Note – These are from personal and obervational perspectives
Sensory Issues in the context of Autism Bucks Autism Conference
This video is about covers these topics
Paul Isaacs 2015
This is a laymen’s terms/accessible version of my autism profile – although I have written previous blogs with technical information about the “mechanics” of my autism here is an “easy read” version of my autism which is broken down into a heading and paragraphs and/or sentences with hyperlinks attached for further information.
As always this is from a personal perspective.
Alexithymia (Emotional Processing)
Not understanding, processing or receiving my own emotions in “real time” this also affects how I understand bodily messages such as thirst and hunger – Poetry, painting , drawing and music help me process my emotions contextually.
Aphasia (Language Processing)
I have processing delay with language this means I struggle to find words, lose them, find them again and lose them again etc – I live before literal and struggle to find significance in language – however music, bests, rhythm and gesture help me access meaningful language.
Speech Delay (Developmental Milestone)
The developmental milestone of speech was delayed noticeably during my early years (please checkout other blogs for further information).
Language Delay (Developmental Milestone)
The developmental language milestone where delay even when speech was acquired.
Speech Apraxia (Verbal Dyspraxia) (Body Disconnection/Mouth)
I had a disconnect between my body and brain so my brain would have words but my body (mouth, jaws, tongue and lips) didn’t seem to want to “join up” this lead to feeling of heightened frustration to total indifference.
Selective Mutism – (once functional speech was acquired) (Co-Condition)
In times of anxiety and/or dissociation I would choose to be mute
This was due to a sensation of something being within my throat this would cause me to throat clear in an abrupt and idiosyncratic (odd) fashion.
Echophenomena (Developmental Milestones – Speech, Movement, Body Language)
Visual Agnosias (Visual Perceptual Disorders/”Seeing” without meaning and/or “Seeing” but not piecing the “wholes” together)
Not retaining what is being seen so I would tap, sniff, lick, rub, mouth and tongue to gain a reality and an experience of my environment.
Not seeing in wholes – so seeing “fragments” and not seeing the “whole picture”
Not processing faces and/or recognising people by their faces.
Visual – Verbal Agnosia (Comprehension Blindness)
Reading without internalising/retaining meaning
Seeing colours but not processing/understanding or recognising differentiation between them by name (in my case I recognise red but struggle to sometimes name of colours)
Mirror Agnosia (visual processing)
Not understanding nor processing “other” or “self” in mirrors for example I would and still get fooled by mirrors and when I was younger used to think that was behind me was in front of me.
Form Agnosia (Visual/Cognitive/Auditory & Contextual)
Not configuring the “whole”
Pure Auditory Agnosia (Auditory Perception)
Not processing/understanding or the “origins” of sounds and associating them when I next “hear” them.
A type of aphasia (Language processing disorder).
Tonal Agnosia (Atonia) (Language Processing)
I “hear” tone but sometimes do not associate with meaning.
Pain Agnosia (Body Disconnection)
I do not process pain at all or there is a significant delay in recognition.
I do not recognise my body in space so I wear tight clothes, bracelets, tight shoes to get a “reference” of my body.
As a child I had trouble reference that I had fingers and “where they were” this was due to body disconnection.
Paul Isaacs 2015
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.
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.
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.
Receptive/Expressive Language & Movement Issues (Speech & Communication)
There are many different forms of aphasia which affect both expressive and receptive communication
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Dissociative Disorders – Recognised in 2012/Revised 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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)
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
PATTERN, THEME & FEEL (D.WILLIAMS) – A WORLD BEFORE “KNOWINGNESS”
I was non-verbal for 5 years or more (I had a lot of words ds in my head) I had speech and language delay Aphasia,Apraxia of speech, Auditory verbal agnosia) – (expressive and receptive) my Mum thought I was deaf and blind (this was due to Visual agnosias and Auditory agnosias), I used movements, clicks, sounds to convey information to others (I still use this when happy, excited and/or distressed) I consider this my “primary language” and interpretive language a second language I learned), pre-verbal than functional expressive speech at around 7/8 years old (1993/1994) that was of a 3 year old expressively.
I didn’t understand that conversations were between two people for a very long time used to look at two fragmented blobs making sounds at each other at pre-school and found it rather amusing but didn’t connect that it was an interaction. I used to make noises/whispers at other children I sat next to in the playground with (that was my form of a conversation) some time also.
BODY DISCONNECTION & VISUAL MEANING
I was already putting my arm behind my back that was to do with trying to connect my body with myself (body disconnectivity), probably liking the feeling of the fur and not quite understanding contextually where I was.
Paul Isaacs 2014
Note – This is from a personal perspective
As apart of my Autism Fruit Salad (Donna Williams 1995/2005) I have auditory agnosia, this means I cannot process “environmental sounds” with meaning, comprehension and not retaining the “sound” in context (so for example “hearing/processing” and ambulance and retaining it it). This is one of the reasons why my parents thought I was deaf, I was/am neurologically deaf but their is no specific impairment to my ears.
Classical (or pure) auditory agnosia is an inability to process environmental sounds, such as animal noises, industrial noises, or the like. An airplane roaring overhead would not be understood to be related to the idea of “airplane”—indeed, the person would not even think to look up.
So How Does This Work
VERBAL AUDITORY AGNOSIA/APHASIA
Linguistic (or verbal information or Wernicke’s) agnosia indicates that the subject can’t comprehend words, although they can understand words using sign language and words from reading books, and are themselves capable of speech (and even of deriving meaning from non-linguistic communication e.g. body language) the particular sounds associated to each word are meaningless.
So How Does This Work
So How Does This Work
I believe that this is one of the reasons I still live in a Pattern, Theme & Feel world, I created my own language through the auditory and visual cluttering that I had (and still do) and I still find typical interpretative language difficult (I treat it as a second language) but I try and use it to the best of my abilities. 🙂
Paul Isaacs 2014
Personal Accounts of Auditory Agnosia. 🙂
Using Donna Williams Fruit Salad Analogy (1995/2005)
Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism 2014