Why do you talk so loudly? Why is your voice weird? Why do you ask the same questions over and over? Why don’t you make eye contact? Is it true that you don’t like to be touched? What’s the reason you jump? If you’ve ever known someone, adult or child, with autism, these are some of the questions that may have gone through your mind at the time. The Reason I Jump is an ambitious and admirable attempt to answer these questions and others.
Naoki Higashida is a thirteen-year-old boy with autism, and this is his story. Using an alphabet grid to communicate and with the assistance of translators, Naoki provides rare insight into the mind of a person with autism. Nothing is sugar-coated, and Naoki himself admits to the challenges he poses to his parents and others around him. His answers and perspective on his corner of the world will surely be appreciated by readers touched by autism in some way.
I was very much looking forward to reading this book about a fascinating and little discussed topic. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations. While the question and answer format works well enough, I found myself wanting more background on Naoki and his family. Had I known more of his story from the viewpoint of his parents, other family members, and teachers, I really think I would have been able to feel more connected to Naoki. It’s also a very short book, coming in at under 200 pages. Still, I have much appreciation for the courage this young man showed in opening himself up to the world as he did. Although this story was not the experience I had hoped for, there are plenty of readers who have read and enjoyed Naoki’s story.
Buy it Now: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism