Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside

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“Autism” what does it mean?

Dad and I Dancing

Note This is from personal perspective

When I was diagnosed with autism in 2010 one of the first things that I was told is that was still a “person” even if I didn’t the mechanics and/or “pieces” of my autism that nevertheless was a sage piece of advice that has stayed with me on a personal and professional level.

“Autism” is different for each person so here is a breakdown of my “mechanics”

  • Emotional perception (alexithymia) problems with recognising and verbalising emotional states.
  • Visual perception (visual agnosias) problems with perceiving faces, objects, reading words, colour and “sorting out my visual field into a “whole”.
  • Language processing (receptive aphasia) problems with processing and interpreting “meaning” and “significance” from language.
  • Auditory processing (auditory agnosias) problems with organising the origins of sounds.
  • Body perception (body agnosias and hemiplegia) problems with processing and perception on the right side of my body which affects coordination, problems with recognising pain, hunger and thirst.
  • Body and Movement (visuospatial dysgnosia) left-right disorientation.
  • Light Sensitivity (sensory integration disorder and related learning difficulties) problems with light creating distortions as well as dyslexia and dyscalculia.
  • “self” and “other” processing simultaneous information which requires this can be difficult.
  • Mental health and personality disorders.

Personality Types

I have four main personality types which intermingle with each these are human in terms of presentation but will differ form person to person – human beings under stress may develop “disordered” versions of these types affecting social and personal perception, mood management and interpersonal relationships and friendships.

  1. Idiosyncratic
  2. Mercurial
  3. Self-Sacrificing
  4. Serious

Not Relating To “Autistic Identity/Identity-First Language

I do not see my whole being as “autism” nor define myself by it. I see it apart of me, in my case the pieces are emotional perception, visual perception, language perception, auditory perception,
body perception, light sensitivity, information processing and learning difficulties
with associated mood disorders, exposure anxiety, somatisation disorder, dissociation and personality disorders but they are not a total nor finite definition of my being. I can only speak from my perspective and that is all.

I am “Paul” first with the all the positives and negatives that come with it the likes, dislikes, regrets, dreams and the sense of just “being”.

I shall never adhere to the “club” there is to much militancy, over-investing and politics. I see myself as apart of the human race – no more, no less, no more worthy, no less worthy just a person like one of the billions of people on the planet everyone has a story to tell don’t they. 😉

Paul Isaacs 2016

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Visual Perceptual Disorders, Visual Agnosias, Motion Perception & Tinted Lenses

Me Looking to Side

Please note – this is from a personal perspective of visual perceptual issues

Eye Tracking

I met a lady at an autism conference this year who has expertise in sensory integration I described to her how I “see” the world and access it – she said there is a simple test it involves a pen at the midline of your focus and vision as she moves the pen she asks me to track the pen my eyes darted and had to “re-focus” as I could not follow the movement properly and process the visuals either.

Visual Perception Disorders

This would also make sense of why I see things in pieces (simultagnosia), problems processing faces (prosopagnosia), integrating visual information, visual semantic recognition (semantic agnosia). I found this revelation very interesting and informative.

Cortical Visual Impairment/Disorder Article

Not all types of visual deficits caused by CVI will affect visual acuity. For example, in cortical visual dysfunction (CVD)16, the predominant visual deficit is not visual acuity loss, but rather disturbances in visual perception and integration. In higher-functioning children with CVI or CVD, specific visual disorders such as agnosias may be diagnosed. These include cerebral motion blindness or cerebral akinetopsia (the inability to perceive moving targets), simultanagnosia (the inability to focus on more than one visual object at a time), central achromatopsia16 (color desaturation), prosopagnosia (difficulty in recognizing faces), topographic agnosia (problems with orientation; see section on rehabilitation), and astereocognosis (difficulty with depth perception)17. Thus, although not all children with CVD have associated CVI, certain children with CVI (with loss of visual acuity) may show signs of CVD

“The most common cause of CVI is an hypoxic-ischemic injuryl-3,10,19,20. At least 60% of children with neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy have cerebral visual impairment12. Hypoxia (lack of oxygen) or ischemia (tissue death due to loss of blood flow, and thus oxygen deprivation) in the preterm baby leads to a characteristic injury of the brain, namely periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)21,22, which can be detected by MRI.”

Originally appeared in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 2001, 43: 56-60

Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

Me & Teddy

Me a 6 Months Old

This would make sense of the the following visual perceptual issues I have

  • Akinetophsia (motion blindness) – I believe I could have this as a result of simultagnosia (a problem with visually processing integrating the whole picture) this can lead to a “juddering” effect with my vision
  • Simultagnosia (object blindness) – “seeing” things in “bits” and or “fragments” not being able to integrate the pieces into meaningful chunks this could also be considered a form of context blindness.
  • Prosopagnosia (face blindness) – Not being able to recognise a person by their face this can lead to the persons using other forms of “recognition” such as voice, patterns of movement, placement, touching, sniffing hair, name tags etc.

What Has Helped?

From a personal perspective tinted lenses have had a great impact on how I process visual information and integrate it. The lenses have also helped with

  • Body posture
  • Movement of my legs (not so “heavy footed”)
  • Reading and writing (dyslexia and dyscalculia)
  • Light sensitivity (sensory integration disorder)
  • Eye contact
  • Concentration and focus
  • Integrating visual perceptual information (even if I don’t understand the semantics/meanings this still helps)

Remember All Autism “Fruit Salads” Are Different

That also includes not only what the fruit salad is made up of but also the origins that made them.

What Is Autism? Blog Donna Williams

Paul Isaacs 2014

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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 2014


Autism -Myopia (Short Sightedness), Visual Agnosias & Tinted Lenses


Note – This is from a personal perspective

As a child I appeared both deaf and blind due to complex visual and auditory agnosias which affect how I “see” and “hear” the world, when I was 5 years old I was diagnosed with shortsightedness (myopia) in my right eye and given glasses what this blog is going to go through is the the differences between and physical sight issues and neurological percuta sight issues and in my case how they can co-exist, what worked and what didn’t.


Sort Sightedness And Conventional Glasses

In my right eye I have slightly blurred vision this is due to a condition of the eye called myopia, this can be “corrected” either by eye glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. I had conventional glasses at 5 years old, however by “correcting” the physical aspect of my right eye it didn’t “correct” the complex neurological aspect – visual agnosias – and this what was still persistent during my years with conventional glasses – which are

Brain Lobe 2

Visual Agnosias – “Blindness ” In The Brain Conventional Glasses Didn’t Help My Visual Perceptual Issues

Visual agnosia is often due to bilateral damage in the posterior occipital and/or temporal lobe in the brain

With my conventional glasses all the problems were still there all during my educational years I had challenges with visual fragmentation only seeing “pieces” never “wholes”, not seeing depth (everything seeming flat and 2D) , not seeing with meaning, reading with meaning, letters and numbers being jumbled, my sense of body was “fragmented” and where my body was in space, time and movement even with my right eye “corrected” I was neurologically “blind” to the right side of my body and what I was “seeing” – as I have stated in previous posts because of my visual agnosias I live in a sensory based world.

CONVENTUAL Glasses Caused

  • Headaches
  • Eye Strain
  • Heightened Fragmentation
  • Increased Fatigue
  • Decreased Concentration

Tinted Lenses – Fitted 2012

With years of having conventional glasses I was diagnosed formally with scotopic sensitivity syndrome, visual agnosias and learning difficulties by James Billett.

When I first tried my tinted lenses on it was like magic in many ways as I saw things wholes, my balance and body language improved instantly, words and letters where configured more, I read faster processing words quicker and numbers quicker, I moved better in space and could process visuals in light.


From a personal perspective myopic vision and visual agnosias both play apart in the way I perceive the world however I would say the agnosias had the greater impact in my case as my Mum thought I was totally blind in my younger years, but I’m glad that although shortsightedness was recognised that eventually my visual perceptual disorders where finally recognised too.

Maybe we need to look at folks on the spectrum who have both issues with their eyes and visual processing and see what works best for them for me personally conventional glasses didn’t work but tinted lenses do.

Paul Isaacs 2014

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James Billett – Visual Stress Consultant – Helping Others Perceive The World



James Billett 

James was a Special Needs Co-ordinator in a  secondary school for more than 20 years.

James first trained with the Irlen Institute in 1990.

“When I made a career move from teaching A-level sociology to being responsible for special needs provision, which included what was then known as the remedial department, it became obvious that many children were confined to lower sets or failing to reach their potential through reading skill deficiencies.  Using multi-sensory reading schemes we found coloured overlays had  an immediate and  positive effect. Once the symptoms of Irlen Syndrome were eliminated students  were able to learn to read using the phonics method.”

James became an visual stress diagnostician in 1995. James left teaching to work privately in 2002.

Irlen Central England works with families, colleges, universities and government agencies across Britain and Europe. James travels extensively across Europe working with clients on the autistic spectrum.

In his spare time James enjoys spending time with his family and  grandchildren. He is a keen gardener and plays the piano.

BA (Hons) (University of Leicester)

BA (Hons) Cert Ed. (University of Birmingham)

Diploma in the Psychology and Education of Children with Special Needs (University of London)

James also holds an advanced qualification from the Irlen Institute for working within the autistic spectrum.


James Billett I first met in the summer of 2012 for an appointment to fit my tinted lenses to help me with learning difficulties and sensory perceptual disorders  that I have within my Autism “Fruit Salad”.

What I like about James is that he is very person centred and takes into account these important aspects

  • Communication Profile
  • Sensory Profile
  • Sensory Difficulties/Learning Difficulties
  • Information Processing

I feel this opens the doors for integration, empowerment and trust within the appointment and also honesty and connectivity to explore your issues and what best works for you. I believe that James has a lot to give through this very positive ethos.

Life Through A Kaleidoscope

Life Through A Kaleidoscope


James is also the co-author of Life Through A Kaleidoscope his knowledge, ethos, humanity, calmness and empowerment bring a critical bonding and the “glue” between personal and professional points of view within the book, I could not of written this book without his knowledge this book is also inspired by the works of Donna Williams who has written extensively about Autism and sensory perceptual disorders.


James has brought light into the lives of people who were deemed not worthy (me included) of integration within the world of education, work and the community by building bridges of understanding this will help others understand others and so forth

Thanks James for what you do and the positivity you bring. 🙂

Paul Isaacs  2014


Tinted Lenses – Autism, Visual Fragmentation, Visual Agnosias & Learning Difficulties

Me with Tinted Lenses

Me with Tinted Lenses


Note – This is my personal experiences of Tinted Lenses, Visual Fragmentation, Visual Agnosias & Learning Difficulties

Until 2012 I have lived in a world with was visually fragmented, I saw everything in pieces faces, bodies, objects, my whole visual field was distorted, my writing was not very good nor was my processing of words and numbers.

I live in world before “meaning” – so getting semantics was and at times is difficult for me.

Diagnosis Overview & Book

I was diagnosed in 2012 by James Billett who I have also co-authored a book called “Life Through A Kaleidoscope” in 2013 – I’m very grateful for his help guidance and wisdom, he is a kind thoughtful person who takes a person centred approach to every person he sees. 🙂

What lenses have done is help me integrate and “generalise” images in “real-time”, I still have no visual memory that is to do with brain injury at the back of my brain, but it has made a positive and productive difference to how I move around and “map” visuals – amazing. 🙂

Diagnosis Of Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome /Light Sensitivity /Sensory Integration Disorder

I find it hard to track visuals in harsh light that includes day-light at times the light further distorts the images in front of me, they are tursch and flat with no depth it took until the age 27 to understand the concepts of foreground and background (but I still resort to processing “bigger” and smaller”.)

Diagnosis Of Visual Agnosias/Sensory Perceptual Disorders

  1. Prosopagnosia – Faces to me are pieces, fragments, blocks of colour and shimmering movement I cannot piece the whole visually nor in my mind as I have no visual memory to do so.
  2. Simultagnosia – I see only “pieces” of my visual field, fragments of information, pieces of visual information such as bits of people, objects, movement again I cannot “generalise” what I’m looking at.
  3. Semantic Agnosia – I see without meaning and my primary form of “communication” is to touch, lick, sniff, rub, tap my surroundings to understand what is in front of me this includes sculpting faces
  4. Visual-Verbal Agnosia – Reading text without meaning – I may get the phonics right but retain no meaning from what I’m reading much like “written echolalia”

Diagnosis Of Learning Difficulties

  1. Dyslexia – Problems with reading and writing, skipping text, slow to process words on the page, shimmering of text.
  2. Dyscalculia – Problems with all aspects of maths – processing numbers and symbols – Other issues include From Agnosia and Dysgraphia

Paul Isaacs 2014

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How Donna Williams’ Fruit Salad Analogy Has Helped Me – And It Can Help You To

Paul Baby Picture 1986

It is not very often that somebody comes along and gives you the tools of understanding the whats? and the why? But I can honestly say that Donna Williams has done that for me and so many others on the Autistic spectrum over many years, empowerment is to give someone the confidence and ability to take hold of their life, understand their abilities and disabilities. I first saw Donna in 2008 at a conference in Oxford and we have been friends on Facebook and she has on a personal level helped me understand the “mechanics” of my Autism which I shall be forever grateful for her help, kindness and assistance. She has taught me a lot of things about keeping it real and not forgetting that Autism is APART of you and not the WHOLE of you. 🙂 Thanks Donna.

This model is lateral and takes a holistic open-minded approach to autism what is, this model is person centred and is for empowerment and positivity. 🙂


Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Wiliams

Fruit Salad Analogy Copyright D.Williams

The Fruit Salad takes in all aspects of the person’s profile this includes

  • Information Processing
  • Identity and Personality
  • Co-Morbids
  • Environment
  • Learning and Communication Profiles



Paul’s Autism Fruit Salad (Updated 2014)

Expressive Agnosias

Receptive/Expressive Language & Movement Issues (Speech & Communication)


Visual Agnosias

Auditory Agnosias/Aphasia

Body Disconnection

Dissociative Disorders – Recognised in 2012/Revised 2014

Mental Health

Learning Difficulties



  • Bruxism – Teeth Gnashing
  • Genetics – Developmental Agnosias

Syndromes – Which make up a large part of my “Fruit Salad”

Paul Isaacs 2014