Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Looking At What “Autism Is” Is That The Future?

I have been is the autism “world” as a speaker, trainer and consultant for well over seven years, I do not pretend to know all the answers nor I do project or promote that I have them all I can only speak from first hand experience of myself and the others that have been involved in professional capacity.

A 3D Diagnosis For The Future?

I what would like to offer a foundation of empowerment not because I know best but to give people the opportunity to find out about their “autism” what is made up of and the “mechanics” that go with it. I have wrote and documented my autism the fact that is made of being brain injured at birth, speech and language delays, sensory agnosias, aphasia, apraxia the fact that I have dealt with mood, impulsive and anxiety disorders also.

The fact that being borderline made me emotionally unstable, struggled with boundaries and also being schizotypal made me odd, aloof and detached from people and at times society. These “elements” are all about of my “mix” and words not only for these “pieces” empower not only the person in question but the services they come into contact with also family and friends.

Fruit Salad 2017

 

Looking Deeper, Looking Forward, Education & Empowerment

I went through my autism “fruit salad” at an event recently and asked if the diagnosis had pointed out the specific pieces how would they have felt? Also would this model benefit them it was a conclusion yes because understanding autism on thing but understanding the pieces of their children’s autism was felt to be very important, helpful, empowering and overall was a beneficiary to the services that they would come in contact with. Giving them not just the word “autism” but what it meant for them specifically.

My Autism Fruit Salad 1 Updated 2017

Autism Fruit Salad 2 2017

Autism Fruit Salad 3 2017

Conclusion

“Autism” is not “one thing” it is specific to each person also people do not have an “autistic personality” exclusive although personality types like solitary, idiosyncratic and conscientious would look more “autistic” but are smaller elements in the overall mix. I do believe that a person’s autism is everything about them because human beings are made up much than one element.

You can get  “non-autistic” personality types the people that challenge the stereotypes who could be equally adventurous and mercurial in their ways. For 2017 lets look at this from a broader perspective and empower people with knowledge that is worthy of making a difference.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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The Importance of Recognising Personality Types In Autism

Note this is from a personal perspective

Personality types are just as relevant to in which a person behaviours and responds to the environment around them, this includes interaction, communication, lifestyle choices, interpersonal choices etc.

Personality Types A Mix & Match

We can break down these personality types into their basic forms. In example I will use three different personality variants (people can have to 4 to 6) however this will simplify the point in question.

Personality Types in Autism 2017 Image

Personality Types Are Valid 

People on the autism spectrum will have personality types within their “autism fruit salad” like all other human beings people have overlapping personality types which can be fluid or concrete, complex or refined, narrow or lengthy which will be dictated by genetics and the environment they are in. They can also spill over into “disordered” extremes.

Is “Autism” All Of A Person? 

 I think that the main factor that gets missed in the overall ensemble when looking at ASD is personality traits/types. To define one’s whole neurology as one’s “self” ego-syntonic were as I see my neurology in terms of autism as part of “self” not the overall picture “ego-dystonic”.

This would surely help professionals, parents, guardians and people on the autism spectrum? To know that part of being a human is to do with the development of these aspects to?

“Autism” It Is Apart Of The Mix Not The Defining Factor 

To put in honestly that fact that I am face-blind isn’t “me” it is just how I processing faces, the fact that have simultagnosia as see in pieces isn’t “me” but is how I process visual information, the fact that I am aphasic and meaning deaf and struggle at times process the words being spoken to me isn’t “me” but is how I deal with receptive language they are part of the package, the fact that I struggle to do simultaneous “self and other” isn’t “me” but it means I need time to gauge and internalise information is again part of the package .

They come along for the ride and my personality types will dictate how I cope, manage and productively find an outcome for these different processing issues I have. If someone isn’t seen as person first then what are they?

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Colour Me With A Personality – Autism, Personality Types and “Disordered Extremes”

Malice Mizer Bara No Seidou 20004All human beings have personality types they are part of what makes “soul” along with are senses, information processing, reactions, life experiences, our friends, family members and cherished ones.

Many  a disagreement has been  made about me bringing up about personality types in the context of autism people have quite rightfully misunderstood my intentions or misunderstood the point of points I was trying to make so  lets look at this a bit more.

Of the 16 common personality traits identified by Oldham, all of us will have around 4-6 of these which tend to be our main personality traits, what collectively presents to others as ‘who we are’, our ‘self’, ‘personhood’, ‘identity’, ‘soul’. When these are not overdeveloped, they present merely as ‘traits’.  However, a particular personality trait or traits can become overdeveloped or stay at such a ‘volume’ that the person is functioning and presenting in the personality disorder range for that trait.  If they don’t break free of this they will progressively so identity with their own personality disorder they will take it as their ‘normal’.  Donna Williams (Polly Samuel)

NOT EVERYTHING IS THE “AUTISM” 

It is not restrictive or silly to point out that personality types do exist within human beings and in context of this segment with people with autism. Human being not only have 4 – 6 main personality types (no we are not machines we “encoding”) and you can also have what is called “secondaries” (mine I would say are conscientious and adventurous) that come along for the ride and they may well clash “internally” with the main traits themselves.

This is fluid and normal there is of course genetic factor to these traits maybe you can see “yourself” in another family member certain behaviours you can relate to and/or acknowledge, just like you can have personality clashes at work because you cannot relate to how some operates this is normal.

Some of the most common personality disorders in people in the autism spectrum include Obsessive-Compulsive, Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders and Avoidant and Dependent personality disorders.  Those with dissociative disorders may more commonly experience AvoidantSelf Defeating, Schizotypal, Borderline or Passive-Aggressive personality disorders.  Some personality disorders are commonly misdiagnosed as mood or anxiety disorders but unlike mood or anxiety disorders, personality disorders generally fail to respond significantly to medication.  Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) 

EGO- SYNTONIC & SEEING THE PERSONALITY DISORDER AS “THE AUTISM”

Ego- Syntonic Meaning Consistent with one’s sense of self, as opposed to ego-alien or dystonic (foreign to one’s sense of self). Ego-syntonic traits typify patients with personality disorders.

If a person or people around the person “sees” their “autism” as everything about them (including dictating their personality) then hypothetically if they acquired a personality disorder would they see it just apart of of their autism? Not needing to be changed? Or modified?

What if it is having an impact on the person but they just can not unpick or see that it is an issue and it is having an overall impact on their functioning? Their judgements? Their reactions? Their interpersonal skills? Their daily living skills? What then? This is food for thought from both a practical sense and how specialists can diagnose and treat those with personality disorders on the autism spectrum.

MY FOUR MAIN PERSONALITY TYPES WITH THE DISORDER VARIANTS

As you can see on the left I have my personality types and on the right I have the “disordered” variants of those types the explained in the middle is clear these “stresses” can cause the “normal” personality types to expand and “grow” the person themselves may well be observed by others as being “different” quick to temper, quick to cry for example their reactions are heightened to an extreme.

For more info on personality types look at www.ptypes.com

2007 PERSONALITY DISORDERS A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

In 2007 I suffered a nervous breakdown my parents had noticed a change in “me” looking through my medical records two words sprung out at me “borderline” and “schziotypal”.

 These had an effect on these five main areas of functioning

  • Personal Judgement
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Personal Skills
  • Professional Skills
  • Daily Living Skills

Borderline Personality Disorder

It is characterized as:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, as well as marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse,reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

It is characterized as:

A disorder characterized by eccentric behaviour and anomalies of thinking and affect which resemble those seen in schizophrenia, though no definite and characteristic schizophrenic anomalies have occurred at any stage. There is no dominant or typical disturbance, but any of the following may be present:
  • Inappropriate or constricted affect (the individual appears cold and aloof);
  • Behaviour or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar;
  • Poor rapport with others and a tendency to social withdrawal;
  • Odd beliefs or magical thinking, influencing behaviour and inconsistent with subcultural norms;
  • Suspiciousness or paranoid ideas;
  • Obsessive ruminations without inner resistance, often with dysmorphophobic, sexual or aggressive contents;
  • Unusual perceptual experiences including somatosensory (bodily) or other illusions, depersonalization or derealization;
  • Vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, overelaborate, or stereotyped thinking, manifested by odd speech or in other ways, without gross incoherence;
  • Occasional transient quasi-psychotic episodes with intense illusions, auditory or other hallucinations, and delusion-like ideas, usually occurring without external provocation.

PEOPLE WITH AUTISM DO HAVE PERSONALITIES

These had a great impact on my overall functioning and it took over two years to bring the “volume” down on these aspects of my personality to levels of “normality”.

The first issue I want to address is within the autism community? I want to healthily challenge people who do not think (or acknowledged) that firstly personality types exist with people on the spectrum and secondly if they do what are they? And thirdly do you think you have ever had any personality disorders either yourself? Or in a loved on? If so what helped?

COLOUR MY PERSONALITY 

To acknowledge personality types is not constricting it is in fact the opposite the world is an can be a colourful place and differing personality types are part of the package for everybody.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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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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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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If I Wasn’t A Person First Then What Would I be?

Me Baby Looking to SideThis is why I see myself as a “person first” because autism is not the sum and total of my being and I do not see as the totality of my existence, this isn’t because I am ashamed it is because I don’t faceblindness as “me”, simultagnosia as “me”, semantic agnosia as “me”, aphasia as “me”, alexithymia as “me” and all the other pieces of my autism “fruit salad” as the totality of “me”.

I have personality traits mercurial, idiosyncratic, self-sacrificing and serious which impacts and interacts with environmental and identity development and mental health co-conditions that come part of the “package”.

My experience is not an “autistic” experience (you cannot define that anyway) it is a collective experience as a person who happens to have a stacking of pre-existing conditions high enough for it be called “autism”

If I wasn’t a person first then what would I be?

Paul Isaacs 2016


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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