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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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If I Wasn’t A Person First Then What Would I be?

Me Baby Looking to SideThis is why I see myself as a “person first” because autism is not the sum and total of my being and I do not see as the totality of my existence, this isn’t because I am ashamed it is because I don’t faceblindness as “me”, simultagnosia as “me”, semantic agnosia as “me”, aphasia as “me”, alexithymia as “me” and all the other pieces of my autism “fruit salad” as the totality of “me”.

I have personality traits mercurial, idiosyncratic, self-sacrificing and serious which impacts and interacts with environmental and identity development and mental health co-conditions that come part of the “package”.

My experience is not an “autistic” experience (you cannot define that anyway) it is a collective experience as a person who happens to have a stacking of pre-existing conditions high enough for it be called “autism”

If I wasn’t a person first then what would I be?

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Autism Isn’t One Thing – Donna Williams “Fruit Salad” Analogy

 

Me at 6 Months Old With My Teddy

Me at 6 Months Old With My Teddy

AUTISM ISN’T “ONE THING”

Donna Williams and I have been sorting out the origins of our Autism Fruit Salad – and this is interesting I must say so here goes –

What Syndromes Make My Autism Fruit Salad? (Fruit Salad Analogy Created By Donna Williams 1995/2005)

My “Autism” is comprised of 5 separate “syndromes” and interrelating “cluster syndromes/conditions”.

Thank you Donna for all your help. 🙂

Donna’s Fruit Salad/Diagnostic History Link

MY FRUIT SALAD

PREEMIE SYNDROME

I had a distressed birth and was premature this was due to these factors, Jaundice, Cerebral Hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain), Brain Injury (as a result of Hypoxia) and a what is termed a Silent Stroke – In my first book I talk about my mother’s concern as I used one arm to move around the sitting room floor this certainly is associated with not only developmental delays in motor functioning but associate brain injury/stroke.

Brain Injury Related Agnosias 

Auditory Agnosias 

Pure Auditory Agnosia
Language Auditory Agnosia (Meaning Deafness)
Aphasia

Body Disconnection

Receptive/Expressive Language & Movement Issues
(Speech and Communication)

Echophenomena

  • Echolalia
  • Echopraxia
  • Echomimia
  • Palilalia

Genetic Related Agnosias (From Family)

GERTSMANN SYNDROME

This is something that Dr Manuel Casanova recognised after reading my first book that I had left hemisphere neglect (I was was left handed), had problems with left-right, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Aphasia and Finger agnosia.

SCOTOPIC SENSITIVITY SYNDROME/LIGHT SENSITIVITY/SENSORY INTEGRATION DISORDER

Problems with depth perception, headaches, “mapping visual space”, visual fragmentation, overwhelmed (euphoria) by colours, textures and patterns – associated with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia.

MULTIPLE COMPLEX DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDER (MCDD)

Depression, Anxiety, Dissociative Disorders, Sleep Disorder, Synesthesia and Tic Disorder 

GENETIC SYNDROME 

CONCLUSION

By Sorting out ones Autism “Fruit Salad” can give a sense of completion I believe these last 48 hours have done that.  By sorting all the bits, the whys and hows etc. You can adapt your learning style, communication style, body mapping style, integration style and more. This is truly a postive for me and it can be a positive for your you.  Once you know all this you can be one with your personhood because what every your

Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism 2014


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How I “See” Visuals – Faceblindness, Object Blindness and Meaning Blindness

Street Scene Pixeled OVERVIEW

This how I “see” visuals without my lenses blocks of raw/colour/shine/texture – I see things in bits Simultanagnosia – object-blindness), I see things with no/limited meaning Semantic Agnosia– meaning blindness), I see face as blocks of colour I can’t comprehend nor distinguish Prosopagnosia – face blindness). I see text but with no meaning (visual-verbal agnosia). Colours meld (Color Agnosia).

As I child I would lick, sniff, tap, rub, mouth my surroundings I would sculpt people faces to “connect” with them, being “seemingly non-verbal” I live in a world of my own language sounds, clicks, movement that even know I have to re-interpret when typical language comes my way.  I like my sensory based world in the context that touched means a lot about nature (I was a sensory explorer) so touching was a way of “connecting” and thus communicating and yes I STILL live in that world.

 

Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism  2014


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Autism & Identity – Why I say I’m a person with Autism

Me at 6 Months Old With My Teddy

Me at 6 Months Old With My Teddy

Autism is a part of me not the “whole” of me, I’m not “proud” of my Autism on the basis that “pride” can lead to an elevated ego narcissism etc, I’m “neutral” about my Autism try to look at it Laterally.  I use “Autistic” in some contexts (like on my FB page for example and in speeches) but I always point out it doesn’t define.

MY PERSONHOOD

Happy, positive, easy-going, idiosyncratic, eccentric, obsessive, solitary and helpful and take people as they come. That my personhood NOT my Autism my parents saw “Paul” first but in turn acknowledged the disabilities and abilities within my “Autism Fruit Salad” this is what empowered me. 

MY AUTISM- CONDENSED

Gertsmann SyndromeDyslexia, Dyscalculia, Finger Agnosia, Left-Right Disorientation & Aphasia.
Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/ Light Sensitivity/Sensory Integration Disorder – Light Sensitive Depth Perception, Headaches, Fatigue – Associated with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia, Visual Fragmentation.
Premie SyndromeJaundice, Cerebral Hypoxia (lack of oxygen to brain), Silent Stoke, Brain Injury (Left Hemisphere) Auditory Agnosias, Aphasia, Visual Agnosias, Pain Agnosia, Colour Agnosia, Echolalia, Echopraxia, Echomimia, Speech & Language Delay and other issues such as Oral Apraxia & Visuospatial Dysgnosia & Form Agnosia.
Multiple Complex Developmental Disorder (MCDD) – Depression, Anxiety, Dissociative Issues, Sleep Disorder, Synesthesia, Tic Disorder.
Genetics – Developmental Agnosias – Alexithymia, Social Emotional Agnosia, Dyslexia, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome.

and More!

This doesn’t “define me” but does explain my brain connectivity, perceptual disorders, co-conditions, light sensitivity, speech and language and more – This doesn’t define me (My Personhood”) but it does it explain why and how I experience the world.

The importance of selfhood is identity and that is empowering its itself.

Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism 2014