Wednesday, July 09, 2014

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

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

Author: Naoki Higashida
Published: 2013
Genre: Non-fiction
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

Recommended if you like: Non-fiction, information about autism, children's writing

What Its About: 
As autism becomes more and more prevalent in our world, misconceptions and lack of information about the condition become greater and greater. Those with autism are often seen as childlike and mentally deficient, but this is not necessarily the case. In fact, autism is a condition that effects behavior and ability to communicate, but does not effect intellect.
In The Reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida breaks down some of the walls of misunderstanding and lack of communication around autism. Utilizing an alphabet board (think Ouigi-board), Higashida was able to share his thoughts and feelings about being autistic honestly and frankly. He shares his reasons for his struggles with communication and controlling his physical body. He explains why autistic children do not always follow directions and why they often feel naughty or bad.  He also offers caregivers valuable advice when dealing with loved ones who are autistic, do's and don't both. Ultimately, he makes it clear that folks with autism are just like you and can live wonderful, fulfilling lives with the love and patience of those who care for them.

Truly a "...road map into the world of severe autism" (People Magazine).

The Bottom Line:
I have to be honest. I went into this book not exactly understanding the format it would take. I expected stories or a narrative or memoir, but what I got was a question and answer (with some short narratives included). This threw me at first and any potential reader should be prepared. However, once I settled in I truly got quite a bit of understanding from this book.

Yes, the writing is a bit juvenile, but Higashida was only thirteen when he wrote the book. And, having had limited communication due to his autism when he was younger, he did an exceptional job of communicating his thoughts and feelings about being autistic. This is a powerful and valuable book for anyone who knows someone with autism, or anyone who might come in contact with someone with autism. Its very enlightening and, due to its rarity, likely to change the lives of many autistic persons.