Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside

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Autism, Semantic Agnosia & “The Eyes That Don’t See”


The Eyes Are Deceptive?

Think about it a person who eye’s are organically “normal” and the ability “see” from an psychical perspective is there but the brain is not able to process visual information that is coherent and meaningful.

Sensory Explorer 2

Reality vs. Context? The Hidden Link

As a child association was created through my body this could be through objects and or people. Touch gave me a reality and context that my eyes could not the contours of what touched beamed into my inner world as a way of saying “hello” to the outside from inside and secret bridge that was being made every time.

Quinn and I

Movement, Mapping and Tactile Association

I was eager to be bare foot and “mapped” out my surroundings, movements, twists and turns around the “dead space” that enveloped in was both my enemy and my friend all at once. Touching, licking, sniffing, tapping and rubbing gave “life” to everything around me on an unconscious level of was working out world.

• This is the most studied type: easier to detect.
• Stimuli misrecognized visually, can be recognized:
– through tactile manipulation
– from verbal description
– based on its characteristic sound or noise
early visual processing
image viewer-dependent
object-centered (3D)
(2 and 1/2 D)
episodic structural description
structural description system
semantic system
output phonological lexicon
object naming
AGNOSIAS & SEMANTIC DEFICITS Raffaella Ida Rumiati, Cognitive Neuroscience Sector Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati Trieste, Italy
A Blindism

One could call this a “blindism” a state in which visual perception is not giving the associative signals and/or visual association of what an object “is” regardless of where you find it, what angle you see and so forth. This could lead problems with context and a distortion of memory.


As an adult I still rely more on my movements that what I am “seeing” this means that can still get lost in my surroundings but with my tinted lenses this is able to keep my conscious mind on track with meaning.

Paul Isaacs 2017



Diversity in Autism Learning Profiles – Being a Non-Visual Learner – PECS – Why That Wouldn’t Work For Me (But Can Work For Others) on the Autism Spectrum

Sensory Explorer 2


Note – This is personal to my profile all profile are different on the Autism spectrum

Looking back at my learning profile at school, I lived in a world of visual fragmentation and word blindness, seeing things in pieces not wholes –  form agnosia, prosopagnosia, simultagnosia, semantic agnosia & visual – verbal agnosias this also meant I didn’t have visual memory. Early signs of this was where in my photo to the left appearing cross-eyed, lack of spacial awareness from an early age, not understanding visual contexts (running into the sea with clothes on), drawing by route and touching my enviroment.


Damage to the posterior parietal cortex causes a number of spatial disorders including:

  • Simultanagnosia: where the patient can only describe single objects without the ability to perceive it as a component of a set of details or objects in a context (as in a scenario, e.g. the forest for the trees).
  • Optic ataxia: where the patient can’t use visuospatial information to guide arm movements.
  • Hemispatial neglect: where the patient is unaware of the contralesional half of space (that is, they are unaware of things in their left field of view and focus only on objects in the right field of view; or appear unaware of things in one field of view when they perceive them in the other). For example, a person with this disorder may draw a clock, and then label it from 12, 1, 2, …, 6, but then stop and consider their drawing complete.
  • Akinetopsia: inability to perceive motion.
  • Apraxia: inability to produce discretionary or volitional movement in the absence of muscular disorders.


PECS wouldn’t have helped me piece things to together in context and I certainly wouldn’t of seen it as a functional tool I would seen the card in bits and pieces and being mono-tracked I would have had three pieces of communication to deal with

  1. The cardholders voice  – Would have been jumbled
  2. Picture – Would have been fragmented and therefore no meaning nor context would have been made
  3. Word/s – Jumbled and distorted due to dyslexia and visual-verbal agnosia


I learnt best by touch – touch meant connecting, communicating and integrating, touch was more meaningful than the jumbling of too many words (written or expressed). This is how it worked for me. 🙂

  1. Sensory Exploring – touching, licking, sniffing, rubbing, mouthing
  2. Sound Exploring – checking the phonics and depth of sound, through touch and echolalia
  3. Environmental Connecting – “Mapping out surroundings” by using a kinesthetic system

Remember all learning profiles are a diverse as the communication profiles and sometimes they both inter-relate and connect.

Paul Isaacs 2014