Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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So What is Simultagnosia & Semantic Agnosia? In The Context Of Autism?

Image result for occipital lobes and simultagnosia

Note: This is from a personal perspective

Simultagnosia is a condition that effects the occiptal lobes of the brain this is where visual perception and processing is connected, it also can have an impact on visual association, language perception/processing and overall navigation of the visual world around you.

“Blindisms” 

For me it meant not being able to access the visual world with coherence rendering me unable to access with my “eyes” and having to build up the visual world in a “non-visual” way such as.

  • Smelling
  • Touching 
  • Sculpting
  • Licking
  • Tapping
  • Moving

This started early in my development with my Mum’s observations thinking I was both deaf and blind (which is a common observation with people with visual agnosias) I was imprinting through EXTERNAL stimulus to build up a representation and connecting through other sensory modulations to make sense of the experience around me.

“Mapping” A System

As I have got older and with more awareness of the condition I have system in place where I do not hide anything from my view and placement of objects are important in relation to their context.

Context & Relevance

I still have a level of context blindness which means that things that are not being used “lose there relevance” (what they are, their use and function in relation to the environment) I may mistake objects for other things entirely and/or be caught up in how they make me feel rather than what they are.

Paul Isaacs 2018

 

 

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Tinted Lenses, Visual Perceptual Disorders and Bridging The Gap Between “Non-Visual and Visual Worlds”

Note – This is from a personal perspective

Visual Agnosia Image 2017 

VISUAL PERCEPTION & AUTISM 

Some people on the autism spectrum have problems with filtering visual information which in turn distorts perception and what one is seeing, interpretation what someone takes out of what is being seen in terms of context and association and mentalisation that ability to internalise and integrate the visual memory in the form of a coherent, connected and retrievable memory.

WHAT TINTS CAN BE USED FOR?

If people live in a world of being object blind and meaning blind and ultimately context blind this can have an impact on socialising, bounding, learning and having the ability to retrieve multiple forms of incoming visual information at once. Tints work for people in different ways (if they are needed at all) – for some its sensory integration disorder, for some it is a level of dyspraxia, information overload and coordination, for some it is building up a visual context because of simultagnosia and/or semantic agnosia, for some its processing faces, for some its recognising and building upon and reading social cues, for some it is getting a sense of “self and other”, for some it is visual learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and being able to read and write with coherence, for some its aphasia and/or verbal agnosia and gaining a better grasp of language.

Donna Williams 2011

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES 

70% of incoming information is visual and we take that information in as light waves – essentially as color. Tinted lenses are filters. They filter out different light waves. This reduces the level of incoming information which leaves a person more processing time. This can have different effects in different people. For some it may just help them relax more or feel more comfortable looking at faces or making eye contact, help them handle places with bright lights or being outside. For some it will allow them to read comfortably and with meaning or improve depth perception. For others it may help them better process language and ultimately speak more fluently. For some it may help them see things as a whole and recognise objects, faces, places, and begin to read context and social cues or have a better processing of a simultaneous sense of self and other.

Donna Williams 

Tinted lenses have helped me glue together a world which was largely bits and pieces that seemed shattered and unendurable, people shatter into fragments, objects floating with no clear base, foreground and background interchangeable, familiar voices with no face that seemed to match the warmth of familiarity. My language was also impacted to a certain degree with no internalisation of the visuals around me. Now I have tints they have made able to see faces with a level of coherence, looking at faces now I see a “whole” rather than “pieces” I am able to focus on their movements, body language and words, I can walk down the street and look at faces, places and people with a level with a level of coherence, I am able to better gauge “self and other” in conversations. I still have visual perceptual disorders however the tints have opened up and bridged my “non-visual to visual” world greatly.

Paul Isaacs 

Paul Isaacs 2017


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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: A Very Sensory Christmas

family-christmas-early-90s

 

Note: This is from a personal perspective

One of the amusing observations from my parents was my indifference to Christmas in the my early infant years, this would be noted as they would wait eagerly excited on the day while I would still be fast asleep in my bedroom coming down later in the day.

OBSERVATIONS

Another observation was my facial indifference to the event at hand the lack of excitement as each present was opened. My Mum can remember one year they bought me a bike which was perched on the fireplace (not lit of course) she seemed bemused that I didn’t go to the biggest first opening the presents scattered around the tree, when it came to the bike being opened she can remember me staring indifferently at the bike with no seemingly no acknowledgement of what it was or the significance of what it meant.

Looking a back at these two observations I can see many different aspects of what was going on from the inside and how observationally they caused confusion with my parents.

WHAT COULD BEEN  SEEN MAY NOT REFLECT “INSIDE”

One of the conditions I have noted about is simultagnosia and seeing things in bits along side aphasia and language processing issues these hidden blockages no doubt would have an impact on how I physically expressed my emotions to the outside world, be it in this case contextually joy, excitement and love.

All these things I feel and felt but because of visual perceptual issues, language processing, alexithymia and information processing delays these were not seen by my parents however other aspects of Christmas did excite me such as the colourful wrapping paper, glittered tree decorations and the twinkling lights but it was much more instant for me to access how I felt about a present would take longer so time would be needed. As the years progressed so did my level of understanding of what was going on.

I was happy at Christmas. 🙂

Paul Isaacs 2016


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Autism, Visual Distortion, Non-Visual Thinking & Image Break-up

There are many people on the spectrum such as Temple Grandin that have strong visual memories not only for fact retrieval but in her case she has used her visual way processing to help her with her career in animal slaughter.

CONNECTING WORDS, SYNESTHESIA & LANGUAGE 

Some people on the autism have problems with not only processing visuals in “real-time” but also accessing it, contextualising it and having what I call “image retrieval” this means the person in question may not only have problems processing and internalising what is around them (visually) they may well have issues with image retrieval this means they may not connect the image with word because they have no idea what the image is so there is no were for the “word” to or they may have an issue once they have processed the image to give it the correct word that is associated with it. For me words have to be associated with a “feeling” not emotional specifically but how the object for example “felt” as I am typing this will remember the typewriter by the “texture” of the keys that my fingers are touching.

MEANING AND INFORMATION “BLOCKAGES”

This may sound and look odd for the onlooker and rightfully so – but is the person has so many sensory “blockages” touch in the context of “meaning” may well be one of the only ways in which they can access the “world” in way which is not only comforting (for some) but meaningful its relevance.

SEMANTICS AND PERCEPTION

This may well not be just restricted to touch and feeling it may well also include licking, sniffing, mouthing too to objects, people and the physically surroundings. Visual break-up may look like the child is blind which in my case my Mum thought I was which would indicate I was showing behaviours of a blind person. (as well as a deaf person because of auditory processing).

Paul Isaacs 2016


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My Language Development – Receptive & Expressive Aphasia & Visual Agnosias

IMAG0083Note this is from a personal perspective

Overview 

Yesterday I presented a speech on my life with autism afterwards I had an interesting conversation with a lady who specialises in aphasia and language development so I thought I would go through my language trajectory.

Speech & Language Delay

I had both delays in speech and language acquisition this means that I was missing milestones on both these areas of language development – this was noted by my parents during those early years of development and I didn’t a level of functionality to my speech until late infancy.

Receptive Aphasia

This meant the the language of “the world around me” was a garbled tumbling mess that was feel of noises, inflections but not “meaning” in the typical sense at times I would be interested in these “noises” perplexed, intrigued even but it was very much a swirling bottle neck with the words being at the deepest part of ocean within the sea-back grasping yet not.

Expressive Aphasia

When expressive language did present itself it was not at the level firstly of my chronological  age and secondly what coming did not reflect what I wanted to say to people around me so there was quite rightfully and frustration there as words would “drop” both receptively and expressibly sentence construction, “word-finding” and neologisms which came in the form of echolalia was present and having created my “own language” (pattern, them and feel) before typical  interpretative language and unpicking that was difficult. As I have said I had before I had “words” within my head but grasping them, finding them and using them was being “blocked” by other factors.

Conclusion

Looking at my overall trajectory would say that I had global anomic aphasia coupled with additional difficulties created by the visual perceptual disorders and oral apraxia.

OVERVIEW OF APHASIAS 

Visual Agnosias, Simultagnosia & Semantic Agnosia – Related to Anomia

The word finding aspects I can split into two aspects firstly the nature of aphasia itself and not being able to use word retrieval and secondly the perceptual disorders (visual fragmentation, visual semantic problems) and not having “visuals” for words meant that making tangible and “concrete” associations was difficult.

I had to use a lot of tactile-associative strategies sniffing, rubbing, mouthing and sculpting my “external reality” in order to get a aspect of meaning I still very much “live in a world” before the literal so significance and bridging the gaps are important to me.

This meant that perceiving objects, people, faces was one aspect verbally being able to name them was another aspect of language which I found difficult.

Oral Apraxia 

I had this which layered the impact of speech production the use of my tongue, mouth, jaw and having a level of “disconnect” between the “words”, the “mind” and “body” not acting as team and going on there own path this caused difficulties in expression this carried on for many years and was notable present in observations of me at a CAMHS assessment in 1996 for at that time clinical depression.

Residual Issues Still Present? 

I would say the are in particular when I am tired this is something I have become more aware of as I have researched and got older so this means that sometimes my expressive speech can become laboured, slow and I can miss out words in sentences and struggle with “word-finding” etc. What helps me is music, gesture, tone, placement, telegraphic language and objects of reference to gain the firstly and foundation and then secondly meaningful association. However as always I continue to live life, experience life and enjoy life as much as possible with new experiences, friends and creativity 😉

Paul Isaacs 2016

 

 


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Bucks Autism Conference Video 2015

Note – These are from personal and obervational perspectives

Sensory Issues in the context of Autism Bucks Autism Conference

This video is about covers these topics

 

Paul Isaacs 2015