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Autism from the inside


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Autism: A Very Sensory Christmas

family-christmas-early-90s

 

Note: This is from a personal perspective

One of the amusing observations from my parents was my indifference to Christmas in the my early infant years, this would be noted as they would wait eagerly excited on the day while I would still be fast asleep in my bedroom coming down later in the day.

OBSERVATIONS

Another observation was my facial indifference to the event at hand the lack of excitement as each present was opened. My Mum can remember one year they bought me a bike which was perched on the fireplace (not lit of course) she seemed bemused that I didn’t go to the biggest first opening the presents scattered around the tree, when it came to the bike being opened she can remember me staring indifferently at the bike with no seemingly no acknowledgement of what it was or the significance of what it meant.

Looking a back at these two observations I can see many different aspects of what was going on from the inside and how observationally they caused confusion with my parents.

WHAT COULD BEEN ¬†SEEN MAY NOT REFLECT “INSIDE”

One of the conditions I have noted about is simultagnosia and seeing things in bits along side aphasia and language processing issues these hidden blockages no doubt would have an impact on how I physically expressed my emotions to the outside world, be it in this case contextually joy, excitement and love.

All these things I feel and felt but because of visual perceptual issues, language processing, alexithymia and information processing delays these were not seen by my parents however other aspects of Christmas did excite me such as the colourful wrapping paper, glittered tree decorations and the twinkling lights but it was much more instant for me to access how I felt about a present would take longer so time would be needed. As the years progressed so did my level of understanding of what was going on.

I was happy at Christmas. ūüôā

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. ¬†ūüėČ

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Bucks Autism Conference Video 2015

Note – These are from personal and obervational perspectives

Sensory Issues in the context of Autism Bucks Autism Conference

This video is about covers these topics

 

Paul Isaacs 2015

 

 

 


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Supermarkets – Autism, Sensory Perception, Impulse Control & Alexithymia

Note this is going to be from a personal perspective of how this affects me.

For me supermarkets are very much I love/hate relationship they are full of things to do primarily shopping for goods that you need for your home or otherwise however the way in which my autism profile works there are issues related to sensory integration, sensory perception, impulse control and emotional recognition.

Sensory Perceptional Issues

In previous posts I have documented how my fragmented vision affects the way in which I “see” and “process” the world around me this includes of course environments in which I am being bombarded by stimuli but one of the things I have to put one hold is the want to touch and experience everything I can within the store – this is not relate to the literal aspect of the what the object is but how it may sound, smell, feel etc, plus getting visual information for me alone is redundant so the irony here is that touch gives me far more “meaning.” than just looking.

Impulse Control Disorder (related to sensory perception)

This impulsivity can include getting “chemical highs” from objects, shimmers, shines, textures, noises, sounds and smells these in some contexts can be very distressing for me but in other contexts they can be alluring and very much a “want” of course a “need” is very different from a “want”.

Alexithymia – Could that be another factor?

Processing incoming emotions (and naming them) for me takes about 24 hours in general and longer depending on the situation. I wonder because I am getting a “bodily high” that is enough for me to get a “feeling” that comes from the outside in spurring on the impulsive want that then relates to impulse control?

Getting grounded

What I have done over the years has been able to self-regulate on a level where even though those a initial bursts may happen I am able to keep on task and do what I have to do.
My tinted lenses help not only with piecing the world together but filtering the lights and giving me clarity.

Headphones and music also help me as this keeps me on topic.
By sorting out what the relevant factors are (and just as importantly what aren’t) it gives and foundation not only of empowerment and ownership for th person but a confidence can challenge themselves in otherwise difficult situations.

Paul Isaacs 2015


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Visual Perceptual Disorders, Visual Agnosias, Motion Perception & Tinted Lenses

Me Looking to SidePlease note Рthis is from a personal perspective of visual perceptual issues 

Eye Tracking 

I met a lady at an autism conference this year who has expertise in sensory integration I described to her how I “see” the world and access it – she said there is a simple test it involves a pen at the midline of your focus and vision as she moves the pen she asks me to track the pen my eyes darted and had to “re-focus” as I could not follow the movement properly and process the visuals either.

Visual Perception Disorders 

This would also make sense of why I see things in pieces (simultagnosia), problems processing faces (prosopagnosia), integrating visual information, visual semantic recognition (semantic agnosia). I found this revelation very interesting and informative.

Cortical Visual Impairment/Disorder Article 

Not all types of visual deficits caused by CVI will affect visual acuity. For example, in cortical visual dysfunction (CVD)16, the predominant visual deficit is not visual acuity loss, but rather disturbances in visual perception and integration. In higher-functioning children with CVI or CVD, specific visual disorders such as agnosias may be diagnosed. These include cerebral motion blindness or cerebral akinetopsia (the inability to perceive moving targets), simultanagnosia (the inability to focus on more than one visual object at a time), central achromatopsia16 (color desaturation), prosopagnosia (difficulty in recognizing faces), topographic agnosia (problems with orientation; see section on rehabilitation), and astereocognosis (difficulty with depth perception)17. Thus, although not all children with CVD have associated CVI, certain children with CVI (with loss of visual acuity) may show signs of CVD

“The most common cause of CVI is an hypoxic-ischemic injuryl-3,10,19,20. At least 60% of children with neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy have cerebral visual impairment12. Hypoxia (lack of oxygen) or ischemia (tissue death due to loss of blood flow, and thus oxygen deprivation) in the preterm baby leads to a characteristic injury of the brain, namely periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)21,22, which can be detected by MRI.”

Originally appeared in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 2001, 43: 56-60

Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

Me & Teddy

Me a 6 Months Old

This would make sense of the the following visual perceptual issues I have

  • Akinetophsia (motion blindness) – I believe I could have this as a result of simultagnosia (a problem with visually processing integrating the whole picture) this can lead to a “juddering” effect with my vision
  • Simultagnosia (object blindness) – “seeing” things in “bits” and or “fragments” not being able to integrate the pieces into meaningful chunks this could also be considered a form of context blindness.
  • Prosopagnosia (face blindness) – Not being able to recognise a person by their face this can lead to the persons using other forms of “recognition” such as voice, patterns of movement, placement, touching, sniffing hair, name tags etc.

What Has Helped?

From a personal perspective tinted lenses have had a great impact on how I process visual information and integrate it. The lenses have also  helped with

  • Body posture
  • Movement of my legs (not so “heavy footed”)
  • Reading and writing (dyslexia and dyscalculia)
  • Light sensitivity (sensory integration disorder)
  • Eye contact
  • Concentration and focus
  • Integrating visual perceptual information (even if I don’t understand the semantics/meanings this still helps)

Remember All Autism “Fruit Salads” Are Different¬†

That also includes not only what the fruit salad is made up of but also the origins that made them.

What Is Autism? Blog Donna Williams 

Paul Isaacs 2014