It often seems that the simplest things pack the biggest punch.
That’s how I feel after reading The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. I was first introduced to this book when watching Jon Stewart interview one of the translators, author David Mitchell, on his show. After hearing a brief summary, this book immediately jumped to the top of my must-read list and I purchased the audio version from Audible. Then I started listening to the book and within the first 10 minutes, knew I needed a hard copy as well. That rarely happens.
I’m telling you . . . this book is a must-read.
Naoki Higashida is a young Japanese man, an author, motivational speaker, and advocate who also has autism. This book was published in 2007 when he was 13 years old, then was translated into English by author David Mitchell and his wife KA Yoshida in 2013. The Reason I Jump reads like a Q&A where Higashida answers questions about what it’s like to have autism. Questions such as:
Why do you take ages to answer questions?
Why are you too sensitive or insensitive to pain?
Why do you flap your fingers and hands in front of your face?
Why do you like spinning?
Why are your facial expressions so limited?
The Reason I Jump is an easy read yet it has a lot of depth. Higashida is insightful and articulate in his explanations. This book will touch you as the reader, but how it touches you may vary from individual to individual. Some will be touched by his disclosures about how difficult it can be to watch loved ones suffer. Others will be touched by his calls to not give up on “us people with autism.”
To me, this book screams compassion. It calls for us to try and understand who the feeling and intelligent person is underneath the behaviors we struggle to comprehend. He calls for us to be patient, to be caring, and to never give up.
The Reason I Jump is a must-read for any professional, caregiver, or friend who interacts with not only people who have autism, but any person who may not look or behave in a “typical” way.