Monday, May 27, 2019

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism, by Naoki Higashida (author), KA Yoshida (translator), David Mitchell (translator)

Random House, August 2013

Naoki Higashida is a Japanese boy with autism, a boy who has real problems with spoken language, and therefore seemed completely shut in and non-communicative.

But due to his own determination and his parents', he learned to communicate using an alphabet grid and a computer. With tools he can use, he is anything but "non-communicative."

This book, written when he was thirteen, is one of the longer-term results. He talks about what autism is like from the inside, and what millions of parents would like to know: what things really help him master his own behavior, understand the rest of us, and what helps him communicate.

Inside that silent, often seemingly unresponsive exterior, is a smart, capable, well-spoken young man.

Autism isn't the same for every autistic person, and can look very different in different people. Naoki is open and clear about that, and tries to be clear about when he's talking about his own experiences, and when he's offering his best interpretation of why other autistic people do other kinds of seemingly common autistic behaviors.

He's intelligent, thoughtful, and kind, even if it isn't always obvious from the outside.

There's also an introduction by David Mitchell, about how this book helped him, his wife, and their autistic son, which led him to work to get it translated. The introduction as well as Naoki's book are well worth reading.

Highly recommended.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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