Note: This is from a personal perspecitve and doesn’t represent all people on the autism spectrum with or without the co-conditions mentioned
These interviews were conducted at the NAS Conference in Telford – In these interviews I talk about visual perceptual disorders, agnosias and tinted lenses in the context of autism. I would also like to stress that everyone’s autism.
- Interview About Sensory Issues in the Context of Autism
- Sensory Issues and Advice For Professonals
- Autism, Sensory Issues & Practical Solutions
- Autism, Sensory Issues For People Who Are Functionally Non-Verbal Autism
- Autism & Tinted Lenses
- Autism, Face & Object Blindness
- Autism & Meaning Blindness
- Autism & The Impact Of Sensory Difficulties
Paul Isaacs 2016
Last week I had the please of being interviewed by Lawrence Bull and radio presenter in Australia of Think Digital Futures: Stories Of The Digital Age.
In this interview I cover from a personal perspective –
- My developmental trajectory
- My experiences of language development
- My experiences of visual perceptual disorders
- My experiences of not being a visual thinker
- My experiences of tinted lenses
- My views on autism and autism politics
Paul Isaacs 2016
Note this is going to be from a personal perspective of how this affects me.
For me supermarkets are very much I love/hate relationship they are full of things to do primarily shopping for goods that you need for your home or otherwise.
However the way in which my autism profile works there are issues related to sensory integration, sensory perception, impulse control and emotional recognition.
In previous posts I have documented how my fragmented vision affects the way in which I “see” and “process” the world around me, this includes of course environments in which I am being bombarded by stimuli but one of the things I have to put one hold is the want to touch and experience everything I can within the store.
This is not related to the literal aspect of the what the object is but how it may sound, smell and feel etc.
Plus getting visual information for me alone is redundant so the irony here is that touch gives me far more “meaning.” than just looking.
Impulse Control Disorder (related to sensory perception)
This impulsivity can include getting “chemical highs” from objects, shimmers, shines, textures, noises, sounds and smells these in some contexts can be very distressing for me but in other contexts they can be alluring and very much a “want” of course a “need” is very different from a “want”.
Alexithymia – Could That Be Another Factor?
Processing incoming emotions (and naming them) for me takes about 24 hours in general and longer depending on the situation.
I wonder because I am getting a “bodily high” that is enough for me to get a “feeling” that comes from the outside in spurring on the impulsive want that then relates to impulse control?
What I have done over the years has been able to self-regulate on a level where even though those a initial bursts may happen I am able to keep on task and do what I have to do.
My tinted lenses help not only with piecing the world together but filtering the lights and giving me clarity.
Headphones and music also help me as this keeps me on topic
by sorting out what the relevant factors are (and just as importantly what aren’t). It gives and foundation not only of empowerment and ownership for th person but a confidence can challenge themselves in otherwise difficult situations.
Paul Isaacs 2015
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
- Context Blindness
- Social Emotional Agnosia
- Prosopagnosia (Face blindness)
- Simultagnosia (Object blindness)
- Semantic Agnosia (Meaning blindness)
- Visuospatial Dysgnosia
- Hemispatial Neglect
- Visual-Verbal Agnosia (Word/Comprehension blindness)
Visual Agnosias – “Blindness ” In The Brain Conventional Glasses Didn’t Help My Visual Perceptual Issues
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
- 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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Dyslexia – Problems with reading and writing, skipping text, slow to process words on the page, shimmering of text.
- Dyscalculia – Problems with all aspects of maths – processing numbers and symbols – Other issues include From Agnosia and Dysgraphia
Paul Isaacs 2014
“Life Through A Kaleidoscope”
Co-Authored by Irlen Consultant James Billett
- Visual Agnosia
- Semantic Agnosia
- Visual-Verbal Agnosia
- Learning Difficulties Confirmed
Paul Isaacs was diagnosed with Autism in 2010 and later diagnosed with Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome by James in 2012. He has worked for Autism Oxford since 2010 presenting speeches and training sessions all around the UK. He has currently released his autobiography through Chipmunka entitled “Living Through The Haze”. This book explores the visual differences and difficulties Paul has experienced for over 26 years. For Paul it was a moving moment of clarity and realisation when with the correct lenses he looked outside and said “Oh, the tree has a middle bit!” James Billett has worked and taught in the field of special education for 30 years and has used the Irlen method with clients across the spectrum of learning differences since 1991.
Paul Isaacs 2014