the reason i jump

title: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

author: Naoki Higashida (translated by KA Yoshida & David Mitchell)

genre: Non-fiction, understanding autism, autistic behaviors

suggested by: Michalle T.

dates read: November 12th – November 13th

review: 5 out of 5 stars

summary: The title says it all. But to further explain, Naoki’s teacher and mother came up with a grid alphabet system that allows him to communicate and now he has a blog (along with this published book). He answers commonly asked questions about autism, why autistic people flap their hands, why they repeat phrases over and over again, why they can’t seem to remember what they’re not supposed to do, and many others. He answers the questions and also shares some of his other writings, including a short story at the end of the book.

personal thoughts: Autism is shrouded is so much mystery, why do people get it, what is going on inside their heads, why do that do those things? Naoki writes with such honestly and because he’s so young, it’s amazing to see how aware he is. He writes with no bitterness, only trying to shed light on what we don’t understand.   Over and over he talks about how angry he gets when he makes mistakes and when others can’t understand him. Instead of being angry that people aren’t more understanding, he simply asks for some grace and patience and tries to explain why he does the things he does. The grace he has for and asks from others is something we could all learn from.

favorite quotes:
“True compassion is about not bruising the other person’s self-respect.” p. 15

“Making sounds with your mouth isn’t the same thing as communication, right?. . .Isn’t there a belief out there that if a person is using verbal language, it follows that the person is saying what they want to say? It’s thanks to this belief that those of us with autism get even more locked up inside ourselves.” p. 19

“to us with people with special needs, nature is as important as our own lives. The reason is that when we look at nature, we receive a short of permission to be alive in this world, and our entire bodies get recharged. However often we’re ignored and pushed away by other people, nature will always give us a good big hug, here inside our hearts.” p. 85

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