Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Anna Kennedy – Autism & Mental Health Workshop

Mental health issues effecting 70% on the spectrum… a far cry from the old days where if you had any moodanxietycompulsivedissociativeattachmentadjustmentemotional or behaviouralpersonality or identity disorders or psychosis you were trolled with you ‘couldn’t possibly ALSO be autistic’. Alternatively people without functional communication who also have mental health issues traditionally have had their mental health issues almost as standard fobbed off as ‘part of their autism’.

Donna Williams 2016

Mental Health Co-Conditions Covered In Workshop

Mood Disorders

  • Emotional Dysregulation
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Cyclothymic Disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Depression

Anxiety Disorders

  • OCD
  • Exposure Anxiety
  • Social Anxiety Disorder/Social Phobia
  • Panic Disorders
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Catastrophising

Psychosis

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Substance Induced Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective/ Schizophreniform Disorder
  • Catastrophising – Psychosis Related

Impulse Control

  • Body Repetitive
  • Bruxism
  • Dermatophagia
  • Skin Picking
  • Nail Biting
  • Nose Picking
  • Hair Cutting/Hair Plucking
  • Self Injury Disorder

Attachment Disorders

  • Attachment Disorder
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Social Engagement

Dissociative Disorders

  • Autistic PTSD
  • Derealisation
  • Depersonalisation
  • PTSD
  • Dissociative Disorder NOS
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder

Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Aspinauts

What Helped Me? (Personal Perspective)

Paul Isaacs 2021


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The Toxicity Of The Autism Community

Narcissistic Projection, Adornment Narratives & Superficial Behaviour

We are all up for judgement my advice to anyone whom makes assumptions come to the person first rather than creating a reality in your in mind in which you believe to be real. In certain facebook autism groups have become contrived, toxic, self-serving and unhealthy to be around.

Ownership and Respect

This goes beyond the remit of healthy disagreement or a basic acknowledgement of someone’s realities. If assumptions and projected realities which I do not stand for nor the lack ownership for one’s words or how they looked.

Faux Inclusivity & Confirmation Bias

If people wonder why the autism community is so broken, then maybe we should start taking a look at the conduct that militant advocates are taking in guise of help, empowerment and inclusivity?

True Inclusivity – It’s More About Others Than You

Is it inclusive to ignore people with dietary disabilities, gut, immune and metabolic disorders?

Is it inclusive to ignore fundamental basics neurology and/or biology?

Is it inclusive to see autism as everything about a person? Despite the three dimensional aspect of all human beings?

Is it inclusive to ignore people whom are functionally non-verbal?

Is it inclusive to use “neurotypical” (I prefer non-autistic) as a slur, put down or form of othering? Creating more division?

Is it inclusive to disregard one reality of autism because it doesn’t fit the status quo?

Is it inclusive to project and force a narrative onto someone without giving them the time or space to make up their own minds?

Is it inclusive to gossip, flame, swear and demonise people purely because they have a different reality to your narrative?

Is it inclusive to divide parents and children?

Is it inclusive that militant cultural and curist rhetoric (yes they have much more in common than not) gets more attention, air time and superficial interest than actually making a fundamental difference to people’s lives?

Be The Change You Want To See

I ask you is that healthy? Balanced? Overall what standards are we looking for? We as human beings should be the change and set examples not become bitter and ego driven.

Self Respect, Self Acknowledgment

Some people just take this playground mentality around with them. Sort your own stuff out first before you expect any meaningful change from anyone. I know my own self well enough to what happen was wrong regardless and I have at least have some self respect to know I am not deserving of it.

So politics are creating more fertile ground for these self serving agendas then with all due respect I want no part of it.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Profound Autism? Or More Complex Autism “Fruit Salads”?

Different Fruits Salads? Different Realities?

Some people have more complex autism “fruit salads which means the ideas around need certainly to addressed. Terminology does become polarising and inclusivity means looking at all realities, including one’s which challenge people.

Difference In Information Challenges?

Complex autism “fruit salads” may have these pieces. There are significant differences in Asperger’s and autism “fruit salads”. To say they are the same is misdirected.

Profound “autism fruit salads” could look like as follows-

Language processing disorders (aphasia/verbal agnosias).
Visual Perceptual disorders (face, meaning or object blindness).
Oral or full body apraxia and other communication challenges.
Body disconnection/body blindness (body agnosias) making one prone to self harm.
Underlying gut, metabolic or auto-immune challenges to information processing.
Acute levels of Exposure Anxiety.
Secondary Mood, Anxiety and Compulsive disorders that may have been present infancy.
Are still living in the System of Sensing.
Overall higher levels of visual-verbal information processing challenges.

Conclusions

Identity?

This means that you understand the pieces, produce competence and intelligence and never over invest in these challenges being “them”.

Politics?

Advocacy should always be a balanced, inclusive narrative. I see it as a professional responsibility not to feed the masses fables, buzz words or rhetoric.

Being Authentic & Objective?

It’s about being real and if that makes people uncomfortable then one must reason our why and come to a place of peace.

Paul Isaacs 2021


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NAS Lambeth/A2ndVoice Workshop – Autism & Language Processing Disorders Workshop

This workshop is about language processing disorders in the context of autism. Hosted by Venessa Bobb.

Further Information & Reading

Autism and Language A Journey To Functional Speech – Donna Williams

Wretches & Jabberers DVD Trailer

Paul Isaacs 2021


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Doing It Your Way – A Long Road to Autism & Self Care Skills

IMAG1230

Haha love this blog about autism and splinter skills and were one skill set can baffle and be up for contradiction in another.

Bathing, Temperature & No Sense of Time or Body 

It took me until sixteen onwards to understand the concept of bathing as a tool to wash your body in prior to this I would urinate in the bath, smear bubble bath liquid  on the tiles along with shaving foam.

A lot of times bathing the water would be too hot, too deep and would cause me to get light headed. I would sometimes lay in the bath for hours (until the water was cold), get lost dissociate, disconnect and focus on a fixed point and/or using the bath products.

The Art Of Toothbrushing

Tooth brushing I have yet to master, I have bouts of mild gingivitis, and a recent salivary gland infection which has “switched off” my left salivary gland. (I lose the patterns of how to brush my teeth for how long, the amount of pressure etc.) Dentists kindly remind me each time of how to do it.

The Delicacy of Shaving

Shaving my face I find odd too most of the hair density is below my jaw line, as such I am still so disconnected from body (so again losing patterns, strategies, movement and motion.) Leaving me with a blotchy and blood ridden skin at times.

Toilet Trouble 

Toileting is a lot about were my body is in relation to the toilet and pan, knowing the internal reasonings, feelings and sensations that go with it. This is secondary to shy bladder and bowel syndrome.

Mop Maintenance 

Hair brushing is a trial I have long thick curly hair and I have days and moments in which struggle  to obtain and use right brushes and the stratagems to untangle.

Learning, Context & Conclusion 

Context and meaning blindness, the inability to visually mentalise, visual perception, motion perception and body agnosias mean I rely on placement, position and associated contexts.

I suppose I did it my way.😉👍

Paul Isaacs 2020


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Autism, Information Processing and Coronavirus

See the source image

Note – This is from a personal perspective 

Alexithymia & Emotional Processing 

Not knowing one’s own emotional states means that I struggle to connect my conscious and unconscious mind, incoming information doesn’t filter into a connected thought, feeling and inner response which is marrying up with my inner states.

Visual Perceptual Disorders, Aphantasia & Mentalising 

Aphantasia is a condition where one does not possess a functioning mind’s eye and cannot voluntarily visualize imagery.[1] The phenomenon was first described by Francis Galton in 1880[2] but has since remained largely unstudied. Interest in the phenomenon renewed after the publication of a study in 2015 conducted by a team led by Professor Adam Zeman of the University of Exeter,[3] which also coined the term aphantasia.[4] Research on the condition is still scarce.[5][6]

Visual learning is the most common form of accessing the information around you, I cannot  retrieve visual information and I do not have a “visual mind’s eye” this is called aphantasia. The aspects that I struggle with are visual fragmentation and simultagnosia (object blindness) and a residual level of semantic agnosia (meaning blindness). So watching the news and making visual-verbal connections takes time for me to access and apply meaning with my system which is largely kinesthetic in nature.

Tactile – Associative Synesthesia & Building Frameworks

There are many different types of synesthesia, but they may be categorized as falling into one of two groups: associative synesthesia and projective synesthesia. An associate feels a connection between a stimulus and a sense, while a projector actually sees, hears, feels, smells, or tastes a stimulation. For example, an associator might hear a violin and strongly associate it with the color blue, while a projector might hear a violin and see the color blue projected in space as if it were a physical object.

The way in which I build up frameworks is always on an emotive level I am unaware of my feelings from moment to moment, so I have to EXTERNALISE unconsciously in to text which can be creative in content, emotive and introspective and/or art work which can be abstract an metaphorical in representation. I am not a literal, logical processor of information and I do not have social emotional agnosia  that comes from disconnection of right hemisphere. So INTERNALISATION  comes from the marriage creative process as opposed to overtly factual and linear ones.

Aphasia & Language Processing 

Currently I am around 30 percent meaning deaf which means I can take in large amounts of information for a a short period of time, however I may begin to be flooded with a vast a array of language in which my mind cannot keep up with, it becomes distorted and slowly meaningless, so managing my time and input is crucial.

Conclusion

It is best for people to understand their own autism “fruit salad” and what works for them during times of great uncertainty and distress, build up a level of self-awareness or have someone around you that healthily acknowledges your challenges but still retains the autonomy and respect of seeing you as person.

Paul Isaacs 2020

 


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Donna Williams’ Autism Fruit Salad – Bridging the Medical and Social Model of Disability

When Donna published “Autism: The Inside Out Approach” in 1996 it was the beginning of a trail-blazing analogy which would look at autism from the factual, compassionate and directional angle.

Looking Outside The Box

It would ditch rhetoric, confirmation bias and group think it would challenge people views (rightly or wrongly) about autism as a singular condition but look at it through the lens as a multi-faceted condition in which the person has their own unique “pieces” which would present differently from person to person.

Setting A Fluid Framework

She quite rightly humanised medical conditions that present themselves as apart of someones autism such as visual perceptual disorders such as faceblindness, simultagnosia and semantic agnosia and expand on the themes of context blindness in pragmatic but emotionally binding way.

Breaking The “Status Quo”

She would advocate for people who had severe apraxia and aphasia as a part of their autism and would need facilitated communication and assisted communication tools. She would advocate for people who struggled with ABA programs which triggered exposure anxiety.

She would challenge the status quo of “all people with autism think in pictures” or “all people with autism are logical literal thinkers”. She would advocate for people with health conditions as a part of their autism.

Equalism

She would quite rightfully not tolerate internalised bigotry within the autism world and would promote a heart warming and expanding message of egalitarianism in which means equality for all which is not just said but put into practice in a person’s daily life.

Let her videos, blogs and books inform you and empower you for in the end what she wanted out of you was to the be the best version of yourself.

Paul Isaacs 2019


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Asperger’s Syndrome & “Classic” Autism – Left Brain Autism & Right Brain Autism “Fruit Salads”

The late Polly Samuel’s (Donna Williams) through her career had pointed out that firstly autism was adjective a describer of an experience rather than a definer of a person, she also pointed out through her books and blogs that “autism” is different for each person a clustering and multifaceted condition made of different conditions in both neurology and biology and contributing psycho-social factors, identity, mental health and environmental factors

Asperger’s Syndrome – Left Brain Autism

Gray742.png

When noting and observing people with Asperger’s Syndrome the part of the brain which is being used to compensate for a disconnect right is the left, people with Asperger’s Syndrome have a condition called social emotional agnosia this means that the person cannot perceive facial expression, body language and tone of voice. Even thought sensory issues may present themselves it would to do with modulation and integration rather than sensory perceptual issues that effect different areas of the brain, faceblindness (prosopagnosia) has a high co-morbidity as well as dyspraxia, alexithymia and literal perception of language. So other words people with AS have to intellectualise in order to compensate for the disconnect in the right.

Characteristics of Right Hemisphere Syndrome:

– Left visual neglect – an individual may neglect words on the left side of the page or not realize that there are objects on the left side
– Difficulty with facial recognition
– Poor awareness of deficits
– Poor self-monitoring
– Impulsive behavior
– Poor initiation and motivation
– Disorientation
– Impaired attention/memory
– Difficulty with organization and reasoning/problem – solving
– Difficulty with social aspects of language (e.g., poor turn taking skills, providing too much information)
– Difficulty understanding humor
– Difficulty with word retrieval

© By Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP Monday, July 25, 2011

Classic Autism – Right Brain Autism

When looking at “classic” autism one makes the impression that the person has (and wrongly) a “lower functioning”variant of AS, this could not be further from the truth people with classic autism tend to to have receptive and expressive aphasia, verbal agnosia, speech/oral apraxia, and a higher rate of visual perceptual disorders such as simultagnosia and semantic agnosia. However introspection is in tact and just look at the poetry and art.

What if my brain injury or stroke is on the LEFT SIDE of my brain?

Injury to the left side of the brain may result in right-sided weakness and the following communication problems:

  • Receptive Language: Problems with understanding spoken or written language (listening and reading)
  • Expressive Language: Problems with expressing spoken or written language
  • Apraxia of Speech: Problems with programming and coordinating the motor movements for speaking
  • Dysarthria: Aspects of the speech system is impacted, which may result in slurred speech or a change in how your voice sounds
  • Computation: Problems with number and math skills
  • Analyzing: Problems with solving complex problems

© 2016 CONSTANT THERAPY

Right Brain Left Brain Autism Fruit Salads Image 2017

Differences between Aspergers and Autism ‘fruit salads’?

In one of my books, The Jumbled Jigsaw, I presented a range of conditions commonly collectively occurring in those with autism and Aspergers. I was asked about the differences between an Aspergers (AS) ‘fruit salad’ and an Autism ‘fruit salad’. As an autism consultant since 1996 and having worked with over 1000 people diagnosed on the autism spectrum there are areas that overlap, areas where similar can easily be mistaken for same, and areas that are commonly quite different. Some with AS can present far more autistically in childhood but function very successfully in adulthood. Some with Autism can have abilities and tendencies commonly found in Aspies and some will grow up to function far more successfully than they could in childhood but, nevertheless, when together with adults with Aspergers they each notice that the differences may commonly outweigh the similarities. Generally the more common differences are:

ASPERGERS
originally called ‘Autistic Psychopathy‘(now outdated)
commonly not diagnosed until mid, even late childhood.
lesser degrees of gut, immune, metabolic disorders, epilepsy and genetic anomalies impacting health systems
dyspraxia
mood, anxiety, compulsive disorders commonly onset from late childhood/teens/early adulthood as a result of bullying, secondary to social skills problems, secondary to progressive self isolation and lack of interpersonal challenge/involvement/occupation.
scotopic sensitivity/light sensitivity more than simultagnosia
most have social emotional agnosia & around 30% have faceblindness but usually not due to simultagnosia
literal but not meaning deaf
social communication impairments, sometimes selective mutism secondary to Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD)
sensory hypersensitivities more than sensory perceptual disorders
higher IQ scores due to less impaired visual-verbal processing
tendency toward Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), Schizoid rather than Schizotypal Personality Disorder and commonly Dependent Personality Disorder to some level.
higher tendency to AvPD rather than Exposure Anxiety
Alexithymia is common
ADHD common co-occurance but may be less marked than in those with autism.

AUTISM
Once known as Childhood Psychosis (now outdated)
generally there is always some diagnosis before age 3 (those born before 1980 were still usually diagnosed before age 3, although commonly with now outdated terms like ‘psychotic children’, ‘disturbed’, ‘mentally retarded’, ‘brain damaged’.
higher degrees and severity of gut, immune, metabolic disorders, epilepsy and genetic anomalies impacting health systems
mood, anxiety, compulsive disorders commonly observed since infancy
commonly amazing balance but commonly hypotonia
simultagnosia/meaning blindness rather than just scotopic sensitivity
verbal agnosia/meaning deafness
verbal communication impairments (aphasia, oral dyspraxia, verbal agnosia and associated echolalia and commonly secondary Selective Mutism)
lower IQ scores associated with higher severity of LD/Dyslexia/agnosias
tendency toward OCD/Tourettes, also higher rate of Schizotypal PD, DPD is common and tends to be more severe
higher tendency to Exposure Anxiety more than AvPD
higher tendency toward dissociative states (dissociation, derealisation, depersonalisation)
poetry by those with autism as opposed to AS commonly indicates those with autism can have high levels of introspection, insight
ADHD extremely common co-occurrence

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.
http://www.donnawilliams.net

Reflective Conclusion

It is simple people need to start looking at the functioning of the brain and how these different systems work for different people. This will in turn create advocacy which is not only meaningful and beneficial but character building and the correct information will give a broader foundation and palette to work from. I have autism (as opposed to AS) not because I am just “saying it” but because of what part of my brain affected.

What I am not saying (and never will say) is that I am speaking for all that would be disservice to many people’s realities. I am fully aware that this may challenge people me saying there are differences however looking at the neurology behind it and Polly’s observations I think there is room for healthy discussion.

Paul Isaacs 2019


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My World- Autism, Ethos & Humanity

I am pleased an eagerly proud to be working for a small autism organisation called My World and day centre for people on the autism spectrum. This summer it shall be four years of service to which I have contributed my consultancy work.

With people who have a narrow, conceited and reductive view of what autism “is” and how one is supposed to “act” and “behave” noting that it has “one look” so therefore “one approach and intervention” is wrong and that doesn’t happen here.

At My World all the caring and empathic staff are valued, open-minded and willing to learn this means that what is taken is a person-centred approach, looking at the person’s mental health, learning styles, information processing challenges and ultimately sees them as people or equal worth and value going about their day and purcuits.

Our success is our ethos, open-mind natures, ability to learn new things and approaches and empathy which encourages people in the end to be the best version of themselves.

Paul Isaacs 2019