This workshop is about Autism & Education. Hosted by Venessa Bobb.
Further Information & Reading
Paul Isaacs 2021
My autism dances with my personhood… and my personhood must also dance with my autism yet whilst not separable, nor are they interchangeable with each other.
Autism, Identity First Language, and Identity Blog 2014
When someone is diagnosed with autism? Are there other aspects we have to consider?
So for example if someone sees there whole being as “Autistic” is that accurate? helpful? Should we be allowing this to happen?
Paul Isaacs 2020
Humility, Humanity, and Rhetorics
Laura Corker thank you for sharing sadly this treatment very common (common does not mean right, moral, acceptable) and nor should time be used as a reason or excuse.
This open, honest and saddening blog I feel helps explain my reasonings, for it is when people are reduced to being seen as one thing that the wheels of injustice begin to turn.
Autism, Identity and Historical Underpinnings
Frames of reference change from centuries to decades etc. People wonder why as person on the autism spectrum why I want to be seen as a person first and foremost.
To seen as a person, to be seen as a human being, to have healthy acknowledgment of one’s abilities and disabilities.
If we strip militancy and autism politics then I feel more realities will be touched with the depthful knowledge of shared realities.
Echoed within the eternal halls of telling that the mind scriptures do not become dust but are laid bare for futures to come.
Paul Isaacs 2020
by Paul Isaacs
The last ten years have been very intersting in 2009 I was recently out of the Mental Health Services with two personality disorders, auditory hallucinations and psychosis, I was self harming and attempted suicide.
By clinical observations I was serverely autistic, I was profoundly meaning deaf, meaning blind, body disconnected, oral apraxic and didn’t gain functional speech till later in infancy. I was and am thankful to my parents who had no means of any interventions (in the late 80s many were dated).
In 2010 I was diagnosed with autism and OCD and my speaking career started off in which I went freelance in 2015.
“Standards of Success”
By “non-autistic” standards I “made it” in many ways I suppose. I was considered “retarded” by the village I lived in and was targeted and bullied by the children and adults till my mid-teens.
I was targeted and bullied at school from primary to secondary when I finally left in 2002 (with an isolated incident of sexual abuse) in the latter.
I went on to do an ICT coursecfor a year and had the greatest experience of my life from and educational perspective it proved I could be educated.
Bullying and Employment
The bullying in employment started in 2002/3 so multiple jobs were lost and gained.
I was thankful to the autism base in Chinnor in around 2008/9 for supporting me as well as the start of my speaking career in 2010. Over that period of time I wrote and authored 5 books.
The bullying in employment stopped in 2015 when I went freelance and started working for My World.
This is longest time in employment that I have been safe, comfortable and seen as a part of the team.
I Am A Person-First
People wonder why I use “person-first language” this is why because I do not want to be defined by a “label”. I do not like serperatist “them and us, us and them” rhetoric we (as beings) are all a part of the human race
From 2013 onwards to now I am pleased to have met some of the most wonderful and friendly people in both my personal and professional life.
Love and Life
I lost my Gramp in March 2017 due to metatastic prostate cancer, one of my dearest friends and mentors Polly (Donna Williams) in April that year also to metatastic breast cancer and my Nan in December 2019 due to pneumonia. I shall always cherish my fondest memories of them.
I have had great fun dabbling in art, poetry and what I call “insta-modelling” in which to my surprise and support from my friends up north has been rather enjoyable!
I have been interested in androgyny for many years prior and have been told I look as such.
One of things I can do well is pluck my eyebrows which I consider an achievement as much as anything else! 😉
So look beyond what is here, look beyond what is heard, what is seen, what is touched and sense people because every cherished little person is special and of equal valor and humility in this world.
Paul Isaacs 2020
I have never seen all of my being as autistic because the word is an adjective a describing word of an experience.
Autism is not ALL it is PART OF I see myself as a person a patchwork quilt made of many things. Autism just “is” I am neither proud nor ashamed. I seek balance not objectification. 😊
Paul Isaacs 2019
Please see info on this weeks guest. Paul is speaking again at 1pm today (06/03/2019)
My guest this week for Women’s Radio Station was one of our Charity Ambassadors Paul Isaacs. Paul is an autistic trainer, speaker, consultant and blogger. He has co-authored several books including Life through a Kaleidoscope and Living through the Haze.Paul has released and published 5 books on the subject of autism published by Chipmunka publishing and has contributed to other books too. Having overcome many challenges to achieve the success that he now enjoys, Paul’s message is that Autism is a complex mix of ability and disability. He firmly believes that every Autistic person should have the opportunity to reach their potential and be regarded as a valued member of society.
Paul shares :
Yesterday I spoke to Anna Kennedy at the Women’s Radio show in London the first question she asked was the road to being diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In 2007 I was sent to the local mental health team in which I was misdiagnosed with “Aspergers traits with a complex personality” I found out later looking through my medical records during this period that I was diagnosed with schizotypal and borderline personality disorders I was also suffering at this point in time from psychosis and auditory hallucinations.
In 2010 I was diagnosed formally with autism and OCD by a psychiatrist the key to this process was the caring and connecting nature in which he allowed our myself and my parents to talk about the difficult and challenging aspects of my past which included current difficulties with professionalism and humility.
Anna went on to talk about what the educational system was like for me I was born in 1986 and went through mainstream education to which many problems arose it was more to do with the the frame of reference the teachers had rather than them doing me deliberate harm. Everything was distorted, fragmented both visually and from a language perspective. People making phonic noises at one another, shapeless form less people, near and far, here nor there. I was hyperactive and didn’t seem to the connect with the world around me. If I had been diagnosed at this point it would have been of classic autism due to higher levels of visual-verbal processing challenges, language processing disorder and expressive communication challenges.
I found solace in water to which I was fascinated by and flushing toilets looking at the flow of water in amazement getting lost in it, becoming it and not wanting on a subconscious level to let go it was a friend of sorts always there when I needed him.
Anna followed on by asking me about how my parents coped what they done to help me despite not having a formal diagnosis at this time. Headteachers at primary school had noted behaviourally issues, being shy and difficulties with handwriting and using a pen. My parents all through primary and secondary school did not find solutions from these meetings because it was always “Paul cannot” with no alternative being put in its place.
So my parents treated me as a child a little adult, they allowed me to experience the world around me not making part of it small but going out cycling, walking, swimming, going out restaurants and holidays. They instilled that in me that I was apart of the world not centre of it, that failure is a normal part of life and that in the end can be the best version of yourself.
Anna asked about what I do in my free time I like to create mostly through the mediums of poetry, creating writing and art these things I find very relaxing and connect with my on a emotive level it grounds my thoughts, feelings and expands my experiences with other people also. I like meeting up with friends which I do twice monthly at a local restaurant I value all their friendships deeply. I have also made friendships up north with The Kings Sharon and her family have been great to be around with as well as a friend in London who shares many creative vibes with.
Anna asked about my tinted lenses and what the function of them are. They help me bring coherence to the world around me binding it together without them everything becomes shattered and all the pieces do not come together. seventy percent of information is visual so if you think about how much one takes in through that one sense and if in my case the inability to perceive faces, objects, places etc the are a great aid for me to not only walk around the visual world but be able to hand the incoming information and store it in a more calmy fashion.
Anna finally talked about the “autism fruit salad” I explained to her about the late Donna Williams a lady on the autism spectrum who will be greatly missed because she touched so many people’s lives in profound and brilliant ways. Donna was a trailblazer and in many ways ahead of her time while other people are being militant about what autism “is” and “isn’t” the fruit salad explains that autism is a patchwork quilt of differing factors such as information processing, identity and personality, mental health, learning styles and environmental factors. “Autism” in affect doesn’t have a “look” with regards the “Asperger’s syndrome” removal in the DSM 5 I feel that did they understand the mechanics of the condition?
Donna wrote a brilliant blog about the differences between “Aspie and Autie Fruit Salads” which means from her observations as a consultant it seems that people with a diagnosis of AS seem to be literal, logical and process internally while people with Autism are less literal, less logical and processing things externally and then of course what about the “Aspinauts” people who are dipping into both worlds? I like Donna’s ability to always think about side of the box she was so kind and giving.
The future for autism I feel is to ditch the stereotypes, politics, rhetoric and nonsense the burns more bridges than it builds, let’s start by looking at autism realities for all, striking up healthy and balanced dialogues, lets learn from people different experiences and be humble with it.
If you would like to book Paul as speaker, trainer and/or consultant please contact him via email at
Paul Isaacs Freelance Autistic Speaker, Trainer, Consultant & Author
In a sometimes mind boggling world of shallow, narrow cucumber minded folk. Remember to be the person you want to be, when you close your eyes, wake up, make breakfast and go to work.
Short and timely travels within a flesh vessel of chemicals, minerals, fluids and too many a complication to bubble upon the cooking fat of existence.
I do no t adhere to clubs of a singular mentality for sometimes a heard can lead the blinkered people towards darkly paths of anxiety and self recriminations.
So I say crumble the falsehoods of separation, for they create longer bridges of acceptance to cross, know you are one person with the ability of helpfulness to share love upon everyone.
Paul Isaacs 2019
A moving and delightful movie and about two men on the autism spectrum who are both “functionally non-verbal” finding their voices through facilitated and typed communication. Debunking the myths that people who cannot speak with their mouths are “retarded” or “intellectually disabled”.
Tracy and Larry are best of friends and their passion for advocacy leads them to meeting others around the globe who are also yearning and fondly sharing their experiences and voices with a wider audience, showing great empathy, compassion, introspection and deepness through the words that they write to a wider audience. Bringing people into their world and inviting others to think, reflect and reevaluate what “autism” and “intelligence” even look like. Showing great feats of creativity.
There is warmth, humour, sadness and hope sometimes all at once when listening the candid words and hopefully the viewer will come out of this experience with greater level of acceptance and make less assumptions about what is going on on the “inside”. Please all presume competence.
I highly recommend this DVD.
Paul Isaacs 2017
If people are representing one has to think about is it for other people? Self-service? Advocacy? Empowerment? Information sharing?
Militancy Is it “Normal”?
If militancy is perceived as the norm then who is that actuality helping? Assisting? Or otherwise is this the new phase that becomes relevant before it becomes redundant and passe?
The leader of their group replied in a tone lacking in warmth, ‘it would have been better without any NTs present‘. The others chimed in in support of him. Alienated, I left them to it.
Later when they were buddying up with more of the same separatist rhetoric and there was a tone to it that sat uncomfortably with me, a tone I’d heard before, in hierarchical non-autie children in playgrounds once upon a time (where I’d also known nice ones).
I had to let this group know that I simply don’t do bigotry… that my non-autie friends are not typical, mundane, boring or expendable and that I refuse to use any derogatory term that hints they are such, such as ‘NT‘.
As you can imagine, they were quite taken aback. I was meant to ‘understand’. I was meant to be ‘one of them’. But if ‘one of them’ meant I was meant to hang out in a group and dislike or disrespect another group, and share this as ‘belonging’ and ‘shared culture’ and ‘shared understanding’ then this wasn’t ‘me’.
If this is the case what example is being set? By noting ones perceived superiority or “specialism” over others is still bigotry, separatism and creates more waves of the old “them and us” which doesn’t represent inclusion, empowerment, reality-sharing or otherwise. Which burns bridges more bridges than it claims to build.
The Word “NT” It Isn’t Helpful
I have come to believe that the word “NT” is not only unhelpful and has been projected in such a way that would imply that other people who fit this “label” are “typical” therefore one could perceive that word as “boring”. I find this not only hypocritical but also a mystery because in truth there is no such thing as a “neurotypical”.
Autism “Culturism and Militancy”
One cannot cherry pick what autism is and isn’t as a shared collective that is same for everybody in the truth autism in its presentation and reality is different for each person so in order to advocate and empower you have to be aware that the only reality you can share is your own and be humble and conscious enough to say that. To allow other people’s realities to relevant you cannot speak for all, to empower you cannot project “reality sameness” because no human being is the same.
No One Should Be Defined As One “Label”
Can anybody be defined by one factor? Can anybody describe themselves in one word? I do not define myself by my “autism” it is certainly apart me but it isn’t the driving factor at all. When I was born I was born a human being and all that comes with it I live as a human being. There is much to be said about in the end being emotionally grounded, considerate and realistic.
Egalitarianism – The Way Forward
Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning ‘equal’) – or equalitarianism – is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people.Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status,
My wish is that in order for this to work people must consider all realities, perspectives, opinions and input in a constructive manner that is overall beneficial.
Paul Isaacs 2017
SEEING “PIECES” IN OTHERS
As odd as it may sound people can have “pieces” of what can someone on the autism spectrum. This year I want to an event in Cardiff and spoke towards the end of the speech I asked if people in the audience related so some of the issues around autism presented many put their hands up. These people weren’t on the autism spectrum but the could relate to the some of “pieces” I had been describing.
“SUB CLINICAL” ASPECTS & SPECIFIC ISSUES FOR THAT PERSON
This is because “autism” is made of pieces and these pieces differ from person to person that means that different “expressions” and “presentations” will be shown. So if people who are considered “sub-clinical” or as having “traits” what help is there for them?
The question I would say is what do you relate to? How does it present itself? What help is there for those people whose issues maybe considered not important but at the same time have a significant impact in certain areas of functioning.
With this increased awareness could mental health services and other professionals be able to help diagnose people with these issues?
MY AUTISM “FRUIT SALAD” 2016
WILL THE WORD AUTISM BE USED IN THE FUTURE?
Each “piece” of my “autism” has its own reality and function some of them you may well be able to recognise others you may not. By saying that “autism” is one thing (and can then only be owned within that group) when people with acquired brain injury, strokes, cerebral palsy, genetic syndromes can inter relate to these issues presented (and may well have or have not have autism in mix) it really begs the question will the term autism be used in the future?
I spoke to a neurologist some years ago who said in 20 to 30 years the word will not be used and instead the pieces of that person’s profile would be diagnosed instead this would certainly be progression for people with autism and also others who have “pieces” to.
Paul Isaacs 2016