Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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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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Autism – Visual Perception, Language, “Self” & “Other” & Connecting

Note – This is from a personal perspective of how autism affects me

Wedding Photos 19861Connecting with Parents

In the early years I remember my parents by parts their being, my Mum would be through the feel of her hair and my Dad through sculpting his face and getting a sense of connectivity through tactile stimulus – the system of “sensing” and “energy” that filled the house was care and love.

Family Pets

We had a dog and that was my first experiences of having an animal I liked him very much and could us me tactile system to “piece together all the dots” through stroking him, in affect he was as much “family” as a had through the lenses of my “parents” the energy was good and safe on both counts I didn’t need to understand why? internalise? It just was at in this point of my development that was fine. I knew they loved me but it was “sensing the love” and that was shown back.

Quinn and IAwareness Of Other People

Today I was asked when I was aware of other people – I had to think about this it was at school in Year 4 that on basic level I was aware of others this may have been due to gaining functional speech (that was developmentally of a 3 year old) and the connects I was trying to make in a body that was just about obeying my commands, a mind swilling with words but finding it hard to grasp them like sand through my fingers or as ethereal as trying to connect touch-wise with a ghost and endless mirage of sounds, hums and tones which I struggled to into words – living before the literal can be just as much a confusing place as being (language wise) a literal person

“Self” & “Other”

Developmentally from a receptive language perspective am stuck in projecting “self” or “receiving” other, but ( struggle still in real-time to have a conversation in the moment, before I gained functional speech I had “patterned” and/or “sensing” speech/language creating my own words for feelings and I also used to sense “good” and “bad” energy this was living in world before the literal and/or significant. I still use this system today despite being able to speak verbally. A “sense of self” is a complex thing I have garnered the basics a few years ago which to me is good. I still can “tune out” but I hope to get there we are all on a journey. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2015


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Strategies For The “Pieces” of My Autism Using Donna Williams’ Fruit Salad Analogy

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

Note – That this is from a personal perspective of my profile and what makes up “my autism”

Here are all the pieces of my Autism broken down into bits and chucks with a personal perspective on each bit and personal strategies that have helped me over the years.

Expressive Agnosias

Alexithymia

This is an issue with processing one’s own emotions it affects about 85 percent of people on the autism spectrum and is experienced on different levels depending on how one is affected and what moods create the issue.

Personal Perspective

For me emotions come outside in and not inside out they are an invasion a wave of energy that is uncontrollable, invisible and scary – negative emotions take longer to process and configure as well – for example it took my 3 whole years to process (emotionally) that I was being bullied at work everybody else knew I didn’t. I a wave of energy hit me that night as I cried uncontrollably with the realisation of what happened again it took 3 years. As a teenager I would tense my face up and self-harm in the form of knuckling my cheeks, slapping my legs and hitting my arms in confusion and disconnect.

Strategies

  • Paul what are the origins of your feelings (helping me find a starting point)
  • Paul are these feelings environmental (situational) or is this not
  • Use objects of reference and gestural language and representation to explain

Receptive/Expressive Language & Movement Issues (Speech & Communication)

Aphasia

There are many different forms of aphasia which affect both expressive and receptive communication

Personal Perspective 

Sounds and language intermingled and became indisputable I would react with glee and find these “sounds” that people made and tilt my head in wonderment, perplexed and even intrigued by these “sounds” this was at pre-school – event now receptive language is difficult for me (words process back into sounds meaning deafness)

Strategies

  • Clipped telegraphic language
  • Tone and overt melody
  • Gestural language – creating movements which connect with the words like a play
  • Allowing processing time

Speech Delay

BewdjULCYAAzv0H Personal Perspective

Swirling sounds and words in my head – I had problems with expressive speech for about the first five years I had no functional language in head for many years – I would have moments of clarity, moments of language which slowly progressed but no one saw because of my external behaviours I had limited words within my head which progressed – no one should be written off if they don’t have expressive speech, I heard things in the playground and slowly processed them and because of how I appeared it looked like I didn’t hear/understand.

Strategies 

  • Word and sound play
  • Movement
  • Not presumed incompetence

Language Delay 

Personal Perspective

At around the ages of 7/8 years old I gained functional expressive speech of (from a developmental perspective a 3 year old) – with the receptive and expressive language disconnect I had issues with understanding to express and equally expressing to understand. This lead to confusion with not only myself but others around me Speech Apraxia (Verbal Dyspraxia) also compacted the issue (coordination of  the mouth and tongue and jaw muscles to extract speech) this was prevalent until late infancy in my CAMHS  (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) notes speech production was at times heard to understand.

Strategies 

  • Clipped Telegraphic Language
  • Gestural language (both from myself and speaker)
  • Word, Sentence & Language play (use of syntax, meaning, word production, sentence connections)
  • Contextualisation of words

Selective Mutism – (once functional speech was acquired)

During late infancy and early teenage-hood I had bouts of mutism (having the ability to speak but because of anxiety would not) this included – people who I sensed were non genuine, too much expressive language from speaker (meaning deafness) so unable to give an answer that was contextually correct.

Strategies

  • Understanding the origins of the mutism (social anxiety, exposure anxiety, OCD obsessive compulsive disorder, language processing disorder, social phobia etc)
  • Boosting self-confidence – such as in my cases drawings and exercise
  • Understanding the receptive and expressive communication profile

Tic Disorder  & Globus Pharyngis – 8 Years old – was called a “Nervous Throat”

Personal Perspective

In mid to late infancy I had what was termed a nervous throat this was to do with the “feeling” or an obstruction in my throat causing me to in a tic-like fashion make a loud “Hum!” and “ahem!” sound.

Strategies

  • What are the places of anxiety in one’s life that has caused this
  • Making me aware of when I was doing this sound

Echophenomena

Personal Perspective

Sounds, patterns, themes, feeling, movement and experiencing this world, people and place. I don’t use elaborate constructions but do and sense in order to perceive, understand an process I don’t live in a world of literalism nor logic as basis of “concrete” understanding – even now that form of and basis of understanding things, people, environments etc.

Strategies

  • Movies (focusing on the sounds, movements and expressions)
  • Music (tone, melody and rhyming)
  • Observing surroundings and contextualisation

Visual Agnosias

 Personal Experience 

I see faces (face blindness), bodies and visual environment as fragmented (object blindness) which also meant I could not see body language or facial expression , flat tursh and without depth or meaning (meaning blindness) not understanding self and other of what is around me for example it took me until 16 years old to understand that when I looked in the mirror firstly I was looking at myself (although I still get a level of disconnect) and that what “seems to be in front of me” is in reality behind me. My visual perceptual systems have layered effect on what I see and interpret.

Strategies 

  • Sculpting objects in my space this would including licking, sniffing, mouthing as a way to externalise the object making it real for me this help me map out my space
  • Preference for having no shoes of socks on in my youth and around the house (patterning movements)
  • Sculpting faces remembering and connecting with someone by touching their face (I have only done that to 7 people in my lifetime to date)
  • Having objects on display not “hidden” because I don’t have visual memory so placement is important
  • Recognising people by sensing their patterns of movement and their voice
  • Tinted lenses help with sensory integration, moving in visual space, depth perception, body language, posture and confidence

Auditory Agnosias/Aphasia

Personal Perspective

Hearing sounds environmental with no on origin (auditory agnosias) hearing words as “sounds” (verbal auditory agnosia/receptive aphasia) missing tone, sarcasm, idioms not because of literalism but because of how much language I can process before I “hear” nothing.

Strategies 

  • Telegraphic language and clipped words for the origins of environmental sounds (auditory agnosias)
  • Telegraphic and gestural language – being overt, pantomime like in expression, tone and melody
  • Music, rhythmic beats and movement help my brain “work”

Body Disconnection

Personal Perspective

Not being connected to my body means that pain is not recognised as well as a sense of my own body its inter-connectivity and its connection (as a whole form) around the world around me, I appeared odd to bouts of trauma having a tooth almost knocked out (an elbow to the mouth) was me with indifference to pain but shock and sadness at the blood (this element coming out of me) and a dislocated arm was met with anger and confusion because of the lack of movement not the pain. During times of mental illness I self-harmed both my arms not “knowing when to stop”  and as a child I didn’t have knowledge of my fingers (my limbs also rolled into one another as if they didn’t exist).

Strategies

  • Pressure points around my body – bracelets on wrists, tight shoes, belt, jacket and/or shirt and long hair tied back (adding pressure getting a sense of my head)
  • As a young child smearing paint, moulding play dough and sifting sand (to get a sense of my “foreign fingers”)
  • Messy play as a child
  • Dental appointments (for me this is form of sensory integration and very relaxing) 🙂

Dissociative Disorders – Recognised  in 2012/Revised 2014

Personal Perspective

In late infancy I started to dissociate as coping mechanism during these years and for many after taking myself away from both the situation and environment, persistent bullying during my educational and work years didn’t help the issue and I “created” personas (with strong reactionary personality profiles) to deal with this. I developed PTSD some years ago reliving an abusive incident that happened in my mid teenager years.

Strategies 

  • Understanding that dissociation is on a spectrum from daydreaming to higher frequencies and detachment of you the person and/or the environment you are in.
  • Therapy that includes mapping memory, incidents, personas and coping mechanisms
  • Understanding trigger responses
  • Personal origins of dissociation

Mental Health

Personal Perspective 

I started to develop OCD in my early teenager years this was persistent and would resulted in hand washing, placement moving and plug and switch checking, door-slamming and checking. Exposure anxiety was to do with an involuntary response to direct exposure interaction this would lead me to run away literally (or in my mind). Like many people on the spectrum I advocate the personhood first in the late 2000s I developed two distinct personality disorders (extreme versions of my “normalised” personality traits.

Strategies

  • Origins of OCD – in my case this was fear of the house being burned down, burglary,  germs and confirmation, and invasive illness that would lead to pain and/or death
  • Indirect confrontation for exposure anxiety talking away from me, talking about me but allowing me to hear it and integrate it without being in the mix
  • Knowing personality its traits and extremes (disordered versions of “normalised” versions/traits)

Learning Difficulties

Personal Perspective

Words swilling in my head I found them hard to process and strand together as words formed in my head over time I found it hard to translate them onto the page, the same with numbers which don’t swill in my head I found it hard to grasp numbers their meaning and their interpretation and their overall function.

Strategies

  • Clipped sentences – one stage at a time
  • Pens with extra grip (fine motor movements)
  • Alternate ways of writing
  • Function and context of what number “mean”

Auto-Immune

Candida Albicans

Personal Perspective

Many foods would make me fill ill both in body and mind causing me to have brain fog, lack concentration and further hinder my processing and integration of information from my surroundings, language and sounds.

Strategies

  • Understand foods, their content and what ingredients they have in them
  • Piecing  together what foods are making you ill, unwell and have brain fog
  • Piecing together what foods you can have that don’t make you ill

Other

Personal Perspective

This can be related to anxiety it is the slow stripping of enamel making them look “smooth” and/or “chipped” in appearance I have this with many teeth on one side of mouth

Strategies

  • For me regular checks at the dentist and a gum guard at night has helped with issue
Dr Casanova

      Dr Casanova

Genetics – Developmental Agnosias & Minicolumns

Some agnosias, sensory hypersensitivity, sensory integration disorders and many other conditions and syndrome can be passed down and can be seen as congenital in nature how the brain has grown with genetic encoding  – Neurologist  Dr Manuel Casanova calls this Minicolumns please take a look at this blog about his research and findings

AUTISM & MINICOLUMNS

PERSONAL WEBSITE

PERSONAL BLOG SITE

Donna Williams 2011

  Donna Williams

Donna Williams – Autism as a “Fruit Salad”

Donna is quite correct in letting the world know that autism is a “clustering” of different conditions (both neurological and metabolic systems), syndromes, personhood and personality extremes, environment, mental health and learning styles. No one person with autism is the same and that means there is a high level of diversity to their which is good.

WHAT IS AUTISM? BLOG

AUTISM & ASPERGERS “FRUIT SALADS”

PERSONAL WEBSITE

Premature 1

                         Me Premature

Brain Injury Relates To My Autism Profile

Having brain injury at both has also had an impact on my autism presentation I was born premature and through placental abruption, cerebral hypoxia, silent stroke and damage the left hemisphere of the brain (which is related to aphasia, language processing, visual agnosias, simultagnosia, apraxias and  visual spatial functioning)

HYPOXIA & BRAIN INJURY 

 I would say that these added factors has made my autism “Fruit Salad” more complex in nature and presentation – there are clearly other members of my are on the on the autism spectrum who have been diagnosed but their profiles are very different from mine in terms of presentation the mechanics.

 Having an Autie Profile

 Having an Autie profile in terms of presentation means I live in world (from a processing perspective) that is less literal, less logical and I use my sensory systems to work out the world I live in and I think it is important to know the mechanical differences between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome and the people in between profiles “Aspinauts”. Every profile is unique in presentation so interventions, learning and communications will have to be person centred.

 Personhood First? Why?

For all what is said and done I want to be known for my personhood first my autism comes along with me wherever I go, however it doesn’t define my being, it doesn’t make me what I am in totality (it affects how I perceive and processing the world). I love art, poetry, music, movies, fashion, drawing, being silly, bad jokes, dogs and want to know for those things first.

I hope this helps others. 🙂

Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism 2014


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Visual Perceptual Disorders In Autism & Not Thinking In Pictures

Me On My OwnUnderstanding, Processing Visuals & Typical Interpretive Language 

Note this is from a personal developmental perspective 

For someone like me who got diagnosed with Autism in 2010 and later in Scotopic sensitivity syndrome with Visual agnosias (object, meaning and face blindness) as well as Visual-Verbal agnosia (comprehension blindness) and associated learning difficulties this is what I can relate to – I had oral apraxia compacted by auditory and visual processing disorders I saw  (and still  in the present without my tinted lenses) shapes, movements, colours and blobs and couldn’t contextualise where I was in space and time what I was doing (learning by route was a system I learnt) – I had speech and language delay as well as significant motor delays, echolalia and late speech compacted on my ability to understand typical language

I had NO contextual words within my head for along time (even though the capacity was there and I would have gleaming moments of clarity which no one saw or noticed) but I recited jingles, sounds, hums and treated words like “sounds” nor could I visualise words either.

I relate to Donna Williams in this way and it’s important to debunk the myth that all people on the spectrum are thinking in pictures when many clearly aren’t. I still find typical language difficult but I can but try to integrate as much as possible.

One must also differentiate and language processing disorder from mutism it was ironic though when I gained functional speech I had bouts of mutism so the two can interact.

I also have and Autie based profile as opposed to Aspie and this may certainly be one of the reasons why.

Paul Isaacs Adult With Autism 2014


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Donna Williams Fruit Salad Analogy- How it Has Helped – Autism and Asperger Differences

OVERVIEW

My Video on the differences on Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome (I’m an Autie). Donna Williams has helped me so much over the years using Donna Williams Fruit Salad  Analogy . 🙂 This could also help you sort out your “Fruit Salad” too. 😉

Thanks Donna! 🙂

DONNA’S BOOKS

AUTISM – AN INSIDE OUT APPROACH

THE JUMBLED JIGSAW

 

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Wiliams

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

 

 


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Autism, Being Mono, Language, Aphasia & Agnosias -Autism Fruit Salad D. Williams Explained Part 14

OVERVIEW

Various reasons why I communicate why I communicate why I do. 🙂

Enjoy 🙂

Using Donna Williams Fruit Analogy (1995/2005)

Paul Isaacs 2014


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How Donna Williams’ Fruit Salad Analogy Has Helped Me – And It Can Help You To

Me at 6 Months Old With My Teddy

Me at 6 Months Old With My Teddy

OVERVIEW

It is not very often that somebody comes along and gives you the tools of understanding the whats? and the why? But I can honestly say that Donna Williams has done that for me and so many others on the Autistic spectrum over many years, empowerment is to give someone the confidence and ability to take hold of their life, understand their abilities and disabilities. I first saw Donna in 2008 at a conference in Oxford and we have been friends on Facebook and she has on a personal level helped me understand the “mechanics” of my Autism which I shall be forever grateful for her help, kindness and assistance. She has taught me a lot of things about keeping it real and not forgetting that Autism is APART of you and not the WHOLE of you. 🙂 Thanks Donna.

This model is lateral and takes a holistic open-minded approach to autism what is, this model is person centred and is for empowerment and positivity. 🙂

FRUIT SALAD ANALOGY (D.WILLIAMS)

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Wiliams

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

The Fruit Salad takes in all aspects of the person’s profile this includes

  • Information Processing
  • Identity and Personality
  • Co-Morbids
  • Environment
  • Learning and Communication Profiles

DONNA BOOKS USING THE  FRUIT SALAD ANALOGY/APPROACH

AUTISM – AN INSIDE OUT APPROACH (1996)

THE JUMBLED JIGSAW (2005)

Paul’s Autism Fruit Salad (Updated 2014)

 Expressive Agnosias

Receptive/Expressive Language & Movement Issues (Speech & Communication)

Echophenomena

Visual Agnosias

Auditory Agnosias/Aphasia

Body Disconnection

Dissociative Disorders – Recognised  in 2012/Revised 2014

Mental Health

Learning Difficulties

Auto-Immune

Other

  • Bruxism – Teeth Gnashing
  • Genetics – Developmental Agnosias

Syndromes – Which make up a large part of my “Fruit Salad”

Paul Isaacs 2014