Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Autism, Information Processing and Coronavirus

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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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Autism, Unpicking Trauma, Dissociation & Getting A Sense Of Actual Self

Note This from a personal perspective

Language Processing Disorder & Dissociation

It is normal for children to dissociate from their environments to up the to ages of 5 years, old and what I found interesting is that people with a higher level of language processing disorder may be more prone to going in and out of dissociative states. I was subjected to unintentional trauma through language and being spoken to directly this was secondary to exposure anxiety.

This meant there were pockets of both derealisation which is to separate from the environment around YOU and derealisation in which you separate from SELF.

This happened before I gained functional speech which again would on some developmental level have an impact my association with speech (echolalia was more fluid in phonics) and trying to speak on a “interpretative level” was stilted and laboured.

Dissociative Disorder Nos & Creating “Characters “

A dissociate disorder NOS (not otherwise specified) is a disorder that includes a dissociative symptom (i.e., a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment) that does not meet the criteria for any specific dissociative disorder. “Not otherwise specified” disorders are those that don’t fit into any existing diagnostic categories and are generally rare.

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Belinda- The Strong Assertive Persona

This female persona came about and was “born” through the judgement and ignorance of others where I lived, although my verbal skills weren’t very good and people where blaming my parents for my behaviour on their behaviour as parents, and the school was very concerned about me.

When my skills persisted and progressed the first word weren’t be me, but her she was directive, to the point and would fight for me she was on my side, in world where nobody was on my side nor my parents. I often refer to Belinda as the Guardian Persona or The Keeper of the Gates“.

She is strong and assertive, she gets things done, she like problems resolved and also likes to help others in need, some of these traits are from the “core self”, but the person she is based on is my Mum hence the picture to your left. (she is wearing a tweed jacket which is multi-coloured she looks strong and confident).

Peter- The Passive Introverted Persona

This male persona was based very much on the passivity of both my Grandfather and Father both whom have had issues with dealing and managing issues in a similar ways. It was at this time at CAMHS, this alter was evading and would not be able to accept help with issues and would presume, respond and act like everything was OK.

This alter is shy and retreating doesn’t open up to people easily (as opposed to the confidence and drive “Belinda”), this would cause problems with understanding on both sides during my time at CAMHS in late childhood, they didn’t recognise the Autism nor were they recognising that as coping mechanism for the situations that I was dissociating.

The picture on the left is of my Grandfather in late childhood (sepia toned picture, my Gramp with a worried grin on his face), he is about 10 years old. Many of the personality traits of “Peter” come from him and how he dealt with problems.

Mr.G – The “Child/Elfin” Persona

“Mr G” is a child/elfin persona which was created very early through observations and just looking at my surroundings during the time between early and late childhood.

“Mr G” became very prominent as a coping mechanism for the bullying in the workplace during my first job at the age of 16. He has many traits which are to do with being free and expressive, he likes to copy in an echolalic and echopraxic fashion and enjoys “silly” humour and have fun. He is an expression of many things. The other two personas do have very strong characteristics but perhaps “Mr.G’s” sense of being and why is the most poignant.

Personality Types Across The Characters

As you can see by all three descriptions all three “characters” have a function in terms of personalty types, traits, and functions. The female character fits the idiosyncratic personality type, the male character fits the serious and self sacrificing personality type, the child character fits the mercurial personality type.

ADDICTION TO TRAUMA

Some traumatized people remain preoccupied with the trauma at the expense of other life experiences137,141 and continue to re-create it in some form for themselves or for others. War veterans may enlist as mercenaries,128 victims of incest may become prostitutes,47,120,125 and victims of childhood physical abuse seemingly provoke subsequent abuse in foster families53 or become self-mutilators143a Still others identify with the aggressor and do to others what was done to them.21,39 Clinically, these people are observed to have a vague sense of apprehension, emptiness, boredom, and anxiety when not involved in activities reminiscent of the trauma. There is no evidence to support Freud’s idea that repetition eventually leads to mastery and resolution. In fact, reliving the trauma repeatedly in psychotherapy may serve to re-enforce the preoccupation and fixation.

http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/vanderkolk/

Sexual Abuse , Night Terrors & Trauma

An isolated incident of sexual abuse happened to me when I was teenager, this went and was buried deep in my unconscious mind until I developed nightmares in 2013.

Prior to this I was repeating the act on my body for during my late teens with no connection to why. I used to cry in overwhelm as my body and mind (conscious and unconscious) were in disconnect other information processing challenges such as a lack of internal mentalising, visual perceptual disorders, alexithymia and body agnosias aided in this problem with making this important connection.

I was referred to mental health services and dismissed these “nightmares” as anything “real” this meant that closure had to be done on my own terms. I decided to go to the place in which it happened, stood there for some time head bowed in reflection then I walked away and slowly felt a sense of validation and closure.

I have not doubt that this incident has had an impact on the way I view my identity and sexuality, because in many ways it has and to come to terms with that is very difficult but is was a necessary effect on my part to come to a point of complete closure.

Conclusion

The positive news is that I feel more “connected” these days it has taken me well over ten years, since I was in my early twenties to understand and be introspective to myself and gain a greater understanding of not just how I work but most importantly why I work the way I do (imperfections and all). I would not change a thing as life is teacher and I took the time to learn from it.

“Remember be the person you ARE, not the person you were TOLD to BE.

Paul Isaacs 2020


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Autism, Mentalising, Alexithymia & Introspection

Note – This is from a personal perspective

Language Processing, Alexithymia, Visual Perception and Mentalising

As a child I was unable to process language with meaning this meant that the ability marry words with association, then the ability to reason those words into a meta-reality (context and how they “looked”). I was severely face blind, object blind and meaning blind this meant the inability to visual internally my external world meant that I had to use my body to EXTERNALISE to INTERNALISE in other words I mapped out my world through placement, smell, texture, movement and taste.

Body Disconnection, Exposure Anxiety and Dissociation

I was unable to map out my own body, its parts, their placement in association with me or the outside world so I had a level of body agnosias which meant my body with FRAGMENTED as well as my vision and internalisation of receptive language. My conscious mind was seemingly blank as I subconsciously took in the information around me in but was unable to consciously piece it together despite the fact is was near hiding in plain site, akin to playing smoke and mirrors but with my own self.

Exposure anxiety rendered me powerless when confronted with “self” the awareness of my own self existence was too powerful for me to handle. So I disassociated, created characters (each assigned duties, personality types, communication styles) to handle the task of being exposed, mutism, echolalic litanies (once functional speech was acquired).

However I seemed to retain the ability to have introspection, the system of sensing still means I FEEL first and then have to unpick the interpretation secound.
The Self and Other Paradox

Fast track to know I had an experience in which I got to that level which I have described bearing in mind this had not happened in roughly 23 Years! It was shock was unable to do a shared self and other (which can last up to two hours plus), language was losing meaning, visuals where fragmenting (I made error of taking my tints off) and I was feeling detached coming out with stock phrases and it made me think about how I was then

So with help, kindness and assistance of friends and colleagues I was able to map and piece together my emotional states through three videos.
Loss

This video signifies loss that the emotional roller-coaster of meeting loss head on, the process of emotion, the realisation, the impact it has on you and other around them and the great sense of vulnerability that comes with it.

Light and Hope

This video is more metaphor and symbolical in its reverence with me the smoke that plums as he enters the arena is has a great impact on me as it represents hope through the darkness, as he walks to the ring a single light envelopes him which for me feels that light can be achieved in times of such darkness, the creating of light towards end is hope.

This Detachment of Self and Other

The final video to me represents my sometimes lack of ability to get a shared sense of “self and other” and “shared social” in which my conscious thoughts are not married up straight away with other and vise versa, when I LOSE the ability to keep the process becomes mechanical, artificial the automata represents this aspect and also ALL SELF and Casanova represents ALL OTHER .

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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Not Speaking Has No Reflection On What is Being Thought On The Inside

REFLECTIVE THINKING

“Not Speaking has no reflection on what is being thought on the inside, being non-verbal (expressively) with Autism in my early years I have come value words, they shouldn’t  be wasted, nor abused they should be cherished, used positively and productively.”

Paul Isaacs 2014

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