Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Autism, Visual Agnosias And Making Connections

Note this is from a personal perspective

As a child my Mum thought I was “deaf and blind” and this was to do with both “blindisms” and “deafisms” this is how it presented itself through behaviours that I did show.

Baby Pictures Deck Chair I Year Old

  • Staring through objects and people and appearing “blind”.
  • Getting stimulation and “lost” such as  staring at water, lint and small  fragments this would include finger flicking and hand flapping to “bind together” visual information and give coheranence.
  • Poking the side of my eyes to create colours also forcing my eyes shut at night to create internal colours and shapes.
  • Focusing on mouths rather than a whole face (which I couldn’t process as a cohesive whole).
  • Processing people in “pieces” focusing on one part of the body and neglecting everything else (this extends to the whole visual field).
  • Getting an external “reality” from  kinaesthetic/tactile association such as touching, licking, sniffing, tapping rubbing  my surroundings these are my “eyes”.
  • Connecting with people by “sculpting” their faces, rustling through their hair and thus creating association/bonding.
  • Using peripheral vision rather than using my central visual field sot “shut off” a part of visual processing.
  • Being lost meant that others had to find me.
  • Fluctuations and distortions in depth percpetion, foreground and background.
  • Filling in my time with repetition such as echolalia, videos and music that are unconscious thought and “being” as opposed to conscious thought and “doing”.
  • Finding people asking me directly to “do” difficult jolting my reality this is secondary to langauge processing disorders, aphasia, aqquistion of  “self” and “other”  which is also a result of exposure anxiety and problems with direct confrontation.
  • Finding objects, placement and context has to be formed on a personal level that means all things of significance and relevance must be on display.
  • When objects are not moving their reality is not acknowledged.

Context, Language and Perception

Having a level of visual agnosia, simultagnosia, prosopagnosia and semantic agnosia meant that association and context was and is at times is very difficult. As well as having a level of aphasia which meant the visual/language link took a long time to bridge and form.

Tinted lenses have helped bring a level of visual binding, coherence and an ability to keep up with visual information at a much quicker rate, recognise non-verbal cues and sort out my placement while moving from place to place.

Paul Isaacs 2017

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Autism, Faceblindness & Social Media

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Note this is from a personal perspective

I got a good question from a Dean Beadle a international speaker on the autism spectrum with regards to faceblindness and the use of social media.

VOICE & PATTERNS OF MOVEMENT 

The way in which I recognise people I have documented in various other blogs with regards to “seeing” faces or rather not and that is through patterns of movement (the way in which the person moves their body around the enviroment) and the person’s voices. Context helps through understanding (their full full name, significance of were I know them from).#

fragmented-image-2013

SOCIAL MEDIA 

When it comes to social media it is best for people to message to help me remember where they came from. I do look for full names (that is a good start) and other contextual and associative information, although at times I have gotten it wrong in terms of sending the friend request to the wrong person it is a matter of trial and error for me. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2016

 


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Life With Visual Perceptual Agnosias Within Autism

“Having Visual agnosias as apart of my autism means I rely on textures, sounds, movement and placement rather than logic or literalism. I know I live in a different world perceptually than other folks on the spectrum.”

Paul Isaacs Adult With Autism 2014


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Visual Perceptual Disorders In Autism & Not Thinking In Pictures

Me On My OwnUnderstanding, Processing Visuals & Typical Interpretive Language 

Note this is from a personal developmental perspective 

For someone like me who got diagnosed with Autism in 2010 and later in Scotopic sensitivity syndrome with Visual agnosias (object, meaning and face blindness) as well as Visual-Verbal agnosia (comprehension blindness) and associated learning difficulties this is what I can relate to – I had oral apraxia compacted by auditory and visual processing disorders I saw  (and still  in the present without my tinted lenses) shapes, movements, colours and blobs and couldn’t contextualise where I was in space and time what I was doing (learning by route was a system I learnt) – I had speech and language delay as well as significant motor delays, echolalia and late speech compacted on my ability to understand typical language

I had NO contextual words within my head for along time (even though the capacity was there and I would have gleaming moments of clarity which no one saw or noticed) but I recited jingles, sounds, hums and treated words like “sounds” nor could I visualise words either.

I relate to Donna Williams in this way and it’s important to debunk the myth that all people on the spectrum are thinking in pictures when many clearly aren’t. I still find typical language difficult but I can but try to integrate as much as possible.

One must also differentiate and language processing disorder from mutism it was ironic though when I gained functional speech I had bouts of mutism so the two can interact.

I also have and Autie based profile as opposed to Aspie and this may certainly be one of the reasons why.

Paul Isaacs Adult With Autism 2014


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Supermarkets – Autism, Sensory Perceptual Disorders & Sensory Issues

Street Scene PixeledOVERVIEW

Note – This is a personal perspective of how I experiences Supermarkets 

There are many ways in and strategies which I have used to navigate a supermarket over the years when I was a child I never knew what this “big colourful space” was that my parents used to take me to, I had no concept or connection with what it was as it was a bunch of fragmented images (that I would like or hate or get sensory “highs” from) noises that I couldn’t decipher and would like or dislike, kinesthetic sensory experiences were a way of connecting with the environment and experiencing the products in this fashion was very useful for me as it was building a bridge of connectivity.

So here is what helps me –

HEADPHONES

This helps reduce noise input not only do I have Verbal Auditory Agnosia/Aphasia (meaning deafness) I also have an Auditory Hypersensitivity which is greatly helped due to headphones – (imagine hearing every single sound all at once at equal volume) it helps me connect better with my surroundings and focus on the tasks of buying the products I can also get stuck on “words” and “sounds” that I hear which is also helped by the headphones.

TINTED LENSES

These help and continue to help with processing visuals in light as I have Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/Light Sensitivity they help with reducing light “over” visual information, I also have Visual AgnosiasProsopagnosia, Simultagnosia, Semantic Agnosia (seeing things in bits, without “meaning”  with a lack of depth 2D) this can cause problem with navigating surroundings. Although I still have  these agnosias and don not have a “visual memory” it helps me navigate surroundings much better, with reduced light input, less fragmentation and more visual depth and “real time”.

CLOTHING

I wear clothing with “pressure points” I have Visuospatial Dysgnosia (body disconnection) so I have tight bracelets round my wrists, my hair is in a tight bun/ponytail, tight fitted shoes – This gives me “anchor points” for my body to navigate around the “space” around me.

CONCLUSION

I still “see” and “hear” without “meaning” and in the supermarket I still like to touch to perceive and map my surroundings by remembering my patterns of movement around the store, however I believe in positivity and healthy challenges for myself and this is one of them. I hope this helps. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2014


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Prosopagnosia, Simultagnosia, Semantic Agnosia And How I Remember People on the Autism Spectrum

IMG_0076[1]OVERVIEW

Note – This is a personal perspective of visual agnosias

I was recently at the National Autistic Society Awards 2014, and mapping and remember people can be difficult because I cannot process faces, objects, the tints help me walk into and process many visuals in “real-time” and I have no visual memory, I still need to touch to perceive because of semantic agnosia.

I don’t recognise people by their faces (prosopagnosia) but with the tints help with visual coherence and generalising and defragmenting my visual environment  and also eye contact  so I recognise people firstly by –

  • Their voices and I recognised one of the speakers at the event by their voice
  • The next person I recognised the person by patterns of movement
  • The next person coming up to me a telling me their name
  • The next my manager telling  me the person’s name and thus making the connection
  • The next person also by their patterns of movement
  • The next person by their name tag

DONNA WILLIAM’S WHAT IS AUTISM BLOG?

Paul Isaacs 2014


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Autism & A Difficult Birth – Cerebral Hypoxia, Silent Stroke, Middle & Posterior Arteries, Agnosias & Apraxias

Me at 6 Months Old With My Teddy

Me at 6 Months Old With My Teddy

OVERVIEW

Note – This is a personal experiences of the trajectory of my Autism

I certainly had  Cerebral Hypoxia as apart of a difficult birth I was born a month premature and through Caesarian Section . The Cerebral Arteries also had a part to play in this also.

Middle Cerebral Artery

Middle Cerebral Artery Syndrome 

Which resulted in the following –

Posterior Cerebral Artery

Stroke Not not all these symptoms apply to me

Peripheral territory (Cortical branches) – Not not all these symptoms apply to me

  • Homonymous hemianopia (often upper quadrantic): Calcarine cortex or optic radiation nearby.
  • Bilateral homonymous hemianopia, cortical blindness, awareness or denial of blindness; tactile naming, achromatopia (color blindness), failure to see to-and-fro movements, inability to perceive objects not centrally located, apraxia of ocular movements, inability to count or enumerate objects, tendency to run into things that the patient sees and tries to avoid: Bilateral occipital lobe with possibly the parietal lobe involved.
  • Verbal dyslexia without agraphia, color anomia: Dominant calcarine lesion and posterior part of corpus callosum.
  • Memory defect: Hippocampal lesion bilaterally or on the dominant side only.
  • Topographic disorientation and prosopagnosia: Usually with lesions of nondominant, calcarine, and lingual gyrus.
  • Simultanagnosia, hemivisual neglect: Dominant visual cortex, contralateral hemisphere.
  • Unformed visual hallucinations, peduncular hallucinosis, metamorphopsia, teleopsia, illusory visual spread, palinopsia, distortion of outlines, central photophobia: Calcarine cortex.
  • Complex hallucinations: Usually nondominant hemisphere.

Overview

Due to a silent stroke within the womb which is to do with

Additional injury to the left hemisphere to the such as

and the rest such as Social Social-Emotional AgnosiaAlexithymia for example where genetics.

CONCLUSION

It is important to know the trajectory and the why’s and the hows? of how someone has Autism, all this being said I will not let this DEFINE my PERSONHOOD but it does continue to explain why a process and communicate in a particular way. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2014