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Autism from the inside


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Not Proud Nor Ashamed – Balanced About Being On The Autism Spectrum

Premature 1I Was Born A Human Being

I was born in 1986 and as far as I know I was born a human being just like the 7 billion other people on the this earth and of course I had my issues related to autism not being able to speak, not seeing the world as a coherent whole, faceblindness, receptive and expressive language disorders, oral apraxia, hemiplegia and list goes on. These thing are not “me” being face-blind isn’t me, being aphasic isn’t me and  being hemiplegic isn’t me either.

Autism A Describing Word

“Autism” is describing not defining for some people autism is a culture a place to be in and around a shared culture, however I do not believe that autism is a culture but has been created as such and maybe the question is who created culture? What rules apply? What rules don’t? What is “autistic”? What isn’t “autistic”?

I often wonder I feel however so more closer to being a human being then defining myself by one word which means different things to different people.

When I was formally diagnosed in 2010 with autism I was told by my parents that you are still “Paul” and this diagnosis only changes one thing that you aware of what difficulties you have had.

Autism Is Apart Of? Not The Defining Factor? 

I would agree with them and be understanding my autism and as clustering of differing conditions I was able to piece together my “autism” not as I saw fit but looking at deeply and introspectively enough to understand myself and hopefully empower others.

I know what autism is for me it is apart of not the defining factor I feel indifferent and balanced about what it means. I have done enough research and consultancy work to know that personality types, co-conditions, environmental factors, metabolic disorders, auto-immune disorderslearning types and communication styles,  will have an impact on the presentation of one’s “autism” so what does that mean?

  • Not one intervention works for all
  • Not all the issues are the same despite have a similar and/or same diagnosis
  • Not all people with autism have the same wants, needs, or desires
  • Not all people on the spectrum have the same communication profiles
  • Some people on the autism spectrum have auto-immune and metabolic issues which impact on functioning
  • Some people with autism have dietary disabilities which impact on learning and information processing 
  • Some people on the autism spectrum will have undiagnosed personality disorders and mental health co-conditions that keep being called “the autism” when they are not

I AM autistic but I HAVE immune deficiencies, I HAD cancer (apparently I can’t actually un-have it, its called remission) , I HAVE Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome… I also HAVE visual perceptual disorders, I HAVE language processing disorder, I HAVE mild learning disabilities.

I do not feel I AM these things, they are not ME, they walk alongside of me, often as parts of my autism, and whilst I AM autistic, just as I AM immune deficient, and I AM mildly learning disabled, Autism is not the sum total of who I am, it does not define my entire being or personhood, even if my personality traits are archetypally relatively ‘autistic’, I remain a person WITH autism… someone who HAS autism and, ok, IS autistic. The rest is war mongering militant separatist fascist crudola

– says Groucho
“PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER”.

Polly Samuel 2013

Overall autism is not the defining factor of my me. My personhood that will always shine first not because I am ashamed of my autism nor because I am not proud of it either I remain balanced in what that means it gives me clarity and sanity. I am a human being first.

Paul Isaacs 2017

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Autism “Specialism”, Personality Profiles, Reverse Bigotry & Being Human

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Many times people often focus on the person’s autism as all of “them” this means that the “autism” is the reason for all of their behaviours, reactions, actions and motivations. If you are on the autism spectrum you may well be aware of autism “stereotypes” such as an overtly logical, literal processor and extractor of information. If this is true in some cases it is far from the bigger picture and is far from the broader palette that is actually out there.

Let’s look at three examples of differing personality types

For the person with a Idiosyncratic personality type not fitting in a running along their own path maybe something that has brought them joy and/or isolation by “dancing to their own beat”, being naturally non-conformist, inventive and intuitive.

The Idiosyncratic Personality Type believe that your interests lie in (Oldham, pg. 252):

  • not being like anyone else
  • marching to your own beat
  • being unconventional
  • being original
  • standing out from the crowd

For the person with a Conscientious personality type they may be fixed on being productive, useful and striving for success the fear of failure and self loathing could hinder their development for continued perfectionism, however being pragmatic and ordered in nature along with highly motivational work ethic has its benefits.

The interests of the Conscientious Character Style include (Oldham, pg. 62):

  • having strong moral principles and being certain
  • not resting until the job is done and done right
  • being loyal to families, causes, and superiors
  • working hard to do well
  • achieving and accomplishing things
  • loving to work and be challenged

 

For the person with a Solitary personality type being focused on being alone, in a “inner world” and not be swayed by praise, acknowledgment or criticism this may come with a lack of social and emotional development however their comfortable observations of the world offer patience, tranquillity and healthily reserve.

The interests of the Solitary Personality Type include (Oldham, pg. 275):

  • not needing anyone but yourself
  • being unmoved by the crowd
  • being free of the need to impress and please
  • being free of emotions and involvements with others
  • having clarity of vision rather than sentiment and intimacy
  • discovering and recording the facts of existence

The Problem With “Specialism”

Nobody is better than anyone else and that accounts for people on the spectrum too. I strive for balance, objectivity, kindness, empathy and equality. If someone is going to be militant with the focus being that people off the autism spectrum are collectively “wrong” then reverse bigotry is still bigotry and doesn’t into the framework of empowerment it creates more divisions, voices, lost, realties not acknowledged that in not progress but quite the opposite.

Personality types and the richness of them are for all people to share I have noted that mine are idiosyncratic, serious, mercurial and self-sacrificing by narrowing your bandwidth and not acknowledging that personality types have much to about development as the neurological and biological challenges means you are missing the fundamental part of “humanness.”

Promoting equality in difference and diversity, is what I believe in and I’ll strive for the opportunity to do that, wherever I find it.

Any derogatory or dismissive stance relating to non-autistic people as a group is no less a form of prejudice as any in history.

Polly Samuel

Autism, Personhood, Personality Types and Identity

Theses aspects of a person/human being  are different for all but at the same time very real so if someone’s “autism” is just seen as “collective autism” in other words all the “traits” are “autistic” then that reductive way of perceiving will mean that the personhood and associated traits may well be ignored. This will have an impact of self-identity, self-worth and could potentially push these personality types into “disordered extremes” impacting on functioning further.

Looking at the full package of autism that does include personality types and disordered extremes and the inter-relation that have on the person’s perceptions, mental health, identity and reactions to environment.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Autism, Emotions, Attachment and Borderline Personality Disorder

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Borderline Personality Disorder can be a difficult condition to live you may struggle to be “in your own skin”, have issues with “identity” and purpose in life, with other people and may flip-flop between different aspects of what you perceive your identity to be. Your emotional input-output may well disruptive and hindered.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can cause a wide range of symptoms, which can be broadly grouped into four main areas.

The four areas are:

  • emotional instability – the psychological term for this is ‘affective dysregulation’
  • disturbed patterns of thinking or perception – ‘cognitive distortions’ or ‘perceptual distortions’
  • impulsive behaviour
  • intense but unstable relationships with others

Emotional Dysregulation 

These four main areas may well vary from person to person and emotional instability and modulation may make you vulnerable to teasing and bullying in your early years as the reactions may well be more extreme and unpredictable in nature, you may push people away without realising or cling on to friendships that aren’t there. This can lead to internal problems with modulating one’s own emotions.

Cognitive Distortions, Dissociation & Psychosis

Cognitive distortions can come in many forms and affect how you deal with in particular negative emotions you may “lock them away”, project them through self-harming, other aspects that can distort reasoning are episodes of psychosis and a breakdown of internal and external reality this may be accompanied by episodes of dissociation.

Impulsivity & Challenges In Friendships & Relationships 

The person may want these aspects of life but maintenance for both you and the person you are friends with could be hindered by the symptoms above the changing winds of emotions, a lack of grounded identity and purpose, disruptive and sometimes paranoid thinking and firm and often “black and white” sense of what relationships and friends “should and shouldn’t be”, fear and loss and may have issues with attachment with people around them.

Coming Out The Other End?

I have documented my mental health issues over the years which includes having Borderline Personality Disorder and how that interacts with  the overall package within my “autism” and this is how of have dealt with these negative and sometimes behaviours.

  • People have their own thoughts, feelings and identities and one must respect a person’s autonomy.
  • Grounded sense of “self” I am a whole person with the ability to change.
  • Emotions are human and therefore not “abnormal” and are part of the human existence and managing them is crucial for healthy relationships.
  • All friendships and relationships are unique in their creation some last a lifetime others don’t and one must accept this.
  • I can help and empower people but not overbear them or smother them.
  • Seeking balance has a positive impact in your overall life and existence.

 

Darth Vader shows the key features of BPD 

  • He fears loss of people he is closest too. The Death of his Mother and not having a Father figure
  • He has intense and unstable relationships with the people he loves. His love for Padme and his and Father-figure friend Obi-Wan
  • He suffers from emotional dysregulation and has feelings of intense fear, rage, sadness and sorrow.  “I Hate You!”,  “Where is Padme? Is she safe is she alright?” 
  • He displays impulsivity and cognitive distortions through manipulation of Chancellor Palpatine. “In your Anger you Killed her (Padme)”
  • He has problems with self identity switching from “Anakin” to “Vader”. 

 

I have documented that when dealing with autism you must look at the rounded view that personality types and thus personality disorders can be a part of the package and if this is the case maybe we should looking a little deeper into what that means when managing a person on the autism spectrum who is in emotional crisis and the services that can be provided in the future.

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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Meeting Up With The King’s

 

This week I had the pleasure of meeting up with the King’s they are family that live in the north of England in the Wakefield. Sharon and Richard have three children on the autism spectrum Rosie who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Lenny with Classic autism and Daisy with Kabuki Syndrome and Classic autism.

Staying with the family was very interesting and reflective on my part, as all the family showed deep love and care for each other being honest about the difficulties and  balanced about them showing deep care and empowerment for each other.

Their kindness and humility was reflected in the hospitality shown to me and the others we met on our travels to the park during my visit it is sometimes the little things that matter as much as the big ones. I look forward to meeting them again.

Paul Isaacs  2016