Exposure Anxiety - The Invisible Cage: An Exploration of Self-Protection Response in the Autism Spectrum / Edition 1by Donna Williams
Pub. Date: 08/28/2002
Publisher: Kingsley, Jessica Publishers
Exposure anxiety is increasingly understood as a crippling condition affecting a high proportion of people on the autism spectrum. To many it is an invisible cage, leaving the person suffering from it aware, but buried alive in their own involuntary responses and isolation. Exposure Anxiety: The Invisible Cage describes the condition and its underlying… See more details below
Exposure anxiety is increasingly understood as a crippling condition affecting a high proportion of people on the autism spectrum. To many it is an invisible cage, leaving the person suffering from it aware, but buried alive in their own involuntary responses and isolation. Exposure Anxiety: The Invisible Cage describes the condition and its underlying physiological causes, and presents a range of approaches and strategies that can be used to combat it. Based on personal experience, the book shows how people with autism can be shown how to emerge from the stranglehold of exposure anxiety and develop their individuality.
It progressively shapes the individual torn between experiencing it as the sanctuary and the prison. Exposure Anxiety makes it hard to stand noticing you are noticing. It can make love a form of torture, repel you from the sound of your own voice, make you meaning deaf to your own words and those of others and compel you to avoid, divert from or retaliate against the very things that which most have the power to reach you. Exposure Anxiety progressively co-opts the identity of the person as separate to the condition or it leaves them aware but buried alive in their own involuntary responses and isolation. Exposure Anxiety is the involuntary social-emotional self-protection response that needs no enemy. It turns the world upside-down, makes no yes and yes no and co-opts and defies conventional, non-autistic teaching techniques.
Exposure Anxiety has many faces. By defeating it at its own game, Donna demonstrates how the person can progressively be inspired to fight for themselves and attempt to emerge, from the undercurrent, as the tide.
- Kingsley, Jessica Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.71(d)
Table of ContentsIntroduction: The Invisible Cage. Section 1 - The Mechanics: Faces of Exposure Anxiety. Exposure Anxiety and consciousness. Exposure Anxiety and intelligence. Exposure Anxiety and will. Exposure Anxiety and sensory flooding. Exposure Anxiety, overload, and information processing. Section 2 - Relationship to Self: Exposure Anxiety and body. Exposure Anxiety and emotional expression. Exposure Anxiety and sense of self. Exposure Anxiety and detachment. Exposure Anxiety and empathy. Exposure Anxiety and insight. Exposure Anxiety and personality. Exposure Anxiety and identity. Section 3 - Relationship to Others: Exposure Anxiety and the world. Exposure Anxiety and respect. Exposure Anxiety and trust. Exposure Anxiety and love. Section 4 - the Development of a Social Face: Being 'social': and the nature of 'simply being'. Exposure Anxiety and behaviour. Exposure Anxiety and language. Exposure Anxiety and friendship. Section 5 - Environment: Exposure Anxiety at home. Exposure Anxiety at school. Exposure Anxiety in the playground. Exposure Anxiety and work. Exposure Anxiety and independent living. Exposure Anxiety and adult relationships. Section 6. Ways forward. References. Index.
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I recommend 'Exposure Anxiety' to anyone interested in honestly knowing how autism feels, and why. Donna doesn't blame, shame, or promise-- she writes about being. Being autistic and experiencing and discovering solutions that make our lives a bit more livable.
Exposure Anxiety is not Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome. It's not Avoidant Personality Disorder. Its not Social Phobia or Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It's not Cycloid Psychoses. Yet it could easily be misassumed to be any of these things. It commonly occurs in a percentage of those with Autism yet many people with Autism, particularly at the more high functioning end of the Spectrum, don't have it. But what it is is a condition that involves a collective of mood, anxiety and compulsive disorders in one, resulting in involuntary avoidance, diversion and retaliation responses. More than this though, she demonstrates how Exposure Anxiety can also manifest in eating disorders, toiletting problems, severe learning, social and communication challenges and self injurious behaviours, imprisoning the personhood of those who suffer from it. The component of Exposure Anxiety relating to addiction to one's own chemistry is of great significance to treatment as is the possible implications of Dopamine malfunctions in setting off the addictions themselves. Donna gives a range of environmental strategies, in particular an 'Indirectly Confrontational Approach' that is strikingly different to current ABA approaches. Most of the approaches she suggests for Exposure Anxiety are environmental, from the many facets of 'an indirectly confrontational approach' to a plethora of self-calming strategies she outlines and also the importance of art, music and drama therapies and facilitated communication. Never overtly pro-medication nor militantly anti-medication, Donna makes a strong point of always dealing with what can be first managed without medication in order to reduce the risks of leaning on over medication. Here she points out ways the chemistry issues underpinning this severe impulse control disorder might be managed including particular dietary interventions such as the low Salicyalte diet, nutritional supplements that reduce anxiety, Bach Flower remedies to help manage acute stress of the condition itself and, if finally necessary, low doses of appropriate monitored medications. She does not easily support the use of medication but realistically recognises that it might hold some promise for those people severely effected by this disabling impulse control disorder which in itself, left untreated risks supressing gut and immune function and progressively compromising health and safety. Without help on the environmental and chemical front lines of this condition, those most severely effected by it can be trapped and voice-less in a position of being unable to do things 'as themselves', 'by themselves' or 'for themselves'. This is not a book by an expert. There are no experts on this previously never written about condition. The nature of the condition itself means that those with it are almost always unable to control their behaviour and communication and so are almost always functionally non-verbal or with dysfunctional verbal language. There are no experts in Exposure Anxiety but as an Autistic person with the condition Donna Williams tries to give us 'experts' a window into it. To ignore what she has to say on this perhaps important misunderstood ingredient effecting some of the most severely autistic and low functioning people on the Autistic Spectrum is to do a great diservice to the most voice-less of that community in looking the other way. Its well worth daring to look.