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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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Living Through The Haze: 2nd Edition

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When I wrote Living Through Haze in 2012 it was a journey of finding out why I ticked the way I did and what that meant to me it was year in the making and I thankful for it being published to help other son the spectrum and professionals.

I was also glad that I got a foreword by Dr. Michael Layton the psychiatrist who diagnosed me in 2010 with keen introspection he is in many ways the opening of the book a precursor to the journey.

Now in 2016 I feel I have gained a lot of new worldly experiences and wanted to update part of my book which I felt needed to be. With the kind help of Tracy Kilner who is on the autism spectrum she assisted in the editing process with multicaulis attention to grammar, punctuation and  sentence formation.

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The next was an Afterword by Dr. Manuel Casanova who reviewed the 1st Edition of my book  he clearly illustrates what can learned from a person’s experiences and how that can be a foundation for the future, he also in no holds barred fashion clearly demonstrates the emotional  and mental health difficulties that have happened due to circumstances difficulties during my life.

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The next person is James Billett he diagnosed me in 2012 with visual perceptual disorders and gives a formal introduction to the book using statistics and reflecting on what can be learned from the reading this book.

Other elements included additional chapters and the expansion of the “autism fruit salad” section of my book.

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The final person who I would like thank in the process of this book is Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) as you know I have written many blogs, articles and presentations in conjunction with her extensive work in the field of autism. I would not know anything about he mechanics of my autism with her kindly help during the early 2010s. I would not be able to speaker in such away about my autism or autism in general without help. I value her professional input, caring nature and friendship.

My family and friends have always been there during times of need and I value and cherish their company and being the rocks that they are.

LIVING THROUGH THE HAZE 2ND EDITION PAPERBACK 

LIVING THROUGH THE HAZE 2nd E-BOOK 

Paul Isaacs 2016