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Autism from the inside


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Autism and Asperger’s Different Trajectories and Different Presentations?

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Today I was doing autism training and in the team was lovely and inquisitive man with Asperger’s Syndrome as the session went on he shared some of his experiences from not picking up verbal cues, being literal and having sensory integration disorder as well as issues with emotional regulation and possible alexithymia.

It amazes me still that people think that “Autism” and “Asperger’s Syndrome” are still considered to some to be the “same thing” when is clear that even if on the surface some of the issues may be similar many of underlying components are very different. If I use both the gentlemen in question and myself as examples so here goes.

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  • The gentleman seemed to display a level of Social Emotional Agnosia which meant he struggles with non-verbal cues, tone of voice and facial expression he acknowledged that he use past experiences to build up a format of how to understand someone
  • He didn’t have Prosopagnosia (30% of people with social emotional agnosia do so)
  • He was literal in processing of verbal language and seemed to have less impaired visual-verbal processing
  • Possible Alexithymia which is “knowingness of your own emotional states”
  • Seemed to mentalise in a more logical, literal and pragmatic manner which suggests the use of the “left brain” person.

With Myself

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  • I have a mixture of Simultagnosia (Object Blindness) and Semantic Agnosia (Meaning Blindness) which means my visual field is fragmented, distorted and incoming visual information does not have any meaning, context or reasoning
  • I have Prosopagnosia (Faceblindness) as an extending of the already existing issues around visual perception meaning I “recognise people” primarily by patterns of movement and voice
  • I have a level of Receptive and Expressive Aphasia (Meaning Deafness) which even in its current residual form means I “lose” the ability to keep up with interpretive verbal information and struggle with visual-verbal processing
  • I have less literal, logical and pragmatic style of thinking or organised thoughts  I am very much a “right brain” person.

 

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I was asked what I thought the main different feature was between Autism and Asperger’s. I think you’ll maybe find in reading through the site on brain hemisphere specialisation that there are many Aspies who may be better at left brain stuff and many Auties who may be more right brain but not nearly recognised for the abilities they do have as much as they are recognised for the left-brain abilities they don’t have. Whilst most people have a balance of both abilities, being extremely one side or the other clearly means the abilities of that other side are far less practiced. Processing incoming information in a non-Autie manner usually involves using a good balance of the two. So feel free to try the test yourself.

Donna Williams

Related image

 

Different Trajectories 

Maybe its is because I spent large part of my infanthood exploring through my senses and/or through patterning, theming and feeling struggling to get a sense of what “interpretive information” is and what it means? To be around such information and how to connect all the dots within in my mind. However I appreciated and acknowledged the validity of it in my previous blog post.

I flourish in areas of typing, writing poetry and creativity I love wordplay, sounds,  pitches and the seemingly infinite kaleidoscope colours, shapes, textures and shines they “talk to me” as much as next person.

Things Foundly Remembered

I saw your face with my hands

A voice a distant echo but foundly acknowledged

The smell of the wise tree in the garden the leaves did dance

A new place everywhere to be eagerly explored upwards and onwards

Flomping along the globblyness unstuck and unshackled my hands are free

Looking at the gloaming and silvering shape what plotunes and envelopes my soul

I thank you old friends you are me and I am likewise swashing around in the ink clouds

 

Paul Isaacs 2017

 

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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 to now – Autism and the impact of sensory integration issues

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 let’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 As A Fruit Salad By Donna Williams Book Review

AVAILABLE AS $5 E-BOOK

From 1995-2011 I worked with over 1000 people diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In order to best address the needs of children and adults with autism I needed to fathom what was being called or presumed ‘their autism’ and work out the underlying mechanics of each of these things.

The Autism As A Fruit Salad is a 37 page, interactive, comprehensive alphabetical 101.  The E-book form comes complete with hyperlinks on the vast collection of over 200 conditions that in combinations can collectively present as ‘autism’ or ‘parts of one’s autism’ (The signed paperback format doesn’t have the hyperlinks). In either format, Autism As A Fruit Salad should equip those living with and working with autism to move beyond the static 2D model of autism to a dynamic 3D model that goes beyond one-size-fits-all-approaches and gives you tools to tailor approaches to each person.

WHO IS IT FOR?

* Anyone wanting to understand what is involved any particular person’s ‘autism fruit salad’
* Parents, case managers, behaviour intervention staff, troubleshooters and people with autism looking to gain a clearer sense of what it actually presenting as ‘the autism

BOOK REVIEW

A comprehensive and rounded view of what “autism” is Donna Williams has opened up many people’s perspectives with her lectures, blogs and books around the subject of “autism” in many ways this is a sister book/sequel to her handbooks Autism: An Inside Out Approach (1996) & The Jumbled Jigsaw (2005).

It is structured in an easy read listed fashion with hyperlinks for each piece it also supplies hints and tips for people who want to find out their “pieces” too, the E-book edition supplies the reader with hyperlinks giving a personal and interactive style to the reader making accessible guideposts.

Donna supplies deep introspection as always in her knowledge and the essence of giving something back in many ways she build up a plethora of experience both personal, educational and practical in her years as a consultant this book  condenses it for the reader making it accessible for young and old, novice and veteran I highly recommend this book.

Paul Isaacs 2016

 


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What I Have Observed In The Autism World – It Needs To Change

The Beginning 

Author ImageI was diagnosed with Autism in 2010 at the age of 24 years old that same year I started a new career venture as a public speaker and later a trainer and consultant. After the diagnosis as my parents and I were walking towards car my Mum gently directed and reaffirmed to me that I was person first and both she and my Dad had always seen me (and would continue to do so) as “Paul”.

Culture Shock – Part 1

In my own naivety I was unaware that autism had a pre-existing “culture” that was in place I was slowly being introduced to words that I wasn’t either comfortable with or didn’t understand their significance in the ways of the world. To me in 2011 is where these internalised struggles started people were in directly and later directly saying that autism defines every part of them, what they do how they think and feel. I wanted to know the mechanics of my autism to empower others that was all. I also was on   a quest for my sense of personhood that I valued and still do first and foremost.

Autism Isn’t “One Thing”

Over the many years as a speaker, trainer and consultant it is only fair that Autism should  not be seen as a mass of traits that  affect the people who are diagnosed in the same way but as clustering of pre- existing elements that create one’s own unique profile. In 2010 I was introduced to Donna Williams’ Fruit Salad model of Autism which has helped understand the mechanics of me but a clear and firm realisation that seeing myself as a person first isn’t a negative thing but a positive thing.

Culture Shock – Part 2

As an advocate on the Autism spectrum I feel I have a personal and professional responsibility to not project the tired stereotypes and that the only perspective I can speak from is my own. Sadly, what I have seen is a very negative side of this culture which includes “neurotypical” being used as reversed prejudiced attack – I dislike this word as it creates more barriers and in my view isn’t the correct word to use. I have witnessed “them” and “us” language, separatism, militancy, bullying, death threats and character assassinations.

This in the last two years has been a real concern for me regardless of if you are on the spectrum or not this is no excuse for such behaviours. We should all learn to respect each other’s views regardless of disagreement. Personally I don’t see Autism as culture but as a disability where  a culture has been built around it. It is a set of ideas.

Mental Health – A Personal Perspective 

Because of these issues and others this has taken a toll on my mental health I have seen to much and it has made me question a lot things over the last year or so. I lost myself through over investment and low self-esteem and self worth. This is partly because my views were not seen on par with the status quo and partly the way in which I was told either through silence or attacks, I know I am worth more.

Equalism

I worry about the people on the autism spectrum who are functionally non-verbal, those who have autism with a learning disability and  parents and guardians are not getting their voices, opinions and realities heard and acknowledged.

Everyone is equal so therefore realities are equal (even if in reality it doesn’t happen) so if that is the case then the whole spectrum should be included? Surely?

Personhood First? Why is this Important? 

I was born a person and I will not shackled into thinking  that every aspect of me is my autism – for the reasons stated above I am going to explore other ventures such as art, poetry, fashion and so forth.

I am still an advocate, I will present speeches, present training, write and blog but with a different mindset to the world which I was eagerly presented to. I shall not miss this aspect of it – it is damaging and misleading and in my opinion needs to change before others get treated the same way.

Beyond The Label (Pastures Green)

Ever the thoughtless fable to define someone by a label

To glamourise or demonise is the answer listen to your call

Can you really speak for all? A court Jestor or fool?

Beyond the label is before loving the person for themselves

Out of the confines you shed a smile. It has been a while?

I look at the rolling fields and trees, the splender of the grass

The waving flowers and the earth, watching the world pass

The plodding dog eager to please, always up for a tease

I have no regrets my body is fluid it doesn’t stall to freeze

I sup on tea and live in moment -I want to please.

 

Paul Isaacs 2015


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Speech & Language Processing -The Words Within Myself & How Precious Words Are

Me Holding Something 2OVERVIEW

This is a personal overview of my Autism “Fruit Salad”

For the first 5 years of my life I was functionally non-verbal (internal jumbles of sounds with words within myself but unable to come out) and there was a massive disconnect, words were sounds, sounds had no origin, language was internally and externally jumbled so I had no language with meaning in my head, people were fragmented blobs making “noises” to each other, when I had budding moments of connectivity I lost them due to a mouth and tongue not coordinating. Of course the capacity for words was within me  and words were within me but sensory perceptual issues and coordination issues played their part in this.

I did begin to piece things together I was aware of what others were saying about me in the playground at primary school for example, this is documented in my first book Living Through The Haze.

Parts of my Fruit Salad played apart in this such as

  • Simultagnosia – seeing things in bits and pieces, losing “wholes” and “connecting dots things where all fragmented.
  • Semantic Agnosia – I touched to perceive, to experience, to navigate, to sense, to connect, to understand my own self in relation to other and I also touched to communicate.
  • Aphasia – words were like sounds with no meaning, context or function other than it was a sound emitted from a fragmented blob as time progressed contextually words would come. and go however because of my outward behaviour I listened to some very ignorant things about myself without others connecting I was listening/processing.
  • Auditory Agnosia – I heard sounds and even now I wonder contextually where they come from sometimes sounds fill with wonder and confusion.
  • Visual-Verbal Agnosia – This along with Dyslexia made it hard for me to read with meaning and an understanding of what was on the page in front of me.
  • Oral Apraxia – One of the reasons I struggled to speak in the early years was the physically disconnect between my brain finding words and my body expressing them.
  • Echolalia/Echopraxia/Echomimia – These were used during my period of development where I was experimenting with words and movements and sounds – this was during the time I acquired functional speech

More info on my webpage about speech and language processing 

Sensory ExplorerTV Shows

I loved Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Hook my gateway to movement and language – when functional expressive speech came at 7/8 years old, it was developmentally that of a 3 year old I have to admit I was scared of this new language and wanted to go back but I kept moving forward. I still rely on the sensing system and at home I use this language still, I am glad that had parents that didn’t write me off. 🙂

All Profiles Are Different & Other Forms Of Communication

Please realise that all different profiles are different and please also be aware the people who do not speak through their mouths have a  human right to be able communicate, this is something I feel strongly about and something that should be embraced and acknowledged.

Paul Isaacs 2014