Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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NAS Lambeth/A2ndVoice Workshop – Autism & Education From A Personal Perspective

This workshop is about Autism & Education. Hosted by Venessa Bobb.

Further Information & Reading

Donna Williams Autism Hangout Video

Donna Williams The Fruit Salad Approach

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 As A Fruit Salad & Sensory Perception Issues

This workshop is about Donna Williams’ “Fruit Salad” analogy of autism and sensory perceptual challenges and agnosias in the context of autism. Hosted by Venessa Bobb.

Further Information & Reading

What Is Autism?

Common Pieces In Autism “Fruit Salads

Sensory Perception in Autism

Paul Isaacs 2020


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Autism Bucks Workshop – Autism As A Fruit Salad

This second workshop is an expansion of autisms using Donna William’s “fruit salad” analogy as the basis. I shall be adding links to expanding on some of the aspects which I spoke about.

Further Reading and Links

Autism & Social Emotional Agnosia

Autism & Alexithymia

Autism & Simultagnosia

Autism & Faceblindness

Autism & Auto-immune Disorders

Autism & Genetic Syndromes

Autism & Dietary Disabilities

Autism & Language Processing Disorders

Autism & Communication Disorders

Autism & Dyspraxia

Autism & Self and Other Integration & System of Sensing

Paul Isaacs 2020


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Donna Williams – Autism Beyond The Narrative

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It’s a very lonely road at times with my autism work and advocacy and here is why, I know as I type things will make more clarity as I continue to type.

Since Donna Williams’ passing in 2017 I have tried to advocate for her fruit salad analogy of autism (please checkout previous posts, links and images etc). I know that over her years of advocacy and consultancy she had her fair share of problems and challenges.

Militant autism advocates (on and off the autism spectrum) attacking her online for daring to challenge the status quo, rhetoric and internalised problems within the autism community.

Misunderstandings in her non- soft language terminology and her ability to supply “what if” scenarios etc.

This can a does become tiring on both a mental and physical level as to supply knowledge, it isn’t always easy however I try various different formats and medias to do so.

I believe that the ethical and moral thing to do is to supply with empathy and candour the multi-faceted nature of autism, the presentations, the mechanics and personhood.

Why? Because empowerment in this context means giving people tools to make good in life, to find themselves and be ultimately the best version of themselves. So many people cherry pick what autism “is and isn’t” and that is completely understandable because knowledge is not on the table to be supplied.

So anybody interested in finding out more?

Take time in ingest the knowledge and please know as with Polly my heart is in the right place.

Thank you PaulĀ šŸ˜‰šŸ‘ 2020


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Autism, Information Processing and Coronavirus

See the source image

Note – This is from a personal perspectiveĀ 

Alexithymia & Emotional ProcessingĀ 

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 & MentalisingĀ 

AphantasiaĀ is a condition where one does not possess a functioningĀ mind’s eyeĀ and cannot voluntarily visualizeĀ imagery.[1]Ā The phenomenon was first described byĀ Francis GaltonĀ in 1880[2]Ā 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 theĀ University of Exeter,[3]Ā which also coined the termĀ aphantasia.[4]Ā Research on the condition is still scarce.[5][6]

Visual learning is the most common form of accessing the information around you, I cannotĀ  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:Ā associativeĀ synesthesiaĀ andĀ 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 agnosiaĀ  that comes from disconnection of right hemisphere. So INTERNALISATIONĀ Ā comes from the marriage creative process as opposed to overtly factual and linear ones.

Aphasia & Language ProcessingĀ 

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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Most Common “Pieces” in People’s Autism “Fruit Salad”

Autism Most Common Image
Donna Williams’ (Polly Samuel) set a legacy in what the adjective “autism” meant it was like a bowl of fruit and different pieces of fruit mean different things in this overview she covered in the image above the most common aspects of someone autism “fruit salad.”

Social Emotional Agnosia – Not perceiving body language, tone of voice and facial experiences means that person only “sees” and “hears” facts that means that the person maybe socially anxious and may need information shared to them (including emotional supply) in factual/pragmatic way.

Faceblindness – A person who doesn’t recognise people by their faces this means the person may connect more with the what the person is wearing, hairstyles, jewellery, voice patterns, walking gait. context is also an issue such as meeting people and/or getting used to seeing someone one context may not translate to another. You may need to ask them is they struggle with faces.

Simultagnosia – (Object Blindness) – A person who only see’s pieces of a their visual field and not wholes this could mean that the person finds certain environments difficult to navigate, people, places, objects may be hard to track causing anxiety, overload and on the opposite end euphoria and “sensory highs” that is person who is addicted to their own “chemical highs”. Lightening, colours, patterns, colours, stairs (surface changes), shadows will all have an impact on perception.

Alexithymia – A person who does not process and/or perceive their emotions in “real-time” this can cause a reactionary delay meaning the person is always “trailing behind” to some degree and may give surface “responses” rather than “connected” responses. Give the person time to respond.

Dyspraxia & Overload – A person is struggles to motor-ordination issues, the movement of their body and limbs in and around their environment being prone to overload could be due to the brain and bodies movement not being in tandem causing/triggering chemical imbalances.

Lack of Simultaneous – Self and Other – A person who can do either “all self no other” and/or “all other no self” this means the a shared sense of “social” may be delayed and the mono-tracked way of conversing may have to be adapted to allow time between “switching”.

Language Processing Disorder – A language processing disorder can come in many forms and presentations the ability to find words (anomia), the ability to construct sentences (pragmatics) and the ability to receive and express meaning with interpretation some people may be “meaning deaf” (aphasia, verbal auditory agnosia) and need for example object of references gesture and tone and other who are literal in their perception and have atonia may need facts and to limit body language.

Communication Disorders – Some people may get tongue tied, stammer, are “tone-deaf”, have tourette’s, have verbal agnosia and talk through echolalia (TV shows, Jingles, DVDs and TV shows), some people have oral apraxia (the ability to use their tongue and facial muscles) having visual perceptual issues and associated personality types which in turn have an impact on style and/presentation.

Exposure Anxiety – A person who is triggered by direct communication and “exposure” triggering compulsive, avoidance, retaliation and diversion responses meaning that “direct communication” you may need to use a “indirectly confrontational response” such as focusing on the object, situation not the person, humanising objects.

Lack Of Mentalising – The inability to “juggle” information with a level of coherence this could be to do with information processing delays, sensory perceptual disorders, social perception and/or language processing this means that you need to work out the person’s “system” of integrating information with associated meaning.

Personality, Identity and Attachment – This is how the person sees themselves, differing personality types will colour a person’s interpersonal wants and needs and communication styles, sexuality and gender

Mental Health – These associated conditions will have an impact on presentation such as mood, impulse control, anxiety, dissociation and attachment disorders.

Physical Issues – They may have auto-immune disorders, disorders of metabolism, dietary disabilities, genetic anomalies which have an impact on overall functioning.

Paul Isaacs 2018


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Future Diagnosis’ – A Further look Autism and Asperger “Fruit Salads” & The Inner Mechanics

The Changing Landscape of Autism Diagnosis

Looking how the scope of how the autism diagnosis has changed over the decades here is an overview

  • 1940s and 1950s – Autism was considered a form of attachment disorder
  • 1960s – Autism was considered a form of “childhood psychosis”
  • 1970s and 1980s – Autism was considered a form of mental retardation
  • 1990s – Asperger’s syndrome was added as a diagnostic criteria
  • 2000s – Autism and the impact of sensory integration issues
  • 2010 To now – Autism and the impact of gut, metabolic auto-immume & tissue connectivity disorders

The truth is autism is has different trajectories and components it is best to look at autism as 3 dimensional a stacking of pre-existing syndromes/conditions/disorders that are person-specific.

So letā€™s look at the breakdown between “Autism” and “Aspergers” Fruit Salad looking at through the lenses of Donna Williams’ analogy.

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Autism “Fruit Salad”

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Aspergers “Fruit Salad”

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Conclusion

On the surface “Autism” and “Aspergers” may appear the “same” but digging deeper and looking at the profile differences and what makes up the differing profiles surely means that the wants, needs and interventions will be specific to the person in question and what they need will not be the same. Autism is not a generic “one size fits all” condition it is made up of many different elements specific to the person.

It is my wish that in the future when some is diagnosed with autism they will look a the full package this would include potentially different professionals being involved if differing diagnosis are willing to be made such as –

  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Neurology Specialists
  • Dietary Specialists
  • Genetic Counselling
  • Gut, Immune and Metabolic Specialists
  • Mental Health Psychologists & Psychiatrists
  • & Other Empowering Interventions

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Autism -The Three Stages of Empowerment

Autism ā€œFruit Saladsā€(Ā© Donna Williams 1995/2005/2014)

This is bottom to top analogy which implements all aspects of what could be in a personā€™s ā€œautism fruit saladā€ to start off with the foundation is to understand the mechanics of what is within a personā€™s ā€œautismsā€ (rather than autism). By looking at this we can separate it into these aspects.

  • Communication profile
  • Social-emotional profile
  • Emotional processing profile
  • Sensory Integration profile
  • Sensory Perceptual profile
  • Receptive Language profile
  • Expressive Language profile
  • Motor-coordination profile
  • Dietary profile
  • Auto-immune disorders profile
  • Learning styles profile
  • Personality types profile
  • Identity profile
  • Co-conditions profile

Interventions

These will be tailored to the specific needs of personā€™s profile/profiles looking holistically as well as professional for empowerment, guidance, social support, emotional support and/or any aspect of the person ā€œautismsā€ that is within the mix. For example you could have someone who has exposure anxiety and dislikes direct confrontation and prefers an indirectly confrontational approach, is profoundly meaning deaf and aphasic. Think how you would build up that personā€™s profile and empower them?

An example

  • Gestural language
  • Aiding Mentalising by building up meaning and association
  • Being a follower not a leader or an expectant doer
  • Leave them wanting more and giving positive affirmations

Solutions

They will come in many forms as they marriage of each step relies on the one previous with regards to the ā€œfinal stepā€ this will be looking at what is working, aiding and empowering the person, their families, guardians etc. This could be put in an report or functional document for educational and professional services to have or it could be used as an information pack for friends and family the choice is yours.

Remember autism is not ONE THING it is a CLUSTERING of pre-existing conditions within one PERSON and that is the thing to realise that one person’s reality does not mean that is representational of all because that would mean a lot voices and realities would be left unheard it is time to change the landscape and starts with being open minded.

Paul Isaacs 2017