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Autism from the inside


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Inspiration Matters – Interview May 2018

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Be yourself, don’t define yourself by your autism” – A self-assured life of an inspirational speaker, trainer and author on the autism spectrum – Paul Isaacs

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” – Eckhart Tolle. Paul was diagnosed with high functioning Autism at the age of 24. He has set himself apart by embarking on a noble mission of spreading awareness of Autism to enable the masses to help people with Autism live fulfilling lives. Paul has written several books about Autism including “Autism: Inside Perceptions of Communication, Interaction, Thoughts & Feelings” and “Living Through the Haze Autobiographical account of my life with Autism” which was a #1 bestseller. Paul has also been active delivering speeches to a variety of audiences such as parents, people on the Autism spectrum, social workers and at events for Autism charities and organizations like The National Autistic Society.

Thank you Paul for your time. Your interview will inspire all our community. The interview with Paul Isaacs was conducted by Inspiration Matters () in May 2018. More Info

  • : You have presented speeches on various subjects related to Autism. What has been the most popular subject for your speeches and how are these speeches helping you with spreading awareness?

P: I would say that aspect of autism being a “fruit salad” by Donna Williams (Polly Samuel) which breaks autism down into “pieces” she was objective, compassionate, real and honest in her words, findings and outlook on autism and so I carry on her model which is about education, mythbusting and not being swayed by the politics and rhetoric which is found in the autism world.

  • : How and when did you decide to start writing a book? Which of your book assignments was most challenging and why?

P: I was diagnosed with autism in 2010 at the age of twenty-four I was born in 1986 and went though mainstream education. My Mum thought I was deaf and blind as appeared not to “see” or “hear” however this was to do with visual perceptual disorders and being profoundly meaning deaf. I didn’t gain functional speech between the ages of 7/8 years old.

So that was a slice of my early developmental history when I wrote my first book I thought of the title and just typed in a pre-conscious state this meant that my hands on “auto-pilot” in other words I typed finished the manuscript then read it back and learned about my life. I do find writing a challenge I feel I show more of my connected self through writing than in any other medium which I would say art is a close second.

  • : What has been the most important milestone in your life. What is the impact of this on your life?

P: I would say being bullied was an important milestone to come out of. In many ways I send thanks to the people who bullied me over the years as they gave me a framework of how not to treat other people. I see my self not as victim but as a victim of circumstance which is completely different I take a lot of positives from these experiences and try and mould them into something objective, bitterness is a horrible thing to hold onto and as human beings have varying lifespans I do not want to was my life living in the past.

  • : What is your favorite art creation and why? What is the importance of art in your life?

P: From the age of 5 I was tampering with colours smearing them on to pages. I would say my favourite artwork was done during the passing my Gramp in 2017 it really helped me to come to terms with his passing and also the art was a way of remembrance and saying goodbye to his physical form and keeping memories of him alive.

  • : What kind of changes are needed to our current education system for children with special needs? Do you see any difference in today’s school system compared to when you were a student?

P: I have made reference to the late Polly’s “Fruit Salad” and I would say using her framework would not only help people with autism but also other development disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health issues, development of identity, personality, environment and or learning styles. What ever the package mare be “autism” or not it would certainly look at the students as rounded human beings.
Of course many progressions have been made however the educational system in general is rather generic and stale in terms of how information is present to students so maybe there needs to be a massive shift in the educational system as whole.

  • : What is the biggest concern for parents of children with autism? How do you think their concern can be resolved?

P: Being listened to as a human being, their worries, concerns for the future as a term of resolve although that is a big question to ask I would say it will always boil down to the people you meet and the environment you are in. So being non-judgemental would be a start and opening up an honest dialogue.

  • : Who is your inspiration?

P: The late Polly Samuels she was a great inspiration to my autism work, speeches, training and overall philosophy, she was an empath, a natural comedienne and always made you think “what if” she challenged the “status quo” in so many areas in her life. I enjoyed our skype chats she made me laugh and I think that is special if people can do that.

  • : What is your favorite place to visit? What do you like about that place?

P: I really like Oxford and the buildings, restaurants and gardens it has is such a beautiful setting I like the colours, the textures, the smells it is so familiar yet so new at the same time.

  • : What tips/advice do you have for those in our community who want to spread awareness?

P: Be yourself, don’t define yourself by your “autism” you are more than that, do not get into the negative politics of militants in the autism world I have seen the damage that can do to people, your story and life is of equal value regardless.

  • : Any special message for our community?

P: Walk on your on path, tread in its peaks and troughs, ride its waves fierce and quite, invite people to join you share their journey’s treaded also.

Paul Isaacs 2018

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I Don’t Mind Being Solitary – Looking Beyond The Stereotypes

Me Early 20s Christmas Hat

Main Interests of the Solitary Personality Type

  1. finding solitude; being alone
  2. remaining independent; maintaining autonomy; being self-contained
  3. being dispassionate
  4. being indifferent to pleasure and pain
  5. remaining sexually composed; avoiding attachment to anyone
  6. being uninfluenced by praise or criticism

 

Characteristic Traits and Behaviors

Dr. John M. Oldham has defined the Solitary personality style. The following six characteristic traits and behaviors are listed in his The New Personality Self-Portrait.

  1. Solitude. Individuals with the Solitary personality style have small need of companionship and are most comfortable alone.
  2. Independence. They are self-contained and do not require interaction with others in order to enjoy their experiences or to get on in life.
  3. Sangfroid. Solitary men and women are even-tempered, calm, dispassionate, unsentimental, and unflappable.
  4. Stoicism. They display an apparent indifference to pain and pleasure.
  5. Sexual composure. They are not driven by sexual needs. They enjoy sex but will not suffer in its absence.
  6. Feet on the ground. They are unswayed by either praise or criticism and can confidently come to terms with their own behavior.

“Autism” Is Not A Personality Type

People often think that “autism” has a “look” it doesn’t and never has when people think of autism they may think and/or mentalise certain people they have come across, members of the family, people in movies and/or films etc.

Solitary By What Factors?

Being solitary can fall into differing camps some people can be solitary by circumstances that are out of their control such as the loss of parents and/or guardians, having a small family and other circumstances others may have the complete opposite but their values and environmental factor and/or influences. Some can be both.

I fall into the the category of of circumstance/ environment genetic my family is small, I have sister who I have only met three times when I was in my late teens, I still have my parents and my Nan on my mother’s side. I have never had a partner and would consider myself asexual.

I Value Life

What has this given me time to do? I say that because people are probably going to focus on the the things I have missed or not been apart of? I understand why such comment or feelings would be made. I do not feel I have missed out on anything nor do I feel I have been given a ticket that has not taken me to all the places in the amusement park.

Observing, Friendships & Interests

I love life and being observer of people, the goings on, their life stories and so forth I feel connected to them. I have friends that are real friends because they are people who connect with rather than people that I feel I should be connecting with (there is a massive difference). I like going for long walks on my own, drawing, creating poetry/creative writings, watching movies and listening to music. I like sharing these things as well as “being”. This of course is peppered by being Idiosyncratic, Mercurial & Self Sacrificing.

Conclusion

I feel this have made me as I have matured more objective before you go out into the “world” you have be your own best friend first regardless of your wants and needs in life.

Paul Isaacs 2018


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Wretches & Jabberers DVD – A Journey Into Autism

Image result for wretches and jabberers

A moving and delightful movie and about two men on the autism spectrum who are both “functionally non-verbal” finding their voices through facilitated and typed communication. Debunking the myths that people who cannot speak with their mouths are “retarded” or “intellectually disabled”.

Tracy and Larry are best of friends and their passion for advocacy leads them to meeting others around the globe who are also yearning and fondly sharing their experiences and voices with a wider audience, showing great empathy, compassion, introspection and deepness through the words that they write to a wider audience. Bringing people into their world and inviting others to think, reflect and reevaluate what “autism” and “intelligence” even look like.  Showing great feats of creativity.

There is warmth, humour, sadness and hope sometimes all at once when listening the candid words and hopefully the viewer will come out of this experience with greater level of acceptance and make less assumptions about what is going on on the “inside”. Please all presume competence.

I highly recommend this DVD.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Blocking and Unfriending – The Psychological Fallout?

Social Media

The social phenomena of Facebook and Twitter has created it’s own tribulations of connecting with people in a variety of positive and meaningful ways something that is both brilliant and amazing, however the nature of unfriending and blocking has it’s own consequences to both parties suggested science daily although friendships can flow and move on in “real-life” the termination of a friendship on social media can have its own repercussions.

Different Reasons

This isn’t to say that either party is wrong nor right, sometimes these things are entirely justified  sometimes the person needs a break from social media, they have personal issues that need to be resolved, friendship/relationship/family issues and inappropriate behaviour from the other person. Different scenarios maybe more negative and deliberate such as cyber-bullying, social/psychological manipulation and gas-lighting for example. It is interesting the psychology behind it.

Personality & Dealing With Unfriending & Blocking 

I think it all depends on personality types in how you will react or not as the case may be looking at my personality types both mercurial and self-sacrificing are both both a blessing and a double-edged sword I look to help others but at times that can be to the detriment of own functioning, I like to know people are fine, content, happy but being mercurial I have to rain in the “volume” of these things and that is called responsibility for myself and how I behave around others. When people block or unfriend me I am more concerned about them than myself. 

Studies For The Future?

Environmental factors, personality clashes and miscommunication can arise for anyone on this social format I suppose it is what “buttons” we can deal with and what “triggers” them off. I would like to see a study in Ptypes and the social sites.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Living With A Mother With No Boundaries -My Father’s Ongoing Journey

I have a lot of respect for my Father who has along with my Mother given my the stability, autonomy to be “myself”.

Nanny Janet Black and White

“Nanny” Janet in Ireland as an Infant

My Father was born in London in 1961 during that time his Mother had fled from Ireland and moved to the capital working in in pubs and living in small one bedroom holding in the old style basement houses. He had a traumatic existence with attachment disordered, borderline mother who had no sense of right nor wrong, instilled pitiful boundaries and was abusive to him from an early age working in pubs late at night and bringing lovers home and would have sex in front of him.

She would have parties also which were not monitored leaving my Dad to the whim of two female paedophiles at the age of three years old. They two women were on the bed asking him to do things to them what an horrific situation to be in.

My Dad was kidnapped by his Father and taken back to his house in which his partner said “don’t expect any fucking special treatment here”, he was recovered and later move to Oxford city were he resided on an council estate.

Nanny Janet Photo 7His Mother continued her existence of money and drink in either order and showed next to no parental love to my Dad from both an emotional stand point and also a sense of stability as he grew this became more apparent, no emotional support, not getting him the correct clothes, changing his surname without prior permission calling him, emotional manipulation, emotional blackmail, to other residents in the estate and so forth. She projected martyrdom to the outside world and would say do Dad on more than one occasion “Peter, I done my best”. Clearly this wasn’t true.  His absent Father’s last words time was a phone call in the early 90’s  saying “I didn’t  love you anyway.”  At the very least he was honest.

His Mother re married to a man who clearly had the same ethos as her and made it very clear to Dad that he didn’t like nor wanted him in the house.

Mum and Dad Early 80s

Mum & Dad Early 1980’s

My Dad’s life changed in the when he met my Mother in a club in the 1980’s I think that not only changed his outlook on life but also, it took many years of pain, discomfort and self-awareness for my Dad to become the man he is today, he freely admits he has made many a mistake and has a positive attitude towards life  despite having a horrific upbringing with no love, care or sense of commitment.

Both my parents have giving me the gift of having a stable upbringing in the family home, giving me good foundations of boundaries, friendship, failure as normal and trying I am thankful for that and even more so knowing the history.

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Healthy Boundaries, Healthy Relationships, Empathy And Not Treating Others As “Objects”

SAM_0739The Importance Of Healthy Boundaries 

Healthy boundaries are so important for all types of relationships when boundaries are pointed out is good for both parties if autonomy is taken away (for what ever reason) can have negative affect on someone’s self-worth and mental health.

In context of people who have negative personality extremes such as

or other associated personality disorders.

Being Balanced & My Journey With Borderline PD

A journey to building up a sense of “self” (because of developmental and personality types/traits) has been very important to me as I am nearing 30 I kind of know what sort of energy is “balanced” with regards to people and friends and when people are crossing boundaries and learning when I am doing the same.

Autism & Borderline Personality Disorder 

This is a link to my website on how this affected me in the late 2000’s and how it can make you feel this is why a value positive and constructive direction not giving too much but at the same time not receiving too much either. This was a tough time in my life but I am glad I go through it a learned a lot from it also. 🙂

Workplace 2007 & Mental Breakdown

I felt worthless at this point due to persistent difficulties in the workplace It was my first place of employment  so I took it out on myself. There seems to by other types of Borderline PD which includes social manipulation, lying and game playing. None I which I did nor do 

What happened to me was an implosion and psychotic breakdown due to environmental stress and workplace bullying.

Autism & Personality Disorders – Coexistence? 

Autism is part of someone’s developmental trajectory- it is diverse and unique in it’s presentations but all human beings also have unique personality traits and types which develop as well.

In the context of autism personality traits/types and styles are just as relevant and if you take my examples above you can see a “normal” personalty type pushed into the “disordered” extreme. On top of that my autism comes into play too in terms of the processing information, language, visuals, “self” and “other” and all the other aspects of my “fruit salad”.

Kindness – I like to help others I but there has be personal boundaries. which is thinking of the person in question good intentions come from the right place with me but what I have learned is about volume and negative intensity. I think about other peoples feelings a lot.

Mercurial Personality Type  – This is the “Normal/Balanced” version of Borderline PD

  1. Decency; Earnestness; Thriftiness.
  2. Mercy, Forgiveness; Modesty, Naturalness.
  3. Hope, Cheerfulness, Joyfulness, Sociability.
  4. Sincerity, Straightforwardness; Honesty, Fairness.
  5. Tolerance, Liberalism, Open-mindedness.
  6. Generosity, Liberality; Courtesy, Graciousness, Equitableness; Altruism, Kindness; Affability, Friendliness.
  7. Idealism.
  8. Energy, Enthusiasm.
  9. Artistry, Inquisitiveness; Boldness, Spontaneity; Creativity, Humorousness.

Family 2003 1Failure is “Normal” and Relative 

I am glad my parents gave me the chance to have autonomy, freedom, understand “failure” and criticism are normal parts of being human and that the goal of being apart of not the centre of is  a good thing and valuing other peoples feelings and autonomy. The importance of being kind and sincere with depth and integrity I know I got from my parents.

I know where I stand with my parents and certainly my friends too. I can’t imagine how a child could be treated in such destructive way that would effect future development in teenage and adulthood that is scary.

Paul Isaacs 2015