Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida

The Reason I Jump


Naoki Higashida

Category: Nonfiction: Disabilities & Diseases

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Naoki Higashida explains what it’s like to have autism.

Date finished: 2 June 2014

Rating: ***

I don’t know why I read this book other than it was short. You know how it is? Anyway. I thought I’d learn something about autism in a package that isn’t quite as intimidating or depressing as I expect most autism books to be.

While this wasn’t a bad book, I don’t think adults without autistic children will get much out of it. The amount of generalizing done here is just too great for me. I kept thinking Really? Is that really how it is for all children? What about the much-talked-about spectrum and accounting for personality types—these don’t bring anything to bear? Higashida talks about his own experiences with autism, but he projects them onto all children with it. He says, at various places in the book, that “us all” (couldn’t someone have translated that properly?) like repetition, water, nature, spinning, numbers, filtering light with our hands, and soft, gentle, childish things. If that’s true, wouldn’t that lead scientists to unlocking the mysteries of autism? Wouldn’t we know by now what “causes” it and what could “cure” it? I don’t know, I guess I’m trying to make sense of a senseless disorder.

I’m out of my depth here, so I’ll close by saying this may very well be a lifesaver for parents with newly-diagnosed children. It’s written simply and truthfully. It doesn’t preach or excuse but explains the unexplainable pretty well.  But I caution to beware of the one-size-fits-all attitude of the book.

Would you recommend this to a friend?
There must be better books out there.

You might also enjoy:
The Spark

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