This workshop is about Autism & Education. Hosted by Venessa Bobb.
Further Information & Reading
Paul Isaacs 2021
I was speaking to my Father today about why I wouldn’t go to a school reunion, to reclaim the past you cannot move forward by going back.
It would be a hopeless, emotionally draining affiar which with even the suggestion of going back would recoil me. I have no desire to revisit a place of trauma and abuse. I have set my own goals and objectivity on this and gave got closure.
My wish for the people whom bullied me on a daily basis is this recognise the damage you caused first, internalise and move on, the same goes for me, you never knew I was developmentally disabled contextually that is fine, however your harm was done but “done” is not “now”.
The positives are this
So for those of you whom observed and/or were apart of this whom have families and loved ones? Just make sure you do not let your little ones to bestow on to others what happened to me (bigotry can be unlearned). I hold no bitterness.
I have no regrets, no desires for past changes only to learn that failure is your friend and that they’re stepping stones for self awareness.
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 Paul 😉👍 2020
Definition Of White Privilege
Accepting white privilege is not enough, acknowledging it is not enough, saying racism happens with indifference and apathy is not enough.
Acts of apathy and indifference is compounding the problem can imagine being told your reality was not “real”? Or that your reality was something that “just happened” and was met with almost chronic indifference from a social and systematic perspective?
The British Empire Was Driven By Racist Ideology
White privilege is happening and it’s warped hierarchy has been happening for well over 400 years, when the British Empire stole land, resettled and uprooted the gears of this machine did start to turn.
It is irresponsible and insufficient to view the separation of family units in the Caribbean through a lens that ignores the massive legacy of slavery – which is how most those families came to live there in the first place – and its relationship with the Commonwealth.
Changing Facts To Fit Narratives?
It’s seeped into our “British Culture” as “normal”, in education, in employment, in media, in books and in movies etc.
“Before, people had to hide their racism. If you felt something bad about about black people, about Muslims, you had to shut up. Now these people have the confidence to come out in public to say everything. This is scary to me, that scares the shit out of me.”
It’s time for white people to know what is happening from the other side, not just acknowledge as a point of interest
No person’s reality should traded as insignificant to another’s.
Paul Isaacs 2020
Mental Health & Lockdown
I suppose times are hard at these moments and one needs time to reflect upon the differing aspects of life, love and true connection.
Admiration, inspiration is not love or connection it is looking at someone from a far, human beings have learnt to live (through the western world) to project how they expect or are told to be feeling, thinking and acting and not connecting with how they are truly are from the inside.
Education & Learning
The education system is broken and needs to change goes beyond logistics,ethics timetables and class structure it is how children are taught, respected and listened to.
That has to be held to account. I have always seen children as “little people” meaning they are of equal valour and should not be patronised but seen on a level that embraces and acknowledges them as human beings.
When one is a teenager you are expected to be an “adult” which is a subjective phrase to you to use because biologically and chronologically a person isn’t anyway, emotions are not explored in a way which is not attuned to the individual.
A person at the very least in a structured educational environment should be given the opportunity to have a healthy relationship with them, to understand, process them and to explore them without fear of judgement or the vices of division.
Practically of life is one thing but love for a fellow human being is not. Why? Humans are not cookie cutter pre-molded mind-scapes or sausage laden meat blobs of sameness.
In an egalitarian framework we in practice could acknowledge all people’s realities, inner worlds and perceptions of equal and balanced valour with everyone else.
Mental Health & The Culture Of “Fame”
Is that why our mental health system is clogged full of people feeling unfurnished? Unsettled? and inferior? Is it to do with the trans-generational and false concept of emotions that is being passed down on to the next? Is societies currency of fame, money and the material and external as basis of “success” damaging and warping young mindsets into a journey not of self discovery but same discovery. This is worthy of reflecting upon not in a overly logical or intellectual sense but an internal one.
Connected Reasons For Actions & Choices
How many people are there in the world that do things only to oblige? All the time? That do things upon themselves because they have to keep up with the Jones? Like it has has been pre- written that this time and thus this moment they must be thinking, feeling, acting and doing like pre-programmed machine people to make friends on this level, have sexual intercourse on this level, marry on this level and have children on this level.
Now its not these life choices that I am bringing into to question, its the level of connectness with the ACT of doing these things on an emotional level that I am questioning. Never do things because you are shoe-horned under false pretences.
You do not got to a party as someone else for everyone would love and adorn under the falsehood of projecting, knowing full well that if you went as a real human being you would shunned at the doorstep.
Self Love Isn’t Selfishness
Unhappiness is sometimes a person who’s good character has been polarised, a person who has been made to feel expendable and exchangeable and this all comes down to what a person feels connection is. True connection is having a level of self-love and self-care but not at the expense of another persons reality.
Paul Isaacs 2020
by Paul Isaacs
Here is an interesting observation, many people who bullied me at school and during my time in education I have heard have always said they “observed” the acts never instigated implying overtly they were witness’ not people to take part in the act.
Let’s be frank you did on a daily basis commenting on my appearance.
This would happen at class, during breaks/lunchtime, waiting for transport home/during transport and at the place were I live from the ages of 5 to 16 years old.
This also included parents and teachers.
However just because I have made conscious and dedicated effort to see and take the good out of your actions, to not let them define me, to not be bitter or hold on to reductive actions of revenge or futile bitterness of the past that doesn’t not mean your acts were correct.
I can be objective and say it was your homelife, your sense of unfulfilment socially and/or academically, clashing of personality, the chemical imbalances that come with teenagehood, the peer pressure etc.
To which is true, however in terms of projection and hurt you flung on me was vile, cruel and cowardly you made me feel worthless and at multiple times I wanted to not live.
Bullying isn’t a “normal” part of growing up, it isn’t a right of passage, it isn’t a phase and the word itself trivialises the actions which is, psychological and/or physical abuse and projected trauma onto another human being.
I thank you for bestowing these actions on me because you gave me a framework how not to treat people, I understand a lot of you have families and children.
I hope you have matured and changed as you have grown and I sincerely wish your young one’s do not go through what I went through.
I refuse to be a victim of the past, for I do not want it to live in my future.
Paul Isaacs 2020
Once I was told why don’t you go to school reunion’s? Having thought about this answer and the infinite amount of timely words I could plunder on this subject. I figured it would best to say never go back to the person you used to be you will only get lost again.
People change for all sorts of reason’s and those people who knew me time is about being the best version of yourself.
For those who bullied me who clad it with denial or detachment or the “phase of being a teenager” you probably needed a hug and listening ear more than I ever did.
Paul Isaacs 2019
Be yourself, don’t define yourself by your autism” – A self-assured life of an inspirational speaker, trainer and author on the autism spectrum – Paul Isaacs
“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” – Eckhart Tolle. Paul was diagnosed with high functioning Autism at the age of 24. He has set himself apart by embarking on a noble mission of spreading awareness of Autism to enable the masses to help people with Autism live fulfilling lives. Paul has written several books about Autism including “Autism: Inside Perceptions of Communication, Interaction, Thoughts & Feelings” and “Living Through the Haze Autobiographical account of my life with Autism” which was a #1 bestseller. Paul has also been active delivering speeches to a variety of audiences such as parents, people on the Autism spectrum, social workers and at events for Autism charities and organizations like The National Autistic Society.
Thank you Paul for your time. Your interview will inspire all our community. The interview with Paul Isaacs was conducted by Inspiration Matters () in May 2018. More Info
P: I would say that aspect of autism being a “fruit salad” by Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) which breaks autism down into “pieces” she was objective, compassionate, real and honest in her words, findings and outlook on autism and so I carry on her model which is about education, mythbusting and not being swayed by the politics and rhetoric which is found in the autism world.
P: I was diagnosed with autism in 2010 at the age of twenty-four I was born in 1986 and went though mainstream education. My Mum thought I was deaf and blind as appeared not to “see” or “hear” however this was to do with visual perceptual disorders and being profoundly meaning deaf. I didn’t gain functional speech between the ages of 7/8 years old.
So that was a slice of my early developmental history when I wrote my first book I thought of the title and just typed in a pre-conscious state this meant that my hands on “auto-pilot” in other words I typed finished the manuscript then read it back and learned about my life. I do find writing a challenge I feel I show more of my connected self through writing than in any other medium which I would say art is a close second.
P: I would say being bullied was an important milestone to come out of. In many ways I send thanks to the people who bullied me over the years as they gave me a framework of how not to treat other people. I see my self not as victim but as a victim of circumstance which is completely different I take a lot of positives from these experiences and try and mould them into something objective, bitterness is a horrible thing to hold onto and as human beings have varying lifespans I do not want to was my life living in the past.
P: From the age of 5 I was tampering with colours smearing them on to pages. I would say my favourite artwork was done during the passing my Gramp in 2017 it really helped me to come to terms with his passing and also the art was a way of remembrance and saying goodbye to his physical form and keeping memories of him alive.
P: I have made reference to the late Polly’s “Fruit Salad” and I would say using her framework would not only help people with autism but also other development disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health issues, development of identity, personality, environment and or learning styles. What ever the package mare be “autism” or not it would certainly look at the students as rounded human beings.
Of course many progressions have been made however the educational system in general is rather generic and stale in terms of how information is present to students so maybe there needs to be a massive shift in the educational system as whole.
P: Being listened to as a human being, their worries, concerns for the future as a term of resolve although that is a big question to ask I would say it will always boil down to the people you meet and the environment you are in. So being non-judgemental would be a start and opening up an honest dialogue.
P: The late Polly Samuels she was a great inspiration to my autism work, speeches, training and overall philosophy, she was an empath, a natural comedienne and always made you think “what if” she challenged the “status quo” in so many areas in her life. I enjoyed our skype chats she made me laugh and I think that is special if people can do that.
P: I really like Oxford and the buildings, restaurants and gardens it has is such a beautiful setting I like the colours, the textures, the smells it is so familiar yet so new at the same time.
P: Be yourself, don’t define yourself by your “autism” you are more than that, do not get into the negative politics of militants in the autism world I have seen the damage that can do to people, your story and life is of equal value regardless.
P: Walk on your own path, tread in its peaks and troughs, ride its waves fierce and quite, invite people to join you share their journey’s treaded also.
Paul Isaacs 2018
Note – this is from a personal perspective
I was speaking with two friends this evening and the subject of school-life came up it was an interesting exercise in subjectivity, objectivity and personal experiences shaping people’s lives but not defining them as we all move on.
My friend respectfully and realistically pointed out the fact that when students are at school (regardless of disability or otherwise) they are on their own unique journeys and difficulties can arise from all sorts of areas which have an impact of self-esteem, confidence and the ability to thrive on a functional level.
Enviroment vs. Social-Emotional Development
I was diagnosed late after my mainstream education had finished the best foundation for “social” I was given was through my tenure in education. It gave me the ability to cope with stressful situations, integrate and overall gave me the invaluable skills of living a “human life” rather than a “autistic life”. I was around people and my disability was not being flag waved to the point where I lost myself and was only defined by one single factor.
Is Bullying/Psychopathy Normal in Educational Settings?
I was surrounded by people who used interpretive speech. I still find this mode of speaking difficult and it is something I have aqquired a long the way in the context of school yes that was true. I cannot deny the verbal and at times physical abuse I encountered at school by other students on a daily basis as ‘normal‘ as their conscious psychothapy and narcissism was allowed run free regardless of the emotional damage that ensued.
Yes it is subjective and many of the students that bullied were emotionally insucure however being so doesn’t give you a free ticket to do it to others, however they did. I see this as a learning curve and lessons in life and I am thankful to learn from the shit and make sculptures out of it. 🙂
They may have changed which is great, found families, bared children etc I wish them well on their journeys.
We (as people) are all on our journeys and bullying and victimisation was part of my experience however many others have been in the similar situations and I refuse to define my present situation by the past experiences. I am indifferent and objective about my past it happened and I am done with the “what could have beens” and “what ifs” I am thankful for my overall experience I would not have had it any other way.
I consider my reality no better or worse than any others, I don’t consider myself “special”, “better” and/or “superior” to anyone else. Affirmation has to be contextual and real not dished out like candy with hollow self-praise. There are too many people in the western world who just want their cake and to eat it all if only it was to shared out a bit more so other people’s realities could be shared and equally acknowledged with the sub-test of mine is better/worse than yours.
Tides of Glory
I strayed and came about
Eager to scream and longing to shout
I have travelled a life which has been painted
I refuse to see my deepest memories as tainted
Come up and down and my thoughts fleeting around
I pick my body and ground my mind with the comfort of sound
A cloud full memories embraced and feetful of walking to be chased
A human being am I no better nor worse living a madless time at even pace
Paul Isaacs 2017
I hope all have a grateful New Year and are ready to spread their wings into different ventures and pathways, you may have to go down a different path and/or continue down the same one until the cross-roads of life unfold you may have do things that are uncomfortable but necessary you may need to do things that continue to give you joy and stability – burning bridges with the philosophy that isn’t shallow but needed, contextual and logical.
Keeping and valuing good friends and loved ones whom value you as you do them with the veneer less intentions and faces with what you see is what you get none too one-sided or over invested but just balanced – this is hopefully something that is learned to me in the coming year to strive to me more balanced, have good emotional management, to not be a doormat or be used by untrustworthy agendas and shallow people he thing more about you can do for them a less about the person you are, to value real friend and companionship this will not just be for 2016 but something that I can work on in the ages.
Paul Isaacs 2016