The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell

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The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell

Category: Reference
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: A very special book about autism, written by a teenager who suffers from the condition.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Sceptre
ISBN: 9781444776751

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Imagine if you will, a world where the normal laws of physics have been slightly changed. You swirl around almost weightlessly, with no control over your limbs. Sounds seem either deafeningly loud or hopelessly muffled. Sensory input floods your system, overwhelming you with bright colours, patterns and odours that attack you from every side, without warning. Communication is almost impossible. You open your mouth and the wrong words come out. People talk down to you as if you were a child.

Welcome to Naoki’s world.

Naoki Higishada was born in 1992 and was diagnosed with autism when he was six years old. When he was just 13, he wrote The Reason I Jump, a unique book that offers a rare glimpse into the mind of an autistic child. The text is in question and answer format, tackling many of the main questions surrounding autism: Why do you talk so loudly? Why can’t you have a proper conversation? Why do you make a huge fuss over tiny mistakes? Naoki answers each of these questions in his own special way, by means of an alphabet grid, his preferred method of non-vocal communication. The book proved to be so popular in Japan that it has now been translated into English.

What I really liked about the book was the simplicity of the format. The questions and answers are easy to understand and give great insight into the way that Naoki views the world. As a parent of a child with autism, I eagerly read the section on Why do you ask the same questions over and over again, as my son does this all the time. Naoki explained that the process of question and answer is like a game of toss and catch. Autistic children enjoy the familiar rhythm and sounds involved in repeating the same questions and receiving the same answers. It soothes and calms them. It helped me to view this particular aspect of autism in a completely new way.

This is also a wonderful book to share with children, due to its simplicity. I read sections of it out to my own children, to help them get a better understanding of their little brother’s autism. The book itself can be read from cover to cover in an hour or so.

Naoki also includes his own short stories in the book, which are beautifully and eloquently written. He is a great ambassador and a voice for all autistic children.

Thank you for allowing me into your world, Naoki. It was a privilege and a pleasure.

Those who enjoyed reading Naoki's short stories may find The Daily Journal of Arabella Crumblestone by Sharon King and Rose King interesting as the author and main character in the story have Asperger's syndrome.

Buy The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida and David Mitchell at Amazon.com.


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