Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review (#41 of 2014) The Reason Why I Jump by Naoki Higashida

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism This work is translated from Japanese into English and I have high hopes that Naoki's words are recorded faithfully in Japanese and then translated faithfully.
Naoki answers questions every parent wishes his autistic child could answer-- why he does repetitive things, loves watches the same commercials, spins, etc. Much of the book is heart-wrenching. Naoki pleads over and over "Please, whatever you do, don’t give up on us. We need your help." I found those words moving and encouraging. My son does many of the things Naoki explains and it's important for us to realize that he understands, doesn't want to disappoint us, and may be internally crushed when he does see our frustration and disappointment. Too often we assume our son wants to play alone, because he seems so happy and contended. Naoki acknowledges the contentment, explains it, but makes the statement: "The truth is, we’d love to be with other people. But because things never, ever go right, we end up getting used to being alone, without even noticing this is happening...Whenever I overhear someone remark how much I prefer being on my own, it makes me feel desperately lonely." Naoki ends the book with one of his short stories. He may be one of the least-outwardly-functioning autistic people in the world, and it's encouraging to hear that his mind and spirit are strong. I give this book 5 stars and recommend it if you know or love someone with autism.

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