Note – This is from a personal perspective
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.
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.
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 2017
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.
- 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
Note this is from a personal perspective
Aphasia and Words
Words in my mind felt ethereal, transient and distant the internal garbel of sounds, pitches, tones, hums and inflection as if my unconscious mind was trying so desperately to find the words, string the sentences anew to project and receive in “real-time” on some level I believe in my later years that is what I was trying to do. The jumble of a “salad of letters” in my mind could be found and then lost in equal measure.
Oral Apraxia and Word Finding and Formation
The functional element of my speech was delayed in both speech and language the aphasia was both receptive and expressive in nature with a high instance of anomia (word finding). The other element is oral apraxia which rendered me unable to form the words I would find leaving me disconnected and frustrated.
Receptive Aphasia, Body Agnosia & Associated Visual Agnosias
The receptive element of speech for example someone talking to me was the same external garbel as was in my mind a silent war between expresser and receiver trying to find clarity amongst the hidden mist of miscommunication.
The inability to perceive my own body meant a level of internal groundedness was not their and context was missed time and time again.
I relied on the touch, taste, smell, texture these feelings gave me a context to grab onto and create an association it is no surprise to me that my Mum through I was deaf and blind because that is exactly how I was behaving my language processing and sensory perceptual systems (visual agnosias) were so scrambled the credible and most importantly meaningful option was to “feel to think”, “feel to relate”, “feel to connect”, “feel to be”, “feel to extract” and the list goes on.
Creating My Own Language
Before interpretative language sets one could be creating their own language through association, things they have heard and seen on the television, jingles on the radio or other stands of information that bears relevance to an event and/or emotional meaningful response. In
my case this was form of communication which looked meaningLESS to the listener but was meaningFUL to me as the expresser.
Memory and Internal Mentalising
A memory with no associative images for words and no words for images meant my style of learning and integrating was not logical in nature nor literal this is secondary reason why my language and visual-verbal processing was delayed and slower, however as the years progressed I was building up a slow repertoire to words and my functional speech came around 7/8 years old this was expressively and developmentally in terms of content and formation of a 3 year old this new “voice” at times rendered me equally mute and frustrated.
Looking at the broader instance of different aspects that make up language processing difficulties in autism one needs to look at what is making the difficulties piece by piece, how that has an impact on the person and then work on positive and empowering and meaningful interventions.
Paul Isaacs 2017
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
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
DEVELOPMENTAL COLOUR AGNOSIA – Left Hemisphere of the Brain
Don’t get me wrong I see all colours as different from one another I have a hard time “naming them in context” for example at the traffic lights, naming the colour piece of clothing etc. (I don’t “see” the object of reference in my head nor it’s colour as I have no visual memory).
But for some reason I can cognitively remember the colour red. So remember some people on the spectrum may have this as part of their profile/”Fruit Salad”.
Paul Isaacs 2014