Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Paul Isaacs: Living Through the Haze 2nd Edition Review By Dr. Manuel Casanova 

 

Paul Isaacs’ book, “Living Through the Haze”, has been published (second edition). The book has new content, a new introduction and an afterword that I wrote. Paul was diagnosed as autistic in 2010. As a child Paul was considered to be a “naughty child” with no prospects for a future. At present Paul is a lecturer, trainer and consultant who promotes autism awareness throughout the UK. In the following paragraphs I provide the afterword that I wrote for “Living Through the Haze”:

Many times during his life Paul felt confused and detached from his surroundings. His attention could only focus on one aspect of his sensory experience. He lived his life as if wearing blinders, and as such, he could not react adequately to what people asked of him at home, at school or at work. His perceptual style made him seem odd to his peers. Parents, teachers and peers objectivised and bullied him.  In the end the reader can only wonder, how did Paul survive?

For many autistic individuals the environment overwhelms their nervous system with information.  Seeing a face is like looking at the sun. Blinking, when looking at the sun, is a response aimed at avoiding damage to your eyes by allowing only a sliver of sunrays to hit your retina. In autistic individuals, allowing only a sliver of available information into your brain is meant to protect it from overstimulation. Overall, autistic individuals can’t see the forest for the trees and it is easy for them to become thoroughly engrossed in the details of a particular situation but miss the larger picture.

Paul grew up displaying many of the classical symptoms of autism. Unfortunately, as is the case for many autistic individuals, his diagnosis came late in life.  Still, he prospered and found fulfillment in being a speaker, counselor and in helping others like him. In this book Paul publicizes his own plight with some of the darker aspects of autism. Through no fault of his own Paul was misunderstood and relentlessly bullied by even those who were supposed to protect him.  The psychological and physical aggression that he suffered is at the crux of a mixed mood disorder that at times has greatly handicapped him.

So we can ask again, how did Paul survive? In a longitudinal study sponsored by the NIMH on so-called recovered autism, it seems that the most salient commonality for those that “recovered” was caring parents who were quick to act on behalf of their children.  Paul in this regard was blessed with caring supportive parents and grandparents. He also found solace and purpose in a special education camp outside of school, which he called the “Autism Base”. There he found others like him living within a spectrum of severities. More importantly, within the Autism Base he found comradely and a social sense of togetherness.

Paul has not forgotten the painful experiences of the past but has learned from them.  Indeed, the excuses provided by the teachers who failed him are indelibly marked in his memory. He has a keen power for introspection.  His ability to self-reflect is one of the reasons why I believe that there is undue emphasis in the Theory of Mind conceptualization of autism. Paul was always keenly aware of his mental state and on occasion provides privileged access to the mental state of his parents.

This is a must read book for parents with autistic kids, especially if they are attending mainstream schools. The book is also a valuable aid to teachers. It portrays in a no holds barred way the effects of intimidation and the behavioral manifestations of bullying. Finally, Paul provides many constructive comments and guidelines as to how to improve the school system and teaches by example the positives of a supportive role by parents.

Source: Paul Isaacs: Living Through the Haze


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To Polly – A Friend – Thank You

 

To Polly A Friend

Words cannot plunder

The source of your wonder

A light in the bleak dark

Words that make their mark

A kindly soul with the gift to give

A balanced example of how to live

A humbling experience your facts and humour

Your words, pictures and  legacy will forever nearer and sooner

Empowerment 

What can I say? I often have wondered how to put into words how I feel about the impact that Polly has made on my life, the words, the support, the chuckles over our skype chats the personal and professional guidance that was given in the blink of an eye. She has helped broaden my professional career, empowered me to find myself and ultimately has given me invaluable tools.

Setting Examples 

The kindness and concern the building blocks shown by words and example and the insatiable zest for life and to “just be” in your own skin, to have fun, to be serious, to be balanced, to be caring, to be selfless, to be you, to understand me and other, to be giving and to be caring, to not put yourselves above and to finally find yourself and pave your own journey so you may have the tools to experience life anew. That is what I think when I will remember Polly a shining example of balance, breaking of barriers, retaining self, not selling out and creating her own path.

Connecting 

I meet Polly briefly in 2009 at a conference and connected with her on social media a few years later. I value her friendship because she showed me that relationships can be built on safe, secure and balanced foundations and to expect anything less is the time to move on and pave something new. I am fully aware people knew Polly far more than I did in terms of length of time and so forth. I would like to say that the impact she made on me and her continued friendship online put faith and self-belief back into a realistic and doable perspective.

I thank you Polly for giving me the tools to empower, for giving me hope, laughs, reality and solutions and just being you.

Nobody Nowhere – Paper Owl Films 

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Dr Who – The Invasion – DVD Review

 

This DVD is a 2-Disc Edition of The Invasion with two missing episodes which have been animated 

PLOT

The is an “Earth Story” and this would become a staple of the 3rd Doctor Era the title suggests the main plot of the story aliens that are preparing for a global invasion starting with the United Kingdom.

The main plot is an expansion on themes used in the Troughton “cyberstories” which includes the dangers of technology and how this has an effect on people, communication devices such as video links are used throughout preempting such devices that we take for granted now, as well as the political dangers of single force wanting to control the world. The cast are colourful, deep and imaginative with enigmatic performances, tight dialogue and atmosphere.

PICTURE 

The picture is sharp, detailed with a good deal of contrast and saturation although at times the picture is a tab soft probably due to age . I viewed this in HD upscaled 1080p 60 frames per second. Overall there is  higher clearer definition of picture quality.

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ANIMATED EPISODES

The animated episodes are well done with excellent attention to detail, sharp background contrasts, faithful character design and animation lends to the atmosphere of the serial in turns of camera direction which feels less cinematic and more faithful to how it would have looked and excellent job by Cosgrove Hall.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with few hisses and artifactual noise this is something that I have noted in Hartnell and Troughton era that attention by the Restoration Team is paid not only to the image but also the quality of sound which is of course is restricted by technology at the time.

CONCLUSION

This is really classic Troughton at its best a tight another tight endearing story by  Kit Pedler about technology, fabulous direction with stunning visuals and atmosphere, great memorable and enigmatic performances. One of my favorites.  Highly Recommended.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Paul Isaacs – Public Speaker, Trainer & Consultant On The Autism Spectrum Booking 2017

the-autism-show-2014-3Dear All

My names is Paul Isaacs and firstly welcome to my blog page and I hope you have found it of interest. I am a seasoned public speaker, trainer and consultant on the autism spectrum and have presented at national events and autism placements such as.

Over the past five years through the wonderful help of Donna Williams  I have set out to discover my autism “fruit salad” through her sage wisdom, kindness and energy she has not only empowered me as professional but as a person also and I will be forever grateful for the kindness shown. I am eager to empower and share her model of autism to others.

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I mould my speeches and presentations to what the person, organisations, placement and/or charity want/s and go from there here is an example of the topics discussed. I draw upon knowledge of my own developmental trajectory I have gathered and previous placements of have attended, the people and professionals I have met along the way.

  • Sensory Perceptual Disorders
  • Language Processing Disorders
  • Sensory Agnosias
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mental Health Conditions 
  • Personality Types 
  • Learning Styles
  • Environmental Issues  

Places I have Spoken For 

  • Specialist Autism Schools
  • Specialist Autism Residential Placements
  • Mainstream Schools & Education
  • Employment Services
  • Mental Health Placements
  • Learning Disability Nurses 
  • Autism Charities and Organisations 

Professionals Trained 

  • Police and PCSO 
  • Social Workers
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Speech & Language Therapists
  • Learning Disability Nurses
  • Mainstream Teachers
  • Specialist Education Teachers
  • Learning Support Assistants  

Other People Attended 

  • Parents
  • Family Members
  • People on the autism spectrum 

Consultancy

  • For people on the autism spectrum
  • Parents  

What People Have Said

 

I attended Paul’s talk at the “Autism and Participation” conference.  Paul’s talk explained, in an entertaining and powerful way, his extraordinary journey, from someone diagnosed as both deaf and blind (neither of which is true), to eventually getting a diagnosis of autism aged 24.

I found Paul’s explanation of his sensory needs and differences absolutely fascinating, and was particularly interested n the intensely personalised strategies Paul has developed over the years to help him to manage environments and situations which are challenging.  These include wearing wristbands to help him understand where his arms end, sensory equipment to prepare for meetings, as well as more traditional tools such as irlen lenses.  For me this exemplified how creative and individual the solutions to particular difficulties are likely to be.  This is a skill we need to develop in staff supporting those people on the spectrum who aren’t able to express their needs in the way Paul can. 

Paul’s ability to continue his presentation over the noise of an old, whirring projector was admirable, but eventually the challenge became too much, and some brave soul had to stand on a chair to switch it off.  This meant that though the noise had abated, Paul had to continue without his PowerPoint slides, which Paul managed admirably!

 Overall, I found Paul an engaging speaker who was able to adapt his presentation to the needs of the audience, and not only deliver a fascinating talk, but also really engage with the audience through his question and answer session.  – Carol Povey – NAS Director of the Centre for Autism, NAS Autism & Participation Event 2014

I have had the pleasure of seeing Paul Isaacs speak on two occasions, and as a Clinical Psychologist who has specialised in autism for the past 20 odd years, I can say that I have learned an enormous amount from him each time. Paul gives a unique perspective on autism, as a person with classic autism who has moved from being nonverbal to being extremely eloquent, Paul astonishes with his ability to succinctly describe both the joys  and the trials of having autism. He is also “laugh out loud” funny! Health and educational professionals, parents and family members as well as people on the autism spectrum will benefit from hearing him speak. I can highly recommend Paul to you. – Dr Michelle Garnett – Hearts & Minds – Asperger’s & Autism – 2 Day Conference 2014 

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Paul Isaacs 2017

 

 

 

 


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Dr Who – The Moonbase – DVD Review

 

 

This DVD is a The Moonbase with two missing episodes which have been animated 

PLOT

The plot revolves around the Doctor and his companions landing on the lunar surface were a complex weather station controls and maintains the weather of the entire world through gravitational pull. The cybermen are all but legend destroyed many years ago. However a mysterious illness is plaguing the base and eerie shadows reveal a familiar enemy.

The main plot deals with many interesting aspects of the future, a space station on the moon which is habitable, a weather station that controls and protects the people of earth and the jeopardy of this station failing mixed with whodunit esque subplot which brings both the Doctor and his companions into full and colourful characterisation.

Image result for dr who moonbase dvd

PICTURE 

The picture is sharp, detailed and well balanced with good colour saturation considering its age with. I viewed this in HD upscaled 1080p 60 frames per second. Overall there is  higher clearer definition of picture quality.

Image result for dr who moonbase dvd

ANIMATED EPISODES

The animated episodes are well done with good pathos and atmosphere which matches the feel of the other episodes, I would however say they went more for a cinematic feel in the terms of camera angles and shots which may divide fans. I enjoyed the visual renditions which do stay faithful to the overall character and set-pieces plus the cybermen look amazing and well detailed.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with a few artificial hisses and pops here and there overall a worthy and crisp audio considering its age dialogue is clear  as well as the nerve jangling and atmospheric score which is a treat to hear much like in in Tomb of the Cybermen.

CONCLUSION

With yet another gritty and ambitious story  and script by Kit Pedler about technology getting too advanced and going awry, fantastic set-pieces, sturdy characterisation of the main players and and interesting sub-plot this is Dr Who at its best. Highly Recommended.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Exorcist II: The Heretic – Looking back at the first Sequel

Exorcist2poster.jpg

The Exorcist is one movie that has gained a reputation as one of finest displays of horror with a gritty realism and stellar performances and special effects. It garnered much attention during its release and has succumbed to the annuals of movie history as one of the greatest movies of all time.

When John Boorman’s Exorcist II came along it was a box office failure and was not a hit with the audience they wanted. In his words the audience wanted “the same” and it wasn’t what they got for better or worse on reflection and will be revisiting Exorcist II: The Heretic and reevaluating it overall.

Characterisation

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You have priest Father Lamont who was a follower of the teaching of Father Merrin the priest in the first movie who died trying to save the young girl Regan from possession, a passionate man of faith he wants to clear the name of Merrin who was believed to have committed heresy during his last moments. The struggle of faith is apparent throughout the movie with redemption at the end.

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Regan’s characterisation is in many ways the centre of the movies bringing elements from the past, present and supposed future she a seer into the future and healer of souls the mix of old school faith and modern miracles one could see her as a modern day saint who has “powers” which cannot be explained by faith nor science but just are.

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Father Merrin is present in the ESP scenes and also the flashback sequences throughout the movie revealing that his heart attack was brought on by the demon pazuzu. It is revealed that 4o years prior that he had battle the demon in Africa an young man named Kokumo who like Regan possessed powers of healing and that evil and the locust swarm in the movie symbolised the eternal battle between good and evil, light and dark.

Image result for kokumo exorcist 2

Kokumo comes in three forms a young boy who was possessed then with Father Lamont’s travels to Africa he confronts him bearing the garb of the Locust setting a test of faith and belief by walking across a floor of spikes. Then he becomes a man of science who shows a great deal knowledge about locust swarms a scientist, accomplished and respected in his field. The bridging between faith and science, technology and mythology is seen in the character.

Image result for louise fletcher exorcist 2

Dr. Tuskin is a person of logical reasoning and scepticism she deals with therapy and psychology of young children with mental health conditions and developmental disabilities. The bridging between western philosophy and modern medicine is quite contradictory to the ESP machine that she has created and uses on Regan, Father Lamont and herself showing the past, present and potential future. The question of faith vs. science and many different variables in between are represented in her characterisation.

Plot

The plot is a hefty mixture with many different messages flowing in around the characters and situations. This is why Exorcist II didn’t perform as well as the first movie because Boorman’s presentation of the plot was dream-like, surreal and at times a form of hyper-reality to convey the message of science and religion, reality vs. hyper-reality, ESP vs. powers of healing, the complete opposite of The Exorcist. The movies style and direction has European feel to with giddy camera work, experimental special effects and sound design, heavy stylised lighting and a brilliant and rather moving score by Ennio Morricone the whole tone was different from onset and even thought the opening titles shared the same red font it is a very different movie.

Conclusion

Looking back Exorcist II is not as bad as initially thought it was going to be an ambitious feat for any person to try and content with the first movie but in many ways this sequel has a reality all of its own and its intriguing how it polarised audiences but on reflection it is well worth a viewing.


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Autism, Processing Emotions & Alexithymia

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Note this is from a personal perspective 

Alexithymia is a condition in which person cannot find words to express inner emotional feelings, now this doesn’t mean that the person is devoid or lacking in emotion however it can from a outside perspective look like that despite the inner mechanics being quite different.

FILTERING THROUGH EMOTIONS 

I shall give you a personal account of this and look at other potential factors. I have a processing and recognition delay of emotion feelings in the context of the event that has happened – in other words from the time the event has happened to the time I get a self response is delayed this can come in the form of

  • Words for the the bodily messages that I am feeling 
  • Being able to piece the situation together from a emotional standpoint
  • Talking and having a conversation about a situation that in real-time has long since past
  • Having raw emotions that through time, experience, awareness and age I am able to better filter them

As a teenager I would harm myself when these raw emotions would take hold like attacking one’s self for their own emotions because the person in question hasn’t yet pieced together they are coming from themselves this to me a that point in time a a paradox but a worthy one to working through.

OTHER FACTORS THAT COULD BE INVOLVED

Other factors would depend on the person’s autism profile and fruit salad that would have an impact on the presentation of alexithymia such as

  • Visual perceptual disorders and not having a visual memory to process people, situations, words and mentalise thoughts.
  • Language processing disorders such as aphasia and verbal auditory agnosia needing time to find and extract words that have inner meaning to the person.
  • Body disconnectivity and not sensing or perceiving their own bodily messages
  • Diet and food intolerances are undiagnosed food intolerances having an impact on their functioning?

Paul Isaacs 2017