Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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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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Being Thankful For My Parents

Mum and Dad Early 80s

Please note this is from a personal perspective

It may sound like a cliche in many ways to create a blog with a title such as “Thankful for my parents”  but that is how I feel I know that many people may not for many reasons feel the same as me and that is fine.

I am thankful for them because they  have given me good boundaries, have treated me as a human being then growing up as an infant, teenager and now as an adult, they do not let my disability “define the whole package” (I have written many a blog about that subject), guided me to know that failure and being wrong is normal part of life, to accept and take responsibility for both positive and negative actions, to help people who need it, to always be truthful and be true to yourselves.

I value their sage wisdom as many of these “mantras” and “life skills” come from past mistakes and “failures” but as my parents have noted failures are the fruits of success and success comes in many different forms as example setters for us all.

Paul Isaacs 2016

 


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The Autism World – When Our Hearts & Ears Have To Be Open To All Realities

Things Need To Change?

It’s my opinion that indulgent self-gratification and the selfishness in parts of “autism world” is what I feel will eventually make it implode and full-apart. If it all becomes about “me,me,me”, point scoring, back-stabbing (being two faced), office politics, game playing, “them and us” separation, object using (psychopathy and sociopathy) not listening, stereotype investing and not learning then people like myself (who try to do their best to empower and stay true to themselves) and others on and off the autism spectrum are going to continue to get hurt, told to be silent not believed or to just told “get on with it” no one seems to care about such repercussions on one’s character and mental health. I process things slowly but get there in the end.

If we listened to one another and appreciated other’s realities we would learn SO MUCH more. It is not the act it is the heart of where the act comes from I do things to empower not monopolise or manipulate.

Conclusion

Listening is a very important tool it means not only showing an interest but in the context of this chapter it means taking into account someone’s thoughts and feelings. What journey have you been through? What paths did you take to get there? Every human being is on there own specific journey and is important to acknowledge that.

“Them and “Us” – We Are All Human 

We can all learn from each other if politics and tired old stereotypes which are churned out through oppression in and around the “autism world” then voices will and are most certainly going to be lost. The them and us scenario causes friction ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and NT (“Neurotypical”) or vice versa.

We as human beings are all equal and when neurotypical  becomes a loaded word (spiteful, derogatory, other or sub-human etc) that is not right. I say people who aren’t on the spectrum myself. Inclusion is about everyone getting involved in the context of this chapter it means that both views are valid.

Conclusion 

All views and opinions wherever someone is on the spectrum or not should be taken into account that is because one can learn from the act of sharing each other views, what they mean. How do they differ? What are the similarities and having healthy look at the whats and whys.

Neurotypical? A Word That Doesn’t Make Sense?

What is an NT? There is no such thing in my opinion. We are all human and taking all realities into account is far more positive and inclusive than creating what I call man-made barriers we could from metaphorical perspective “holds hands” in this regards everybody has a story unique to  a view and/or viewpoints that are as equal and as valid as the next persons.

Conclusion

If someone calls someone a name that is meant to make them feel worthless that has knock on effect on their self-esteem and self worth “typical” doesn’t sound very nice and if the situation was reversed I am sure it would feel equally hurtful. When I talk about equalism I am meaning everybody. Setting good examples is a way move forward.

Militancy – When People Take Things Too Far 

That is true when people attack whether they are on the spectrum or not – one must take responsibility for their actions. That is what worries me there should be no single representation of autism even by people who are in a position of being an advocate on the autism spectrum. One can only talk about their profile and how autism affects them – the key is that their so many other different and diverse profiles.

Militancy creates too many barriers and shuts off a lot other people on and off the spectrum who have different ideas, profiles and presentations. Surely hearing different views is good?

Conclusion

If we talked and discussed our views in a manner which is respectful we may learn that we share things and have insights that are common – however one may learn that are viewpoints and ideals come from different areas this isn’t a bad thing but when views get extreme it has a “pebble in a pound” effect it causes problems for other whose view may be lost in the mix of extremism.

Autism Politics – The Two Extremes

You have people who are are curists and people who are culturists both demographics go to the extreme to get their points of view across to others – what saddens me is that both have points to say but the way in which they’re either presented and said are not practical nor respectable .Wouldn’t it be nice if people listened – I stand neutral believing that everyone is equal (you hear that a lot in the post I know) and human.

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

What is Autism?

Autism is different and unique for each person who has the it – it’s made of different “ingredients” that means that the overall profile is unique to that person how they process information, if they have additional learning disabilities or not, if they have food intolerances, auto-immune disorders and so forth – in other words it is a set of pre-existing conditions and has a “stacking effect” and a point of origin which in itself is unique to each person- Olga Bogdashina calls it Autisms  and Donna Williams calls it a Fruit Salad. That is why all realities of Autism are different and diverse.

Looking Towards the Future – Equalism and Egalitarianism

If one would strip all the militancy, bullying and aggression by people on and off the autism spectrum – would that create a bigger pathway of diversity? Would more voices be heard? More realities listened too and acknowledged? Would new ideas flourish? I certainly hope so. We are equal in this world and no one is above or below anyone else we all have our stories to tell.

Final Conclusion – Everybody Having A Say 

Every human being on earth has right to be listened too, supported, acknowledged, cared for a appreciated for being them and seeing their personhood. So by bringing everyone into the scene you don’t  have “them” and “us” you see and have different points of views for and by different people on the spectrum or not but equal in their validity, by not having extremism you having balanced acknowledgment of both agreement and disagreement.

Inclusion is Bringing a Diverse set of views from Different Places

  • People on the whole of the autism spectrum
  • People who are functionally non-verbal
  • People with autism and learning disabilities
  • People from different cultures and backgrounds
  • Parents, family members, carers and guardians
  • Autism professionals (neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists etc)
  • Educational teams
  • Other services

Paul Isaacs 2015


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What I Have Observed In The Autism World – It Needs To Change

THE BEGINNING

Author ImageI was diagnosed with Autism in 2010 at the age of 24 years old that same year I started a new career venture as a public speaker and later a trainer and consultant. After the diagnosis as my parents and I were walking towards car my Mum gently directed and reaffirmed to me that I was person first and both she and my Dad had always seen me (and would continue to do so) as “Paul”.

CULTURE SHOCK- PART 1

In my own naivety I was unaware that autism had a pre-existing “culture” that was in place I was slowly being introduced to words that I wasn’t either comfortable with or didn’t understand their significance in the ways of the world. To me in 2011 is where these internalised struggles started people were in directly and later directly saying that autism defines every part of them, what they do how they think and feel. I wanted to know the mechanics of my autism to empower others that was all. I also was on   a quest for my sense of personhood that I valued and still do first and foremost.

AUTISM ISN’T “ONE THING”

Over the many years as a speaker, trainer and consultant it is only fair that Autism should  not be seen as a mass of traits that  affect the people who are diagnosed in the same way but as clustering of pre- existing elements that create one’s own unique profile. In 2010 I was introduced to Donna Williams’ Fruit Salad model of Autism which has helped understand the mechanics of me but a clear and firm realisation that seeing myself as a person first isn’t a negative thing but a positive thing.

CULTURE SHOCK- PART 2

As an advocate on the Autism spectrum I feel I have a personal and professional responsibility to not project the tired stereotypes and that the only perspective I can speak from is my own. Sadly, what I have seen is a very negative side of this culture which includes “neurotypical” being used as reversed prejudiced attack – I dislike this word as it creates more barriers and in my view isn’t the correct word to use. I have witnessed “them” and “us” language, separatism, militancy, bullying, death threats and character assassinations.

This in the last two years has been a real concern for me regardless of if you are on the spectrum or not this is no excuse for such behaviours. We should all learn to respect each other’s views regardless of disagreement. Personally I don’t see Autism as culture but as a disability where  a culture has been built around it. It is a set of ideas.

MENTAL HEALTH – A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE 

Because of these issues and others this has taken a toll on my mental health I have seen to much and it has made me question a lot things over the last year or so. I lost myself through over investment and low self-esteem and self worth. This is partly because my views were not seen on par with the status quo and partly the way in which I was told either through silence or attacks, I know I am worth more.

EQUALISM

I worry about the people on the autism spectrum who are functionally non-verbal, those who have autism with a learning disability and  parents and guardians are not getting their voices, opinions and realities heard and acknowledged.

Everyone is equal so therefore realities are equal (even if in reality it doesn’t happen) so if that is the case then the whole spectrum should be included? Surely?

PERSONHOOD FIRST? WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

I was born a person and I will not shackled into thinking  that every aspect of me is my autism – for the reasons stated above I am going to explore other ventures such as art, poetry, fashion and so forth.

I am still an advocate, I will present speeches, present training, write and blog but with a different mindset to the world which I was eagerly presented to. I shall not miss this aspect of it – it is damaging and misleading and in my opinion needs to change before others get treated the same way.

Beyond The Label (Pastures Green)

Ever the thoughtless fable to define someone by a label
To glamourise or demonise is the answer listen to your call
Can you really speak for all? A court Jestor or fool?
Beyond the label is before loving the person for themselves
Out of the confines you shed a smile. It has been a while?

I look at the rolling fields and trees, the splender of the grass
The waving flowers and the earth, watching the world pass
The plodding dog eager to please, always up for a tease
I have no regrets my body is fluid it doesn’t stall to freeze
I sup on tea and live in moment -I want to please.

Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism 2015


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Spirit Of The Wolf

Dad's Tatoo 20152My Father is a spirited person and is very positive and assertive in his outlook on life he is a very balanced individual and knows that having leukemia and graft vs host disease means to him everyday is a blessing, every moment is precious and making use of what you have have got (rather than what you haven’t) is so needed he wants no pity from others nor feels sorry for himself nor wallows in lament or self pity. It puts trivia in its place and makes me at least value the now.

Paul Isaacs

Adult With Autism 2015