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Autism from the inside


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Autism, Walking Gait & Hemiplegia

A Dreamscapter 2016

 

Note this is from a personal perspective

As I have documented before in previous posts hemiplegia is a part of my autism profile which in my case is associated with a traumatic birth, prematurity and brain injury due to a placental abruption.

This affects the right side of my body, which caused me to have problems with the following.

  • Left-right orientation
  • Turning on one side (regardless of where the noise, auditory or tactile stimulus is coming from)
  •  Using the dominant side of body for tasks that involve both sides of the body
  •  Having an unusual/abnormal  gait which involves the right leg stiffening with a lack of bending in the knee and the leg itself rotating away from the other leg

What are the effects of hemiplegia?

It is difficult to generalise: hemiplegia affects each child differently. The most obvious result is a varying degree of weakness, stiffness (spasticity) and lack of control in the affected side of the body, rather like the effects of a stroke. In one child this may be very obvious (he or she may have little use of one hand, may limp or have poor balance); in another child it will be so slight that it only shows when attempting specific physical activities.

Copyright © 2007-2014 HemiHelp

Gait refers to the controlled manner of walking or moving on foot.  The functioning of the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system determines the gait pattern. In children who have hemiplegia, this delicate system is out of balance and often results in different types of gait.

Gait in the Child with Hemiplegia

A child with hemiplegia may have a tendency to walk with the toes on the affected foot striking the ground first, instead of the usual heel strike. This “toe drop” often results in our kids taking quite a few falls and tumbles. In order to clear the toe while walking, the child may develop a variety of ways to compensate, which then result in problems with his hip and or knee.   Treatments may include gait analysis, physical therapy, orthotics, serial casting, botulinum toxin and surgery. The goal of treatment is not to “cure” the condition, but to enable the child to achieve her maximum potential.

© 2017 CHASA. All Rights Reserved.

What has helped me?

I still have residual hemiplegia in terms of its impact on my life and it tends to start when I walk for long periods with associated movements etc. What has empowered me over the years is that same thing that would help someone who has acquired brain injury, a stroke etc which is called “brain gym”.

As an Infant & Teenager

  • Walking in long fields, day-trips and other activities (with the family and school trips)
  • Swimming in the local pools and streams (when I was younger)
  • Cycling from an early age (first with stabilisers and moved on to independent cycling) 

As an Adult

  • I continue to to walk from place to place promoting movement to the side which is impacted
  • I continue to touch type promoting both sides of my body being used
  • I continue to create art

Personality Types & Styles Of Learning

  • Being idiosyncratic and solitary meant that I was empowered by trying to do do things in my own time, my own way  and with a small amount of people so I could get direction
  • Being serious and mercurial meant that I was able to things with a level of focus and with element of free-will and boundary making and making it fun and light-hearted
  • I have a kinesthetic style of learning with a mixture of solitary and social learning

Communication 

  • Exposure Anxiety – Meant that being indirectly confrontational was the best way for me to feel included without the “watching, waiting, expecting” nature of direct contact setting or “retaliation and diversion” responses
  • Aphasia/Language Processing and Visual Perceptional Issues – Breaking down communication into smaller chunks, using gesture, tone, inflection, objects of reference, one topic at a time and one context at a time

Conclusion

Through looking at the different pieces of one’s autism (or autisms) if hemiplegia is apart of the profile it may be worth thinking of different ways to empower the person, gaining confidence and trying out new activities without fear and/or anxiety about getting things wrong but focusing on the little steps as always communication, sensory integration, sensory perceptual, associated personality types and any other issues would have to be taken into account.

 

Paul Isaacs 2017

 

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Autism -Myopia (Short Sightedness), Visual Agnosias & Tinted Lenses

OVERVIEW

As a child I appeared both deaf and blind due to complex visual and auditory agnosias which affect how I “see” and “hear”  the world, when I was 5 years old I was diagnosed with shortsightedness (myopia) in my right eye and given glasses what this blog is going to go through is the the differences between and physical sight issues and neurological  percuta sight issues and in my case how they can co-exist, what worked and what didn’t.

MyopiaSHORT SIGHTEDNESS AND CONVENTIONAL GLASSES

In my right eye I have slightly  blurred vision this is due to a condition of the eye called myopia, this can be “corrected” either by eye glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. I had conventional glasses at 5 years old, however by “correcting” the physical aspect of my right eye it  didn’t “correct” the complex neurological  aspect – visual agnosias – and this what was still persistent during my years with conventional glasses – which are

 

Brain Lobe 2VISUAL AGNOSIAS – “BLINDNESS” IN THE BRAIN CONVENTIONAL GLASSES DIDN’T HELP MY VISUAL PERCEPTUAL ISSUES

Visual agnosia is often due to bilateral damage in the posterior occipital and/or temporal lobe in the brain

With my conventional glasses all the problems were still there all during my educational years I had problems with visual fragmentation only seeing “pieces” never “wholes”, not seeing depth (everything seeming flat and 2D, not seeing with meaning, reading with meaning,  letters and numbers being jumbled, my sense of body was “fragmented” and where my body was in space, time and movement even with my right eye “corrected” I was neurologically “blind” to the right side of my body and what I was “seeing” – as I have stated in previous posts because of my visual agnosias I live in a sensory based world.

CONVENTUAL GLASSES CAUSED

  • Headaches
  • Heightened Fragmentation
  • Increased Fatigue
  • Decreased Concentration

TINTED LENSES – FITTED 2012

With years of having conventional glasses I was diagnosed formally with scotopic sensitivity syndrome, visual agnosias and learning difficulties by James Billett when I first tried my tinted lenses on it was like magic in many ways as I saw things wholes, my balance and body language improved instantly, words and letters where configured more, I read faster processing words quicker and numbers quicker, I moved better in space and could process visuals in light.

CONCLUSION

From a personal perspective myopic vision and visual agnosias both play apart in the way I perceives the world however I would say the agnosias had the greater impact in my case as my Mum thought I was totally blind in my younger years, but I’m glad that although shortsightedness was recognised that eventually my visual perceptual disorders where finally recognised too, maybe we need to look at folks on the spectrum who have both issues with their eyes and visual processing and see what works best for them for me personally  conventional glasses didn’t work but tinted lenses do.

 

Paul Isaacs 2014

 


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Autism – Visual Agnosias, Hemianopsia, Myopia, “Mapping” A Room & The Phantom Tea Cup

SAM_0520OVERVIEW

This is a personal perspective of Autism &  Visual Agnosias 

When people where to look at room, them may think what is going on it, things seem jumbled, cluttered untidy even! This maybe true but there are reasons for this – as a child my Mum thought I was deaf and blind as I say she was half right the “blindness” and “deafness” where to do with sensory perceptual disorders in my case visual and auditory agnosias.

Even now the way in which I map space and objects is very much on a tactile sensory based level (touching to perceive not processing meaning than touching) this means I do certain things to understand my surroundings

AGNOSIAS THAT PLAY APART IN THIS –

  1. Simultagnosia 
  2. Semantic Agnosia
  3. Visuospatial Dysgnosia
  4. Hemianopsia 

 

PHYSICAL ISSUES & NEUROLOGICAL ISSUES  – GLASSES VS TINTED LENSES

Myopia (short sightedness)  in right eye – I had glasses (for shortsightedness) when I was around 5 years old guess what it made my visual agnosias and visual perceptual disorders more acute by magnifying the neurological perceptual distortions – something that James Billett pointed out who gave me tinted lenses in 2012 with glasses I got headaches, felt ill, heightened fragmentation with my tinted lenses all gone that is really saying something to me that we need to test for not only visual eye problems but neurological visual perceptual problems too.

 

  • Things of importance are always on display on a table top so I can “touch” perceive and use accordingly (simult and semantic agnosia)
  • I have a preference for things being on the left side of my body (hemispatial neglect to the right side of my body)
  • If I put things away out of touch for example in a drawer – I will “lose” them in both my mind and body and not know where to “perceive” them (semantic agnosia)
  • Moving around the room means I’m “mapping” the room with my own movements each touch is meaningful in term of getting a sense of myself and the room (visuospatial dysgnosia)

 

THE PHANTOM TEA CUP

Not that long ago I would was in my sitting room and made a cup of tea I put the cup on my “right side/blind side” this meant that I “lost” the context and concept of what and where the teacup was so I got another tea cup repeated the process and again and again in total I racked up about four tea cup once I investigated and perceived the right side I realised I had used four separate tea cups. 🙂

Paul Isaacs  2014