Paul Isaacs: all by himself he has given a new perspective to the word – and the world – we know as autism.
Paul has a brilliant and very inspirational understanding of autism. Is it because he was able to break free of the limitations that controlled him when he was young? Is it because he is blessed with amazing parents (also with autism) who understand him?
The answers to those questions may, in part, support his unique perspective on how to help others.
I have always been a firm believer that you can’t teach something you don’t know and haven’t experienced. Paul has not only experienced the lessons; he is gifted in many ways that allow him to teach others as only someone who really understands can. His third book, A Pocket Size Practical Guide for Parents, Professionals and People on the Autistic Spectrum, is only one of his many teaching tools. It is available in both paperback and e-book formats. Please enjoy our interview! (I sure did!)
Can you tell me more about your autobiography “Living through the Haze: Life on the Autistic Spectrum”? I would love to read it and should do so soon.
This was a book on my life on the autism spectrum, from non-verbal child to adulthood. I cover many aspects of my life: early years, school, further education and employment. I would like to thank my parents, whom are both on the autistic spectrum, for accepting me for who I was as soon as I born. They didn’t know the word “autism” but they treated me with respect, love and acceptance. The title refers to the feelings I had during my life and, at times; it was very much like that.
How would you describe autism based on your personal experiences?
Well, autism is a mix of abilities and disabilities and – for a person to understand both (be it in education or employment) – their true abilities will shine. Then you will see their personality; which with nurture will grow.
What has it been like to write your books and share your profound gifts with the world?
It has been quite an experience; I have always wanted to help others understand themselves with autism so I have written seven books. Currently, I have had all seven books accepted by the publishers. I write very much like fellow autistic, Donna Williams.
I type and have a basic format of what the book is about and then the book is created. There is no conscious method (that is the method!); then I read the words back and I have learned something about myself. I want to help others on the spectrum: that is my main motivation
You refer to the Autism “Fruit Salads” when you speak. Can you share more about this?
Yes, autistic author, consultant and speaker Donna Williams created the term in 1995. She has two books about the subject. Autism: An Inside-Out Approach (1996) and The Jumbled Jigsaw (2005). Her belief is that autism is made up of various “pieces” such as processing and communication difficulties, sensory issues, gut and immune issues and co-conditions. She is an amazing person who has helped me a lot on my Autism Journey! With her help I thank her so much; she has helped so many on the spectrum. J
You said that you gained “functional grasp” of language when you were seven or eight years old. Can you elaborate on this and what it was like before gaining this ability?
It was a time where I was SO immersed in my sensory based world (that) I was non-verbal. I was very much a sensory explorer. I loved colours, shapes and textures. I would love to feel things, tap, lick, sniff, mouth and have my shoes off so I could feel the ground underneath my feet. I was going from one sensory experience to next. It was a way of experiencing the world on a different level.
How would you describe what helped you to overcome the limitations you faced as a young child?
The acceptance, support and love from my parents.
If there was a ‘cure’ for autism, what would it look like to you? And, perhaps the ‘cure’ wouldn’t be for the person with autism, if you know what I mean…
That’s the question I find hard to answer. I have always lived with autism, but what I will say is that a person on the autism spectrum has a right to question these things as does the family members. It can be a transitional period for both the family and individual I think it’s good to hear the view of people on the spectrum and family members.
In what ways has autism helped you to realize gifts (yours and / or another’s)?
That everybody has the right, whether autistic or not have, be accepted in society and have the same rights and opportunities as others.
Amen to that! What has it been like to work with Autism Oxford?
It has been an amazing three and one-half years. It’s the first job where I have been accepted and I thank Kathy Erangey, the manager of Autism Oxford, for understanding me and recognizing my potential as a speaker, trainer, consultant and author.
What do you need help with in order to achieve your goals / dreams?
I have my abilities but I also have my difficulties such as with short term memory, remembering to eat and drink (body disconnectivty), doing simple day to day tasks, going out to places and traveling because of my visual processing (meaning and object blindness), depth perception, recognizing faces (face-blindness), filling in forms and paperwork, remembering the concept of when things are finished and to move on, correcting social errors and misunderstandings, receptive language issues and so forth my family and Autism Oxford help with this, and I feel it’s only fair to help others too. J
People take so much for granted Paul. What you have shown, through your determination, is beautiful. Your appreciation for the help you have received from others and your giving back in so many ways overshadows the limitations you face daily. What a special gift you are to the world. I hope and pray that more will learn to live by your example.
To learn more about Paul Isaacs, please visit the following links:
Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated. Ill-willed comments of any kind are not allowed here. Please be kind. The law of attraction is always at work: that which you sow, so shall you grow. Thank you and have an incredibly blessed day!
Rhonda Spellman is an award winning author, professional speaker, autism advocate and coach. A published author at 17, she has since worked in many areas of the writing / publishing / media field. When a form of autism took her son’s voice in 2001 and threatened to take his ability to live a normal life, she began to search for better answers. Rhonda self-published her first children’s book – an EVVY award winner, in 2003, a short two months before her first son was diagnosed with autism. Her second book, based on small emperor penguin who gives children a message, “You don’t have to BE big to DO big things” was picked up by a major publisher in 2008. Rhonda’s third book, “The Journey Home from Autism“, is based on over 7,000 logged hours of research was released on January 1, 2010. It has won a 1st place INDIE Excellence award and an EVVY award. In January, 2013, she published her 10-year-old son’s first book, “Asperger’s Rhymes with Bass Burgers“. Her programs for children and adults, her website and her column “Beyond the Spectrum” are designed to educate and enrich life ~ in all of our many shapes, colors and forms. Her online sites include: AutismWithRhonda.com, Linkedin.com/in/RhondaSpellman, Facebook.com/RhondaSpellman, http://www.youtube.com/artospress, She can be reached at Rhonda@RhondaSpellman.com