Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Autism, Visual Perception & Body Disconnection

20160829_172026.jpgNote this is from a personal perspective

LOOKING THROUGH THE FRAGMENTS 

For people with at times complex visual perceptual disorders within their autism profile the “visual” enviroment may well be foreboding, scary, intriguing or fantastic. The waxing and waning may come from other factors such as mental health conditions such as undiagnosed mood, compulsive or anxiety disorders within the mix which can heighten and project the issues for the person in question.

VISUAL PERCEPTUAL DISORDERS 

As a child I found misdirection confusing and alluring at the sametime being able to “sense” through my fingers, toes and body rather than “seeing” with my eyes was a comfort it was tangible and “real” for more real in reflection that what my “eyes” were showing me.

The complex nature of my visual perceptual disorders have been documented in other blog posts and my second book  with James Billett in which the world was faceless, fragmented and distorted clarity was found in the moments of touch (to gain meaning, context and placement). 

BODY DISCONNECTION 

The level of body disconnection as the years go back was higher I had no idea of the “vessel” I was “living in” and that that meant I often wonder with that lack of groundedness made my an emotionally anxious child (amongst other environmental and  social factors). Legs, hands, fingers, toes, my trunk etc seemed to be in a world of their own with the realisation of their existence being triggered by an awareness of their movements and what that meant for me (rather than what other saw or reacted to how it looked).

PAIN AGNOSIA

I have mentioned about a lack awareness of trauma this included knocking a tooth, scraping my legs on barbed wire with next to now reaction to the the level of trauma itself and that a level of pain agnosia must have been present and still is to a certain degree.

LOOKING AT DIFFERENT CONTEXTS

I wonder if people in both educational, home and residential environments who have complex visual perceptual disorders (a level of face, object and meaning blindness), pain agnosia and body disconnectivity who self-harm because they do not have the internal “stopping point” thus causing secondary conditions that which is related to mental health which heightenings the presentation it is worth thinking about?

Paul Isaacs 2016

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“Autism” what does it mean?

Note this is froDad and I Dancingm a personal perspective

When I was diagnosed with autism in 2010 one of the first things that I was told is that was still a “person” even if I didn’t the mechanics and/or “pieces” of my autism that nevertheless was a sage piece of advice that has stayed with me on a personal and professional level.

“Autism” is different for each person so here is a breakdown of the “mechanics”

  • Emotional perception (alexithymia) problems with recognising and verbalising emotional states.
  • Visual perception (visual agnosias) problems with perceiving faces, objects, reading words, colour and “sorting out my visual field into a “whole”.
  • Language processing (receptive aphasia) problems with processing and interpreting “meaning” and “significance” from language.
  • Auditory processing (auditory agnosias) problems with organising the origins of sounds.
  • Body perception (body agnosias and hemiplegia) problems with processing and perception on the right side of my body which affects coordination, problems with recognising pain, hunger and thirst.
  • Body and Movement (visuospatial dysgnosia) left-right disorientation.
  • Light Sensitivity (sensory integration disorder and related learning difficulties) problems with light creating distortions as well as dyslexia and dyscalculia.
  • “self” and “other” processing simultaneous information which requires this can be difficult.
  • Mental health and personality disorders.

 

PERSONALITY TYPES

I have four main personality types which intermingle with each these are human in terms of presentation but will differ form person to person – human beings under stress may develop “disordered” versions of these types affecting social and personal perception, mood management and interpersonal relationships and friendships.

  1. Idiosyncratic
  2. Mercurial
  3. Self-Sacrificing
  4. Serious  

 

NOT RELATING TO “AUTISTIC IDENTITY/IDENTITY-FIRST LANGUAGE 

I do not see my whole being as “autism” nor define myself by it. I see it apart of me, in my case the pieces are emotional perception, visual perception, language perception, auditory perception,
body perception, light sensitivity, information processing and learning difficulties
 with associated mood disorders, exposure anxiety, somatisation disorder, dissociation and personality disorders but they are not a total nor finite definition of my being. I can only speak from my perspective and that is all.

I am “Paul” first with the all the positives and negatives that come with it the likes, dislikes, regrets, dreams and the sense of just “being”. I shall never adhere to the “club” there is to much militancy, over-investing and politics. I see myself as apart of the human race – no more, no less, no more worthy, no less worthy just a person like one of the billions of people on the planet everyone has a story to tell don’t they.  😉

Paul Isaacs 2016


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“Whereness” of Myself – Visuospatial Dysgnosia (Body Blindness) & Autism

SAM_0552OVERVIEW

VISUOSPATIAL DYSGNOSIA

The syndrome rarely presents itself the same way in every patient. Some symptoms that occur may be:

  • Constructional apraxia: difficulty in constructing: drawing, copying, designs, copying 3D models
  • Topographical disorientation: difficulty finding one’s way in the environment
  • Optic ataxia: deficit in visually guided reaching
  • Ocular motor apraxia: inability to direct gaze, a breakdown (failure) in starting (initiating) fast eye movements
  • Dressing apraxia: difficulty in dressing usually related to inability to orient clothing spatially, and to a disrupted awareness of body parts and the position of the body and its parts in relation to themselves and objects in the environment
  • Right-left confusion: difficulty in distinguishing the difference between the directions left and right

This is certainly true for me I have a limited awareness of my body and as a result have slammed my feet down so hard over the years (through not knowing pressure length of legs etc) that I I have a condition called Hallux rigidus  symptoms of this started at around 12 years old.

So what has helped me?  From personal Experiences

  • Wearing tight clothes around my waist (getting an awareness of the “trunk of my body”)
  • Wearing ties, buttoned shirts (awareness of my neck and shoulders)
  • Having my hair long and in a pony tail/bun (getting a sense of my head)
  • Having shoes which had pressure on my feet (giving a sense of awareness to them)
  • These points above help with internal sensory integration
  • Tinted Lenses help me move through an environment much better (mapping visuals in light and cluttered stimuli)
  • My parents helped me with dressing until the ages of 10, then helped me with coordinating and choices till age 16
  • Semantic sensory compensation touching to percieve meaning (cannot visually track)
  • Left – Right confusion is still an issue but can be helped with a verbal prompt

 

Paul Isaacs 2014


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Why I Didn’t Point as A Child Finger Agnosia & Autism

Dad and I Butlins 1991OVERVIEW

About Josef Gertsmann

As I child even in my early development I didn’t point and one of the reasons for this was Finger Agnosia (which also part of Gertsmann Syndrome which I have as apart of my Autism Fruit Salad). I had no idea that on the end of my palms where digits which I could use as a from of communication because I was “blind” to them so what helped me “recognise them”.

This is a personal overview and from my experiences

  1. Sensory Exploration (scrunching leaves, touching environment, painting with my hands)
  2. Sensory Play with Dad
  3. Pens and Pencils (giving me an awareness of through grip/pressure)
  4. Riding a bike
  5. Learning to get dressed
  6. Swimming

Paul Isaacs 2014