Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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The Journey To Functional Language

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Note this is from a personal percpetive

There is a percentage of people on the autism spectrum who overcome a level of severe language processing disorder. I have been diagnosed with autism in 2010 at the age of 24. My trajectory was a wobbly one part of my autism was brain damage at birth (left hemisphere) which meant receptive and expressive language was impaired this was a RECEPTIVE & EXRPRESSIVE APHASIA, I was sleepy baby and my Mum notices differences at about 6 months old. My language impaction was a mixture of neurological and in early infancy environmental.

I had speech and language DELAYS as part of my language journey this included missing MILESTONES, and then I had TRAUMA which was do with having adenoidectomy and circumcision. I had ORAL APRAXIA which meant that words at times expressively where a jumbled mess. I was echolalic, echopraxia and echomimic TV shows; VHS you name was stored phrases, movements and sequences. I had roughly between 80- 90% meaning deafness up till the age of 7/8 years old. When a level of functional speech which “my own” it felt stilted, “alien” and non-fluent and garnered from my perspective a lot of unwanted attention so I went into bouts of SELECTIVE MUTISM through my late infancy. Visual perception had an impact of PICTURE/WORD association meaning I was largely kinaesthetic due to by object and meaning blind – SIMULTAGNOSIA and SEMANTIC AGNOSIA.

Now as an adult I would say I am residual being about 30-40 % meaning deaf, tinted lenses have helped my make simple but dramatic visual associative contexts although I still struggle to know the difference between a toaster and a bread bin! ūüėČ I someone speaks to quickly, background noise, doesn’t use gesture and/or objects of reference I may well pick up the words but not glue the “meaning” to them.

I have functional speech but it can still tumble and become laboured due to fatigue and residual aspects of ORAL APRAXIA and my social emotional world is tapped into INTROSPECTIVELY through art and poetry. I still live in a system of SENSING the unknown “KNOWNINGNESS” which means that I perceive far more than I know until it is “out there” on paper form then feed it back to myself and understand what is going on! My mind is like confetti but I have overcome many obstacles due to autism, developmental delay, language processing and visual perception.

Paul Isaacs 2018

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Autism, Words, Aphasia, Body & Visual Agnosias

Sound Asleep

Note this is from a personal perspective

Aphasia and Words

Words in my mind felt ethereal, transient and distant the internal garbel of sounds, pitches, tones, hums and inflection as if my unconscious mind was trying so desperately to find the words, string the sentences anew to project and receive in “real-time” on some level I believe in my later years that is what I was trying to do. The jumble of a “salad of letters” in my mind could be found and then lost in equal measure.

Oral Apraxia and Word Finding and Formation

The functional element of my speech was delayed in both speech and language the aphasia was both receptive and expressive in nature with a high instance of anomia (word finding). The other element is oral apraxia which rendered me unable to form the words I would find leaving me disconnected and frustrated.

Receptive Aphasia, Body Agnosia & Associated Visual Agnosias

The¬†receptive element of speech for example someone talking to me was the same external garbel as was in my mind a silent war between expresser and receiver trying to find clarity amongst the hidden mist of miscommunication. ¬†The inability to perceive my own body meant a level of internal groundedness was ¬†not their and context was missed time and time again. I relied on the touch, taste, smell, texture these feelings gave me a context to grab onto and create an association it is no surprise to me that my Mum through I was deaf and blind because that is exactly how I was behaving my language processing and sensory perceptual systems (visual agnosias) were so scrambled the credible and most importantly meaningful option was to “feel to think”, “feel to relate”, “feel to connect”, “feel to be”, “feel to extract” and the list goes on.

Creating My Own Language

Before interpretative language sets one could be creating their own language through association, things they have heard and seen on the television, jingles on the radio or other stands of information that bears relevance to an event and/or emotional meaningful response. In my case this was form of communication which looked meaningLESS to the listener but was meaningFUL to me as the expresser.

Memory and Internal Mentalising 

A memory with no associative images for words and no words for images meant my style of learning and integrating was not logical in nature nor literal this is secondary reason why my language and visual-verbal processing was delayed and slower, however as the years progressed I was building up a slow repertoire to words and my functional speech came around 7/8 years old this was expressively and developmentally in terms of content and formation of a 3 year old this new “voice” at times rendered me equally mute and frustrated.

Conclusion

Looking at the broader instance of different aspects that make up language processing difficulties in autism one needs to look at what is making the difficulties piece by piece, how that has an impact on the person and then work on positive and empowering and meaningful interventions.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Having Classic Autism, Speech, Language & Moving My Arms Like Donna Williams

 Paul Baby Picture 1988

 

Tony Attwood and Michelle Garnett were presenting at an Autism Oxford Event (a 2 day conference) РMy Presentation was My Journey to an Autism Diagnosis.

This my personal perspective of Autism and how it affects me

“CLASSIC” AUTISM, VISUAL, AUDITORY PERCEPTUAL DISORDERS AND LANGUAGE

I have¬†Classic autism¬†(as opposed to AS) – I look at people from with AS afar in admiration for the qualities they bring to the world – Like¬†Donna Williams¬†I live in a world where¬†Visual agnosias &¬†Auditory agnosias make sounds fun… and scary and images fragmented… artistic but at times confusing living in a world¬†BEFORE interpretive meaning I treat my expressive language I use now as my foreign/2nd language which I have learnt to use (because¬†Apraxia of speech,¬†Speech delay,Language delay¬†&¬†Aphasia).

CONNECTING WITH THE WORLD

Hands are my tools for “seeing”, licking, sniffing, tapping, rubbing – I asked the audience to think internally visualise a table I can’t because of semantic agnosia I must “feel” and “experience” a table

GESTURAL LANGUAGE AND NO VISUAL MEMORY 

Communicating and connecting before expressive functional speech was sounds, clicks, movements to convey communication (still my primary form of communication in my head I had loads to say) – Tony commented on how I move my arms like Donna’s that is because like her I paint a picture/movie/communication through my arms and hands moulding as I talk images in real time which helps me get my words out to externally express what is trying to come out internally.

Paul Isaacs 2014