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Autism from the inside


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Left Hemisphere, Right Hemisphere & The “Mechanics” Of Autism “Fruit Salads”

Autism and Aspergers Hemishpere Image

When looking at autism “fruit salads” and function of both brain hemispheres it is interesting look at the difficulties in each area.

Looking at Donna Williams’ work on the subject of the differences between “Aspie” and “Autie” fruit salads was to do with hemisphere dominance and neglect a trade off between on or the other with “Aspinauts” being the “grey area” of in-between.

On a personal note I always thought she was on to something and looking at this simple table backs it up, consultancy observations, personal experiences and tireless effort to give people a better understanding of both DISablity and disABILITY with autism.

http://brain.web-us.com/brain/LRBrain.html

Left Right Brain Functions Aspergers Autism Image 2018

Right Hemishpere (Asperger’s) “Fruit Salad”

Extralinguistic Deficits

Again, RHD patients are unlikely to display the kinds of phonological, syntactic or semantic problems associated with aphasia. However, although they do not typically have many specific language problems, they definitely have difficulty communicating. This impairment seems to follow from an inability to integrate information; RHD patients apparently do not make adequate use of context in their interpretations of linguistic or nonlinguistic messages. They have difficulty distinguishing significant from unimportant information. For example a patient of mine when asked to describe the “Cookie Theft” picture card from the Boston focused on irrelevant features without describing the overall picture. Some aphasics with typical left hemisphere lesions present with executive function disturbance similar to right hemisphere syndrome.

Literal Interpretations

RHD patients may be able to comprehend only the literal meaning of language. Thus, they will often fail to understand many jokes, metaphors, irony, sarcasm, and common sayings that include figurative language. For example, if an RHD patient hears someone say that they are about to “hit the ceiling,” he might assume that the person is really about to begin striking the ceiling. Such a patient may also have trouble understanding indirect requests. For example, if he is asked if he “could open the window,” he may fail to identify this as a polite request and simply answer “yes” rather than opening the window.

These problems with figurative language may be viewed as one manifestation of the inability to base interpretations on context.

Difficulty identifying relevant information

When listening to a conversation or reading, an RHD patient may fail to abstract the main point contained in the information being shared. This happens in spite of the fact that, unlike an aphasic, the patient can understand all the individual words and grammatical structures used. For RHD patients, it appears that their comprehension of everyday language is impaired by a failure to distinguish important information from irrelevant detail and also by an inability to integrate According to Blake 2007, RH patients have difficulty comprehending non-literal language, humor, and multiple interpretations Furthermore, Blake says that their difficulty with language production includes: impulsivity, inefficiency, and egocentricity. She also says that the same problems are seen in traumatic brain injury.

Inability to interpret body language and facial expressions

In a conversation, RHD may miss out on important cues that should tell them about the emotional state and true intention of the person with whom they are interacting. This inability to interpret body language and facial expression may be related to an overall failure to use context in the interpretation of individual pieces of information. Problems with the interpretation of facial expression may also be due to the fact that RHD patients often fail to maintain eye contact with their conversation partners.

Flat affect

RHD patients may fail to display a wide range of facial expressions themselves. Also their speech is frequently aprosodic, or lacking variations in pitch and stress. Some patients will sound “robot-like,” and thus be unable to express emotion or changes in meaning via changes in intonation. These patients will no longer be able to vary pitch to signal the difference between a question and a statement or use word stress changes within a sentence to signal a difference in meaning.

Problems with Conversational Rules

RHD patients may fail to follow conversational rules, including those governing turn-taking, the initiation and closure of a conversation. RHD patients may tend to dominate conversations, as they are frequently verbose. They may also fail to properly estimate levels of shared knowledge, failing to give the listener enough background information to understand their statements. According to Myers and Mackisack (1990), RHD patients appear to not care about the needs of the listener. They, like children in an early developmental phase, may assume too much knowledge on the part of the listener; or not enough. They appear to answer without adequate search for the right answer. They also may fail to pick up on non verbal cues that signal listener’s reactions.

Impulsivity

RHD patients may exhibit poor judgment and problem solving abilities. They may require constant supervision due to a tendency to attempt tasks of which they are no longer physically capable. This may be related to anosognosia. They may also exhibit impulsivity in the sense of failing to censor the statements they make to other people.

Confabulation

RHD patients may make untrue statements. These do not usually seem to be deliberate lies. According to Brownwell et al. (1995), this may be the patient’s way of responding to his own confusion rather than attempts to mislead the listener

The Neuroscience on the Web Series:
CMSD 636 Neuropathologies of Language and Cognition

CSU, Chico, Patrick McCaffrey, Ph.D.

There tends to be a lower level of visual-verbal processing difficulties in this profile, social emotional agnosia, alexithymia, issues around a shared “sense” of social, self and other. Internal mentalising (to gain meaning)  would make sense.

 

Left Hemisphere (Autism)  “Fruit Salad”
  • Sensory disturbances, weakness or paralysis on the right side of the body. Read more.
  • Impaired vision on the right hand side of both eyes. (hemianopia)
  • Speech and language problems (aphasia).
  • Difficulties in recognizing objects (agnosia).
  • Problems with daily activities, routines that used to go well (apraxia).
  • Reduced memory for verbal (spoken) matters.
  • Decrease in analytical skills.
  • Problems with chronology (in order of time, cause and effect)
  • Reduced timing and speed of skills
  • Confusing left and right
  • Difficulty in dealing with numbers, understand numbers and dealing with money
  • Become slow
  • Exhibit insecure, anxious and withdrawn behavior
  • Risk of depression
  • Chance of changing moods, easily overwhelmed by emotions

© 2014 – 2018 Braininjury-explanation.com Foundation

There seems to be a higher level of visual-verbal processing difficulties, language processing disorder, sensory perctupaul agnosias, problem with a sense of “self” and other.  External mentalising (to gain meaning) would make sense.

Paul Isaacs 2018

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“Doing” vs. “Being”

2017-03-29 17.18.04

 

“Doing” in its extreme form can consist of over-thinking, over worrying, over-analysing losing grounded functioning and not being pre-occupied with too many things at once denying at times what is right in front of you tentative steps to be taken in the overburdens mind that consist of unwanted thoughts that sometimes never let on to being silenced. I am sure that that wanting to be a “be-er” may consist of flattening thoughts.

“Being” in its extreme form can be pre-occupied with the moment feelings of floating, connection to the situation with yourself, having an inner world to eagerly retreat to that consists of many colours, patterns, shapes and shine being jolted into to “doing” and conscious thought may well be difficult but can be achieved.

None of these things are distraction or detraction of cognitive skills although quirky and paradox like presentations may resume.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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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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Hemiplegia & Autism

                                                                                                                                                                                                        10338674_881821881831690_7870309102355592004_o

RIGHT SIDE – (LEFT HEMISPHERE INJURY)                                           

HEMIPLEGIA DEFINITION 

Hemiplegia is caused by damage to the brain. The damage can occur before or during birth, which is called congenital hemiplegia. No one knows what causes the damage in these cases.

Hemiplegia can also be acquired. This is caused by damage to the brain, such as a stroke, in childhood.

Sometimes the condition will only become clear as the baby gets older, such as having trouble walking.

An injury to the right side of the brain will cause the left side of the body to be paralysed. An injury to the left side of the brain will cause the right side of the body to be paralysed.

The condition can affect any child, but it is slightly more common in premature babies. It is quite a common condition, affecting one in 1000 births.

LEFT HEMISPHERE BRAIN INJURY & RIGHT SIDE DISCONNECT

A Personal Account

As you can see from the picture above there are visible signs of hemplegia (due to difficult birthing, placental abruption and “silent” stroke within the womb) such as – notice how the mouth is lop-sided and has a stretched appearance as a smile (the side the that is “blind” is not matching) also the eyebrows are not matching either. As a child my Mum thought I was deaf and blind due to sensory perceptual and language processing issues the left side of brain is where language comes from (receptive and expressive) so I have an aphasia as well as visual perceptual disorders, motor cordination, under-processing on my blind side both visual (Homonymous hemianopsia) and motor perception (Hemispatial neglect).

WHAT HELPED?

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Rough & Tumble Play (as a child)
  • Painting
  • Drawing (sketches, doodles, drawing by route)
  • Practical Living Skills (cooking, cleaning etc)
  • Tinted Lenses

Paul Isaacs 2015


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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

 

 


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Autism & Brain Gym – Integration – Left or Right Brain Dominance

OVERVIEW

Following the from the post with Donna Williams about brain activity/integration I thought I would put some points that helped me as a young person with Autism.

Left Hemisphere Neglect was my issues so what help with me getting a sense of my own body, balance and integration etc?

What Helped? 

1. Was introduced to swimming since I was 5 years old has done me a lot of good that was at primary school (helped me sense my body, body movement)

2. Riding a bike from any early age (helped with balance, sense of body, left and right etc)

3. Living in the countryside walking with dogs (helped with depth, pressure, leverage and how gauge different modes of walking)

4. Was allowed “Sensory Explore” in the back garden (feeling textures, elements etc)

5. Father introduced me to Taekwondo (balance, sense of body, core strength, simultaneous movements of arms, legs and body) 

I hope this helps. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2014SAM_0593