Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Autism As A Describer Not a Definer – Combating “Label Lust” and “Overidentification”

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I have been an autism and advocate for over seven years I have seen many autism “fruit salads” in my time some people with auto-immune problems, other with complex mental health issues, others who see their autism as a curse, others who see their autism as special and unique, others who identify as their whole being as “autistic” others who don’t. I have seen militancy and anger towards people who go against old rhetoric who propose realism as opposed to glamorisation, people should allowed to give their own perspective from different angles, perspectives and offering multiple realities. 

Differing Profiles

With all the the “pieces” I describe in my training sessions and/or presentations are “describing” words the reality for that person will differ from “piece to piece” however that “piece” will have its own name and describing it allows the people understand a fragment of it albeit from a personal and/or observational perspective. Its hard to get the balance right but it is worth it.

Definition vs Describing vs Identification 

It isn’t defining people by the labels offered which is from an educational, resource perspective and even a self-reflective perspective. It is offering a window of what could be going on. I am not the speaker for all (never have been) but I put the questions out there.

 

Human Beings First

If we (as human beings) all defined ourselves by a set of labels it would be rather reductive and in reality a real shame. At the end of my sessions I offer a reality that despite the differing levels of “pieces” and/or disability  they are not defined by  their condition, they are human beings first like everyone else.

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Autism “Culture”, The Word “NT” and Militancy

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If people are representing one has to think about is it for other people? Self-service? Advocacy? Empowerment? Information sharing? 

Militancy Is it “Normal”?

If militancy is perceived as the norm then who is that actuality helping? Assisting? Or otherwise is this the new phase that becomes relevant before it becomes redundant and passe?

The leader of their group replied in a tone lacking in warmth, ‘it would have been better without any NTs present‘. The others chimed in in support of him. Alienated, I left them to it.

Later when they were buddying up with more of the same separatist rhetoric and there was a tone to it that sat uncomfortably with me, a tone I’d heard before, in hierarchical non-autie children in playgrounds once upon a time (where I’d also known nice ones).

I had to let this group know that I simply don’t do bigotry… that my non-autie friends are not typical, mundane, boring or expendable and that I refuse to use any derogatory term that hints they are such, such as ‘NT‘.

As you can imagine, they were quite taken aback. I was meant to ‘understand’. I was meant to be ‘one of them’. But if ‘one of them’ meant I was meant to hang out in a group and dislike or disrespect another group, and share this as ‘belonging’ and ‘shared culture’ and ‘shared understanding’ then this wasn’t ‘me’.

Donna Williams

If this is the case what example is being set? By noting ones perceived superiority or “specialism” over others is still bigotry, separatism and creates more waves of the old “them and us” which doesn’t represent inclusion, empowerment, reality-sharing or otherwise. Which burns bridges more bridges than it claims to build.

The Word “NT” It Isn’t Helpful

I have come to believe that the word “NT” is not only unhelpful  and has been projected in such a way that would imply that other people who fit this “label” are “typical” therefore one could perceive that word as “boring”. I find this not only hypocritical but also a mystery because in truth there is no such thing as a “neurotypical”.

Autism “Culturism and Militancy”

The English word militant is both an adjective and a noun, and is usually used to mean vigorously active, combative and aggressive, especially in support of a cause

One cannot cherry pick what autism is and isn’t as a shared collective that is same for everybody in the truth autism in its presentation and reality is different for each person so in order to advocate and empower you have to be aware that the only reality you can share is your own and be humble and conscious enough to say that. To allow other people’s realities to relevant you cannot speak for all, to empower you cannot project “reality sameness”  because no human being is the same.

No One Should Be Defined As One “Label”

Can anybody be defined by one factor? Can anybody describe themselves in one word? I do not define myself by my “autism” it is certainly apart me but it isn’t the driving factor at all. When I was born I was born a human being and all that comes with it I live as a human being. There is much to be said about in the end being emotionally grounded, considerate and realistic.

Egalitarianism – The Way Forward

Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning ‘equal’) – or equalitarianism[1][2] – is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people.[3]Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status,

My wish is that in order for this to work people must consider all realities, perspectives, opinions and input in a constructive manner that is overall beneficial.

Paul Isaacs 2017

 

 


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Autism -The Three Stages of Empowerment

Autism “Fruit Salads”(© Donna Williams 1995/2005/2014)

This is bottom to top analogy which implements all aspects of what could be in a person’s “autism fruit salad” to start off with the foundation is to understand the mechanics of what is within a person’s “autisms” (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 person’s profile/profiles looking holistically as well as professional for empowerment, guidance, social support, emotional support and/or any aspect of the person “autisms” 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 person’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 “final step” 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


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Autism Has Wider Palette Of Experiences & Presentations

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A Human World to be lived 

I haven’t blogged for a long time and sometimes that is fine you need to recharge your batteries and focus on other things in life. I have since realised that I have been writing for sometime on a vast array of different subjects, topics and genres. That being said in the years I have been in the “autism world” However well a live in a human world.

Looking Inwards and forward

The overall motif and thinking has progressed on a personal and professional level this is through self awareness and the awareness of other realities, perspectives, opinions, agreements and disagreements which are all part of the melting pot.

To The Future and beyond 

Looking at the title maybe it is self-explanatory “a wider palette” means that a I feel one of the ways in which autism awareness can go forward is the reading, listening, talking and communication as many differing presentations as possible.

SEEING THE PIECES & HAVING SIGNPOSTS

To ditch the militancy and politics that is harming and taking away from needs to be done, to ditch unhelpful stereotypes and to a see autism as a “fruit salad” that will educate and empower so that all voices and realities can be heard and acknowledged.

This means that the correct interventions, advocacy and support can be made some of this can be from the family and friends, other community based services and others professional.

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 Autism to Autisms Many Pieces Of The Whole….

With that being said how many areas of “functioning” regardless of presentation could be help if we saw autism and pieces that are specific to each person? So once those pieces have been discovered and found  out then meaningful interventions can resume tailored for them be it.

  • Communication
  • Personality Types 
  • Sensory Perceptual
  • Sensory Integration
  •  Dietary 
  • Auto-Immune
  • Learning Styles
  • Life Skills
  • & More

 

Paul Isaacs 2017


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“Autism” A Wheel Within A Wheel (and so forth)

Seeing that “autism” has never been one thing,  I wonder if there will be a time in the future when autism will be seen as an adjective? When autism will been seen as plural (multi-dimensional)? Rather than singular definition (concrete/unmoveable)?

This would surely open up to a host of individuals with very different needs that could be considered, ventured and empowered.

This would be for all people on the spectrum who’s specfic realties and specific perspectives will quite rightly be acknowledged as their own?

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Keep The Doors Open Without Judgement

People Are People

In times of great strife one must always remember that they are a person – a sense of autonomy is a matter of perspective as well as a matter who you have spent you connected time with before you have gone to the land of solitude – it brings great clarity to be at peace in solitude as does to of person’s who share the same balance as you do.

Do not see colour, race, gender, culture but see people for whom they are without judgement or hate to have that perception means that your eyes will always be meet with closed doors the more doors that closed the more your world becomes smaller the more the smaller your world becomes they less you see of it, the less see of it the more you will be consumed by your own judgement.

Like a person asking themselves the same question that they now the answer the perpetual loop that may never be broken – Live beyond the loop, beyond doors and beyond the narrow – live in the open let you mind be free.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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The Oceans Of Communities

Friends and Friends Alike 

The new media of the book of face has made me once question my values of what friendship really is – I have come to the conclusion that fruitfulness of friendship and unity knows no bounds like a lake travelling out to sea and crossing oceans of culture, language and other worlds that are just within a grasp – deep and meaningfulness is solidified in the connectedness that is felt with each person – so a friendship is just as important as a friend whom decides otherwise not to be apart of your life but to carrying with their own that is not sad occasion but a freeing one – wish them no ill as it is not something that comes readily but live in hope that everybody finds grounded being in this world.

Paul Isaacs 2016