrontational world oppressive and challenging, advocating for people with dietary disabilities, metabolic, gut and immune disorders.

I first met Polly at an event in Headington (near the city of Oxford) in 2009 with my Father during the interval, I went up to her to ask how she created her artwork she then said after saying I am potentially on the autism spectrum she said “oh yes you are really sensitive and so is your Father.”

We connected on social media and she helped me greatly with understanding my autism profile, the politics of autism and helping me through challenging times when I felt no one was listening to be me.

Polly encouraged me to not fall into the trap of seeing “autism as everything about you” and warned me about the militancy and backlash I would get for not towing the line in the confirmation bias narratives.

Over the past five years since her passing I have tried my best to inform people of her “autism fruit salad analogy” in which you look at the different pieces specifically to the person and thus see the person first – merging the medical/social model of disability to create the empowerment model.

She had an infectious laugh and a zest for life and humanity and that is what I value from her is that she saw me (as others) as not simply “autistic” but human beings in their own right.

I loved her artwork and poetry it always seemed to speak a thousand words.

I miss you Polly I think I always will. x

Paul Isaacs 2022


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The Doubled Edge Sword of Autism & The System of Sensing

Note- This is personal perspective of the living in the system of sensing

The System ALL Human Beings Come From?

The “awareness” comes later on in a person’s development in which interpretive, logical, linear and cognitive associative style of making connections comes into place. A baby is a human being that has nervous system which is naked.

That means the filtering and internal cladding that comes later isn’t there or present and thus the ability to sense and merge is present.

How The Relates Contextually to Autism

Although labels create a lot division rightly or wrongly to here are the two basic systems that I have seen in my work over the the years.

  • Asperger’s Syndrome (now since removed) – Social Emotional Agnosia, Logical and Literal mentalising systems with reduced and/or inability to merge and sense due to less information processing challenges.

  • Classic Autism – Social perception due to Visual Agnosias, Less Logical, Less Literal mentalising systems and higher ability to merge and sense due to higher information processing challenges.

How The Sensing System Works

Merging With People

I can sense and merge with people’s emotions, trauma, false core beliefs, internal vulnerabilities, projection and if they are not being honest either with themselves, a group of people or me. This can cause temporary dissonance between selfhood and other, shutdowns and as I have gotten older and gained functional speech potential dialogues that person isn’t consciously ready for and/or uncomfortable with.

I can reason out the difference between a person who is dangerous (narcissists, psychopaths & abusers) to others whom is deeply traumatised and/or living as perceived self (due to a mixture of factors developmental, environmental, attachment and personality disorders) in which their projection (unconscious trauma responses) as an extension of that – the analogy I use for this phenomena is I can feel the sunshine of their personhood which is hiding behind the clouds of unresolved challenges.

Both parties for different reasons (fear and/or a reaction to people’s internal sadness) trigger exposure anxiety and the defence responses that come with it.

Merging With The Environment

I can merge with just about anything losing the ability to gain the interpretive thread of what it means and its function, this were the object and enviroment become from the outside in this could look like someone whom has impulse control challenges.

For example when I commute on the London Underground all the lines, shapes, colours, shimmer and shine all compete for my attention (think of baby being enraptured by lights) and I must keep my conscious mind on track so that I do not merge into my enviroment when this is done I go into trance like state, it is warm and comforting. However removing this feeling can come at the price of emotional regulation challenges. Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) noted a deep sadness when broken away from what she had been focused on in this transient state.

The System Of Sensing & Personality Types

A person who fits the Solitary Personality Type may need time an space from people because of their ability to merge.

A person who fits the Idiosyncratic Personality Type may be highly sensitive to perceptions, thoughts and opinions around them.

A person who fits the Self-Sacrificing Personality Type may be hyper aware of other people’s challenges (regardless of if the person is consciously aware themselves) and likes to help and others.

Conclusion

It can be both heavenly and hellish, it comes with both its abilities and disabilities (or very much because of them), it can lead to connections for a life time, it can lead to misunderstandings and tears, it can lead to happiness, acceptance and all that maybe in between.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Autism & Personality Disorders? Why Aren’t People Seeing This?

Autism & Personality Disorders? A Mute Subject?

I would say that we have to careful saying that personality disorders are a always misdiagnosis.

Borderline personality disorder can be connected with trauma and presentations of psycho-somatic/somatosensory amplification, alexithymia, poor self identity and emotional regulation challenges is common along with depersonalisation and dissociation.

Other common PDs with autism are as follows :

  • Schizotypal (common with Autism)
  • Schizoid (can be seen in both Autism/AS)
  • Obsessive Compulsive (common with Asperger’s)

Open Minds & Objectivity

So in reflection PDs have their own “fruit salads” too and one of the biggest myths is that autism is a personality type – it isn’t.

Paul Isaacs 2022


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Being Thankful for My Parents

Note this is from a personal perspective

Being thankful is a term used for many different contexts, it has different meanings, associations and be it personal or professional and it can come from an emotive place deep within someone’s being and soul to take a humble acknowledgment of the foundations laid bare that I had no control of (no person does) but giving it some thought and the time to do so has made be reflect on my early years.

Not Knowing But Still Doing

I was born in 1986 and my parents had now knowledge of the word “autism” for it would be many years before the word would be uses, so one must get by the frameworks and current situation in other words my parents not knowing did it hinder? Or through this did it urge them to be me more holistic, creative, and more practical in their approach towards me as a human being? I think it did.

Different Systems & Trajectories

If I would had been diagnosed it would have been of “classic” autism this wasn’t just about milestones speech, language and motor delay were noted – I was also hemiplegic, had visual perceptual disorders, face, object and meaning blindness and well as being meaning deaf and having a language processing disorder some of this partly due to being brain damaged at birth.


I lived (and still due to some degree) in the system of sensing, was tactile kinaesthetic, had pattern, theme and feel language – but my parents saw me as their child, their son and valued member of the family this speaks values not only of one’s character and the wordless observations at the time but the patience and nurture that goes with being a caregiver.

Many adjectives and observations were made the idea that I was deaf and blind, having an attachment disorder these were all perceptions (rightly or wrongly) put upon not only me but my family. The way in which my parents dealt was in a a very holistic and fluid way the expectations they had for me was simple but would later a sturdy foundation to build from “happy”.

Autonomy, Growth & Boundaries

Now that is one emotion of many they cared not for existential things, materials or hierarchy or work or education because that was something I would do on my terms, they offered the values of autonomy, the healthiness of failure as a normal part of life and the sanctity of self-exploration.

As I have grown, I have valued their company, their need for boundaries, direction and care which has built up a mutual respect but not tipping into areas of blurriness of misinformation, but all our cards are held to each other we know where we stand.

Conclusion

The greatest gift that many are denied from their parents and caregivers (at many times through no fault of their own – just repetition of generational patterns) is the ability to grow into one’s own connected self this is something I hold dear and treasure.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Sumita Majumdar – Autism & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder & Autism

Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have around a 30 to 40 percent crossover.

This isn’t to be confused Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder which has a 40 percent crossover with Asperger’s Syndrome and is the disordered extreme of the conscientious personality type.

Autism & Mental Health Crossover

With over 70 percent of people diagnosed with autism having mental health conditions – it’s time to ditch the rhetoric (however well meaning) that everything is “the autism” in presentation.

When people think of autism in terms of mental health please take into account of other factors such as

The presentation and origins of –

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mood Disorders
  • Impulse Control Disorders
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Attachment Disorders
  • Psychosis

A Personal Account Of Autism & OCD

Sumita gives a depthful, insightful and reflective descriptions of how autism and OCD co-exist she is a creative soul artist, musician, screenwriter, blogger and voice actress.

Sumita Unjumbled Blog

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Lenny King – An Autism Journey With & Presuming Competence

Lenny & His Mum Sharon
Lenny & His Mum Sharon

I first met the friendly and welcoming Lenny many years ago during a consultancy session

Lenny King is an endearing, funny and compassionate young man whom is thriving in his teenage years. He has a deep and close relationships to have parents and sister Rosie and has a sense of wonder and interest about the world around him.

Oral Apraxia, Echolalia and Language Processing

Lenny was diagnosed with on the autism spectrum when he was 2 years old, meeting him it is clear that he has oral apraxia and this is to do with speech organs in the mouth (tongue, jaw muscles, lips) not going tandem with what someone is saying. He has echolalia and this is do do with having a language processing disorder and creating one’s own language (patterning, theming and feeling) – with emotional context, phonic relatability and feeling words as opposed to their interpretive use.

Lenny has a great affinity for music and enjoys and eclectic array of songs – this seems have a profound impact on him as his body moves, sways also most in its own synchronistic modulations.

Sensory Perception, Object Blindness (Simultagnosia) & Meaning Blindness (Semantic Agnosia)

Lenny navigation of his external world suggests that he has sensory perceptual challenges if one can imagine for a that your sensory organs work but the feedback or information gets fragmented or distorted in some way – what system would you use? To create connections he is tactile kinesthetic in which he will feel his external world with great intent such as sand, blades of grass etc, When walks into a rooms he goes in around “dead space” and at times looks through and use peripheral vision to free information processing to “see”. This is extends to the way in which Lenny communicates and interacts with people touching their faces could be a way of creating context and association on a personal and emotive level.

Faceblindness, Body Agnosias & Mirrors

Lenny is fascinated by this face in the mirror and he at times brings his face up close and makes very distinct contortions around his mouth, lips and teeth. He seems to pay great inspection to these areas and there could be many reasonings to why this is happening.

Some people can be faceblind to their own face and on a subconscious level building up an external movement based “map” of what certain gestures look like could be one option, the other could be that he sees this person as an existential “friend” or “familiar person”. It took Donna Williams well into her twenties to understand she was looking at “herself” and me until I was sixteen. The final one could be a marriage of the above and be an getting a sense of his own “body as a whole” with the specific sways, body pressure and movement a to great a sense of reality and clarity/association.

Competence and IQ

I remember saying Lenny once not long ago “You are intelligent” to which he quickly replied “Yes!” this suggests to me that although he has complex language processing, sensory perceptual challenges and communication disorders and that his systems are on the plain of sensing much live his sister Daisy – in which he feels, merges with people, places and his surroundings and is able to connection on an emotive/introspective level that must never assume that “intelligence has a look”.

Lenny is intuitive, friendly, personable and highly idiosyncratic and self driven in all areas of his life and it is pleasure to be in his company.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Autism Bucks Workshop – Autism & Exposure Anxiety

This is the fourth workshop presentation is about autism and Exposure Anxiety – this overlaps with ODD, PDA, Reactive Attachment Disorder and Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder

Further Information & Reading

Autism & Exposure Anxiety Video By Donna Williams

Autism & Exposure Anxiety Blogs By Paul Isaacs

Paul Isaacs 2021


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NAS Lambeth/A2ndVoice Workshop – Autism & Education From A Personal Perspective

This workshop is about Autism & Education. Hosted by Venessa Bobb.

Further Information & Reading

Donna Williams Autism Hangout Video

Donna Williams The Fruit Salad Approach

Paul Isaacs 2021


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NAS Lambeth /A2ndVoice Workshop – Autism & Exposure Anxiety

This workshop was about the crossover between Autism and Exposure Anxiety. Presented and Hosted by Venessa Bobb.

Cross overs with Pathological Demand Avoidance, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder & Passive-aggressive Personality Disorder.

Additional Links

Autism & Exposure Anxiety By Donna Williams

PDA & EA Cross Over By Donna Williams

Paul Isaacs Personal Experience of Exposure Anxiety

Paul Isaacs 2020