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  1. #1
    Senior Member Enlightened leakyowl's Avatar
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    Dec 2012

    Default The Reason I Jump

    The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism: Naoki Higashida, KA Yoshida, David Mitchell: 9780812994865: Books

    I adore this book. Right now, everyone in my immediate family is reading it to help them understand my high-functioning autistic son. I'm even reading it with him to ask him which parts he agrees with, which he doesn't.

    Here's my full review:
    As autism has come into public awareness, memoirs written by and about adults with the disorder abound: Temple Grandin wrote succinctly about her life and the way her brain functions. John Elder Robison was able to later understand his high-functioning autism well enough to write a best-selling memoir. But both these authors have the distance and perspective that time grants when describing their autism. Other authors likewise look at autism from the outside.
    The Reason I Jump is unique because the author is living inside childhood autism. Naoki is thirteen and is rarely able to speak. But that doesn’t mean he can’t think. It is clear he has thought a great deal about the ways his processing differs from those of “normal” people. He’s had enough people tell him what’s normal and expected that he is able to describe the myriad ways in which he differs. He brings poetry to a subject that most people imagine as drab prose or memorized factoids.
    Through a series of questions and answers, he describes what it is like to hear everything, but freeze when it’s time to speak, the pain that comes from others assuming you want to be alone, and the confusion that comes from sensing everything without a way to filter out what’s important. In the process, he explodes a number of misconceptions about autism. He does not have the vocabulary of a young child, even though he loves preschool-level television shows. He wants friends and to be close to other people. Conversations cause massive amounts of anxiety. I challenge anyone who thinks an autistic person lacks empathy to read this book, especially his short story at the end. He clearly understands more about the human mind than most normal teenagers.
    He also reminds his reader that patience and grit can help anyone prevail, even those seemingly lost in autism. Because of this, I recommend this book to any parent, teacher, or caregiver—and not just to those of autistic people. Naoki’s main message is that there are as many ways to solve a problem or understand the world as there are brains.
    Mom of three:
    E (11, step-son)
    G (10, son, only one home-schooled)
    S (2)
    Full-time health librarian
    Perpetual student

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  3. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by leakyowl View Post
    he describes what it is like to hear everything, but freeze when it’s time to speak, the pain that comes from others assuming you want to be alone, and the confusion that comes from sensing everything without a way to filter out what’s important.
    Based on this alone, I think I want to get this book. Last night my son and a girlfriend and I went to a folk music concert. DS was excited to go, but excitement for him looks exactly like boredom looks exactly like contemplative looks exactly like calm. There's no loud voice, no grinning, no outward sign of excitement. While we were there, he sat and stared intently at the stage with his fingers firmly plugged into his ears. Everyone at the table we were at were giving me looks like I dragged him to the concert because *I* wanted to be there, which couldn't be further from the truth. Folk is his genre, not mine. He enjoyed it. I could tell he liked it because he was rocking back and forth in time to the beat, which he only does for music he really, really likes. It was just loud (not obnoxiously loud like some concerts, but loud enough to disturb him after a while). He was introduced to my friend's long-time friend who ran into us there, and he didn't reply or hold his hand out for a handshake, because it takes him a while to process information and remember what the social norms are in those situations if he isn't expecting them. So this book sounds exactly like something I could pass on to family members who sometimes don't understand what he's doing...
    Sarah B., Oklahoma

    "By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

    Blog: Our Sunnyview

    Less-than-Zenlike mother of:
    M1 - The Boy, age 11, home since 2009 - loves science, swimming, and folk music
    M2 - The Girl, age 9, home since 2012 - loves anatomy, the arts, and her violin

  4. #3
    Senior Member Enlightened neobunny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    I have this book on my 'to read' list!
    Teresa ~ ma$$hole living in the Carolinas.

    Mom to DS6
    In PS for K, and doing very well surprisingly! Then homeschooling for 1st, probably with Calvert

  5. #4


    have to agree with you. I have read a New York Times review on the book that left me intrigued about the life of the author. I believe a thorough analysis of the book could possibly offer some valuable insights to occupational therapy research.
    I learned to walk as a baby, and I haven't had a lesson since.

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The Reason I Jump