Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside

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Paul Isaacs: Living Through the Haze 2nd Edition Review By Dr. Manuel Casanova 


Paul Isaacs’ book, “Living Through the Haze”, has been published (second edition). The book has new content, a new introduction and an afterword that I wrote. Paul was diagnosed as autistic in 2010. As a child Paul was considered to be a “naughty child” with no prospects for a future. At present Paul is a lecturer, trainer and consultant who promotes autism awareness throughout the UK. In the following paragraphs I provide the afterword that I wrote for “Living Through the Haze”:

Many times during his life Paul felt confused and detached from his surroundings. His attention could only focus on one aspect of his sensory experience. He lived his life as if wearing blinders, and as such, he could not react adequately to what people asked of him at home, at school or at work. His perceptual style made him seem odd to his peers. Parents, teachers and peers objectivised and bullied him.  In the end the reader can only wonder, how did Paul survive?

For many autistic individuals the environment overwhelms their nervous system with information.  Seeing a face is like looking at the sun. Blinking, when looking at the sun, is a response aimed at avoiding damage to your eyes by allowing only a sliver of sunrays to hit your retina. In autistic individuals, allowing only a sliver of available information into your brain is meant to protect it from overstimulation. Overall, autistic individuals can’t see the forest for the trees and it is easy for them to become thoroughly engrossed in the details of a particular situation but miss the larger picture.

Paul grew up displaying many of the classical symptoms of autism. Unfortunately, as is the case for many autistic individuals, his diagnosis came late in life.  Still, he prospered and found fulfillment in being a speaker, counselor and in helping others like him. In this book Paul publicizes his own plight with some of the darker aspects of autism. Through no fault of his own Paul was misunderstood and relentlessly bullied by even those who were supposed to protect him.  The psychological and physical aggression that he suffered is at the crux of a mixed mood disorder that at times has greatly handicapped him.

So we can ask again, how did Paul survive? In a longitudinal study sponsored by the NIMH on so-called recovered autism, it seems that the most salient commonality for those that “recovered” was caring parents who were quick to act on behalf of their children.  Paul in this regard was blessed with caring supportive parents and grandparents. He also found solace and purpose in a special education camp outside of school, which he called the “Autism Base”. There he found others like him living within a spectrum of severities. More importantly, within the Autism Base he found comradely and a social sense of togetherness.

Paul has not forgotten the painful experiences of the past but has learned from them.  Indeed, the excuses provided by the teachers who failed him are indelibly marked in his memory. He has a keen power for introspection.  His ability to self-reflect is one of the reasons why I believe that there is undue emphasis in the Theory of Mind conceptualization of autism. Paul was always keenly aware of his mental state and on occasion provides privileged access to the mental state of his parents.

This is a must read book for parents with autistic kids, especially if they are attending mainstream schools. The book is also a valuable aid to teachers. It portrays in a no holds barred way the effects of intimidation and the behavioral manifestations of bullying. Finally, Paul provides many constructive comments and guidelines as to how to improve the school system and teaches by example the positives of a supportive role by parents.

Source: Paul Isaacs: Living Through the Haze

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Living Through The Haze: 2nd Edition


When I wrote Living Through Haze in 2012 it was a journey of finding out why I ticked the way I did and what that meant to me it was year in the making and I thankful for it being published to help other son the spectrum and professionals.

I was also glad that I got a foreword by Dr. Michael Layton the psychiatrist who diagnosed me in 2010 with keen introspection he is in many ways the opening of the book a precursor to the journey.

Now in 2016 I feel I have gained a lot of new worldly experiences and wanted to update part of my book which I felt needed to be. With the kind help of Tracy Kilner who is on the autism spectrum she assisted in the editing process with multicaulis attention to grammar, punctuation and  sentence formation.

Image result for Dr, Manuel Casanova

The next was an Afterword by Dr. Manuel Casanova who reviewed the 1st Edition of my book  he clearly illustrates what can learned from a person’s experiences and how that can be a foundation for the future, he also in no holds barred fashion clearly demonstrates the emotional  and mental health difficulties that have happened due to circumstances difficulties during my life.

Image result for James Billett Irlen

The next person is James Billett he diagnosed me in 2012 with visual perceptual disorders and gives a formal introduction to the book using statistics and reflecting on what can be learned from the reading this book.

Other elements included additional chapters and the expansion of the “autism fruit salad” section of my book.

Image result for donna williams

The final person who I would like thank in the process of this book is Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) as you know I have written many blogs, articles and presentations in conjunction with her extensive work in the field of autism. I would not know anything about he mechanics of my autism with her kindly help during the early 2010s. I would not be able to speaker in such away about my autism or autism in general without help. I value her professional input, caring nature and friendship.

My family and friends have always been there during times of need and I value and cherish their company and being the rocks that they are.



Paul Isaacs 2016

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Autism, Learning Disability & IQ – Seeing Is Not Always Believing – People with Classic Autism & LDs are Intelligent


I have more than just executive functioning problems with following tasks, more than just visual agnosias, auditory processing, language processing, movement disorder and so forth – I struggle with cognitively following tasks losing steps to self care skills such as shaving, washing, bathing, toileting, cooking and new complex information (at least for my brain), I regain these steps with effort much like “colour by numbers” and rote. I’m extremely hyperlexic verbally “covering up” additional cognitive problems with expressive vocabulary that does not reflect what is going on on the inside. However just to because I struggle with these aspects of living doesn’t mean I have got anything offer the world.

Dr Casanova 2013

Dr Casanova


Dr Manuel Casanova’s Review of “Living Through The Haze”

Paul was the product of a premature delivery and was considered a very small baby when born. Some physicians would consider the fact that he is left handed a possible sign of brain damage from his premature delivery. As other autistic individuals, Paul had delayed language acquisition, an atrocious handwriting, and a possible learning deficit. The commonality of all of his signs and symptoms is what both Paul and Donna Williams call a “fruit salad”.

Yes in the context of Learning Deficit Manuel means a Learning Disability – after reading and processing the review I emailed and thanked for discovering this as this was something I was contemplating for long time silently.


That is because even though my IQ isn’t that “highest” imagine the width is a short line (my IQ) then the depth of knowledge is the length Autism like with Donna Williams is the thing that pieces together cognitively so like an savant with autism (although I’m not a savant) the depth of knowledge is there in one strong area.

Donna Williams Copyright D.Williams and C. Samuel


My interests are not intellectual. I’m not a techie, a scientist, an engineer, a mathematician or a book worm. I don’t understand fluently documentaries or have the capacity to cohesively follow the workings of intricate political groups. Even writing a shopping list means carrying the empty container down the shop. I’m no Einstein, but I think my views still matter. It’s not for lack of passion or interest either. I’m simply an artist instead.

Donna Williams

(although in the textbooks IQ is “high” and “low” I would say that it is about what one can do with their life and that is important and it’s about how you use your IQ not how “high” or “low” it is, one with an LD shouldn’t be written off as “unintelligent” or an “intellectual disability” it isn’t true and it is a common misconception that still lingers to today)


I still live in a sensory based world and my interests are sensory based, shiny things, things that sparkle, things that whirl, things that flash, textures, tastes and so forth I’m not logical nor do I have a “technical” mind, far too fragmented for that but what I have done is make use of what I have got, it’s not about how “high” your IQ is it is how you use it, I have met some bright, intelligent, perceptive and engaging people with a diagnosis of a Learning Disability (with and without Autism) maybe we need to challenge the stereotypes around this?




Paul Isaacs 2014

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Phoebe Caldwell – Book Review – Living Through The Haze

Phoebe Caldwell Copyright P.Caldwell

Phoebe Caldwell Copyright P.Caldwell


I had the honor of attending two speeches by Phoebe Caldwell about Intensive Interaction and about how diverse, empowering and productive it is tap into a person with Autism’s sensory and communication profiles, the diversity of such profiles and happiness it can bring when you have connected with the person. I equally have the honor of her reviewing my first book. 🙂


Hi Paul, I have finished your book , ‘Living Through the Haze’. What strikes me about it, (as in a number of recent autobiographical accounts of life lived with autism), is that it’s not only the sensory difficulties that children on the spectrum have to struggle with but also the appalling misunderstanding by society of consequent behaviours. Bullying seems to be a common theme. But also it is a fascinating account of how your real self emerges in spite of the difficulties you encountered. Congratulations. Phoebe

Thank You for the empowering work you do Phoebe. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2014



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My Autie Books 1 – Living Through The Haze

Living Through The Haze

Living Through The Haze


“Living Through The Haze – Life on the Autistic Spectrum”

Book Description

Paul Isaacs has High Functioning Autism. In this book he talks about his life and the misunderstandings in his younger years by people around him such as neighbours, teachers and family members. The hardships of being in education while undiagnosed and the difficulties in the work place and being misdiagnosed by Mental Health Professionals.

Despite all this he has come through these hard times with the help, love and support from his family and friends. Which he believes is the important backbones of where he is today. He also believes in Autistic specific support for everyone on the spectrum.



Paul Isaacs 2014

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Dr Manuel Casanova’s Review of – Living Through The Haze

Dr Casanova

Dr. Casanova

I had the honor of Neurologist and Specialist in the field of Autism Dr. Manuel Casanova reviewing my first book and autobiography Living Through The Haze in late 2013. Thank you Manuel for all the work you do into the understanding of Autism. 🙂


Paul Isaacs Adult with Autism 2014

Living Through The Haze

Living Through The Haze