My guest this week for Women’s Radio Station was one of our Charity Ambassadors Paul Isaacs. Paul is an autistic trainer, speaker, consultant and blogger.
He has co-authored several books including Life through a Kaleidoscope and Living through the Haze.Paul has released and published 5 books on the subject of autism published by Chipmunka publishing and has contributed to other books too. Having overcome many challenges to achieve the success that he now enjoys, Paul’s message is that Autism is a complex mix of ability and disability. He firmly believes that every Autistic person should have the opportunity to reach their potential and be regarded as a valued member of society.
Paul shared his experience:
“Yesterday I spoke to Anna Kennedy at the Women’s Radio show in London the first question she asked was the road to being diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In 2007 I was sent to the local mental health team in which I was misdiagnosed with “Aspergers traits with a complex personality” I found out later looking through my medical records during this period that I was diagnosed with schizotypal and borderline personality disorders I was also suffering at this point in time from psychosis and auditory hallucinations.
In 2010 I was diagnosed formally with autism and OCD by a psychiatrist the key to this process was the caring and connecting nature in which he allowed our myself and my parents to talk about the difficult and challenging aspects of my past which included current difficulties with professionalism and humility. We spoke about what the educational system was like for me, I was born in 1986 and went through mainstream education to which many problems arose it was more to do with the the frame of reference the teachers had rather than them doing me deliberate harm.
Everything was distorted, fragmented both visually and from a language perspective. People making phonic noises at one another, shapeless form less people, near and far, here nor there. I was hyperactive and didn’t seem to the connect with the world around me. If I had been diagnosed at this point it would have been of classic autism due to higher levels of visual-verbal processing challenges, language processing disorder and expressive communication challenges.
I found solace in water to which I was fascinated by and flushing toilets looking at the flow of water in amazement getting lost in it, becoming it and not wanting on a subconscious level to let go it was a friend of sorts always there when I needed him.
We also spoke about how my parents coped what they done to help me despite not having a formal diagnosis at this time. Headteachers at primary school had noted behaviourally issues, being shy and difficulties with handwriting and using a pen. My parents all through primary and secondary school did not find solutions from these meetings because it was always “Paul cannot” with no alternative being put in its place. So my parents treated me as a child a little adult, they allowed me to experience the world around me not making part of it small but going out cycling, walking, swimming, going out restaurants and holidays. They instilled that in me that I was apart of the world not centre of it, that failure is a normal part of life and that in the end can be the best version of yourself.
During my free time I like to create mostly through the mediums of poetry, creative writing and art these things I find very relaxing and connect with my on a emotive level it grounds my thoughts, feelings and expands my experiences with other people also. I like meeting up with friends which I do twice monthly at a local restaurant I value all their friendships deeply. I have also made friendships up north with The Kings Sharon and her family have been great to be around with as well as a friend in London who shares many creative vibes with.
We discussed my tinted lenses as they help me bring coherence to the world around me binding it together without them everything becomes shattered and all the pieces do not come together. seventy percent of information is visual so if you think about how much one takes in through that one sense and if in my case the inability to perceive faces, objects, places etc the are a great aid for me to not only walk around the visual world but be able to hand the incoming information and store it in a more calmly fashion.
We both talked about the “autism fruit salad”, this is where I explained details of the late Donna Williams a lady on the autism spectrum who will be greatly missed because she touched so many people’s lives in profound and brilliant ways. Donna was a trailblazer and in many ways ahead of her time while other people are being militant about what autism “is” and “isn'” the fruit salad explains that autism is a patchwork quilt of differing factors such as information processing, identity and personality, mental health, learning styles and environmental factors. “Autism” in affect doesn’t have a “look” with regards the “Asperger’s syndrome” removal in the DSM 5 I feel that did they understand the mechanics of the condition?
Donna wrote a brilliant blog about the differences between “Aspie and Autie Fruit Salads” which means from her observations as a consultant it seems that people with a diagnosis of AS seem to be literal, logical and process internally while people with Autism are less literal, less logical and processing things externally and then of course what about the “Aspinauts” people who are dipping into both worlds? I like Donna’s ability to always thing about side of the box she was so kind and giving.
The future for autism I feel is to ditch the stereotypes, politics, rhetoric and nonsense the burns more bridges than it builds, lets start by looking at autism realities for all, striking up healthy and balanced dialogues, lets learn from people different experiences and be humble with it.”
If you would like to book Paul as speaker, trainer and/or consultant please contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org