This workshop is about Autism & Education. Hosted by Venessa Bobb.
Further Information & Reading
Paul Isaacs 2021
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
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
I first met the Kings in 2016 this was somewhat of an interesting meeting of minds, I was nervous it was my first speech/training session as a freelance speaker and it was in Telford at a National Autsitic Society Event. Her daugther Rosie diagnosed with Asperger’s Sydnrome was introducing the speakers in the main hall. I had seen Sharon and her family over the years on social media.
She was in the audience during one of my sessons and we sat down during one of the intervals to chat with her daughter Rosie. They were both very warm, friendly and welcoming I then went to their home the same year to do consultancy sessions with her son and daughter Lenny who was diagnosed with classic autism and Daisy who was diagnosed with Kabuki Syndrome.
It was a pleasure to meet them all including Sharon’s husband Richard who with their charming and down to earth manner it was had left me with a positive and reflective on impression and we have became all beomce friends. Sharon has since of 2017 publised a book “How To Best Help An Autism Mum.”
What would you like staff to know about people with autism?
That each person with autism is an individual. Anyone who believes themselves to be an autism expert needs to get humble and go back to learning. The greatest barrier to learning is the assumption that we know everything.
What support benefited you the most as a Mum?
The greatest support has come from my children and othet individuals with autism who I have befriended. An arena of respect is where the best parenting happens. X
I think. One of the most helpful things I have learned is not to take Daisy and Lenny’s behaviours personally. It is quite freeing. Ie ~ ‘this is happening, how can I deal with it?’ As opposed to ‘this is happening to me…poor me!’
Yes I agree ever take things on the personal because it largely isn’t even the swearing and being bitten doesn’t bother once you know where it comes from.
Yeh like rubbing crap (with regards to smearing) into radiator nor personal ~ just a bit smelly! X
Haha Humour is an ally! I used to urinate in the bath in my infancy I liked how the colour changed in the water I also got confused and would treat my bath as a “very large toilet” it looked like a duck, sounded like a duck so I thought it was a duck no? That is context blindness
At least you admit to it lots of ppl do it in secret! X
I think with Lenny it stems from a genuine interest and delight in textures x
Sensory perception yes
Its been a very interesting chat as always Sharon as there certainly is a positive an objective theme going on here with your permission could I use your answers on a blog? This then can be put on your page.
Copied with kind permession of Sharon King
Paul Isaacs 2018
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
I had the honor of connecting with Sydney on Facebook recently, and I admire her for her positivity, keen learning and emotive and emotional writing through her poetry and wise words that all people should read/hear/experience. She has presented speeches, written a book of poetry entitled “The Purple Tree – And Other Poems” with a Foreword By Donna Williams in 2010 and also a film “My Name is Sydney”.
She values her personhood she wants to recognised for being “Syndey” and all which that entails, she gives a reflective and empowering message that all forms of communication are valid and that everyone has the right to be listened too.
Thank for sharing your words with the world Sydney people are listening and people are empowering. 🙂
THE PURPLE TREE – AMAZON.COM
Paul Isaacs 2014