“The Reason I Jump”

Many people have misconceptions on autism and the explanations behind certain behaviors people with autism tend to display. When Naoki Higashida was thirteen, he was fed up with the fallacies in people’s heads about the developmental delay, and wrote the book The Reason I Jump. As a nonverbal boy with autism, Higashida had to point to each letter individually on an alphabet grid to relay his thoughts, while someone wrote down his story. This alone disproves the idea that people with autism want to be left alone, an idea Naoki wanted to make sure he conveyed.

The book has an introduction by author David Mitchell, who explains that certain beliefs typical people have about autism are actually the opposite; for example, insensitivity is actually hypersensitivity, and the action of lining things (like toy cars, crayons, etc.), is actually a way of “keeping relentless perceptual onslaught at bay.” [i] There are only a handful of books actually written by someone with autism, compared to the volumes of parenting and how-to books written by someone who is typically developing. The book’s chapters answer questions that many people have, like “Why Do You Like Being in the Water?” which is answered with “we are a different kind of human, born with primeval senses…when we look at nature, we receive a sort of permission to be alive in this world, and our entire bodies get recharged.”

The Reason I Jump offers a new perspective on the autistic mind, providing insight on the things that run through someone with autism’s head. One of the main points the Naoki explains is,

“I think that people with autism are born outside the regime of civilization… [in which] a deep sense of crisis exists… Autism has somehow arisen out of this… if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that would give us a quiet pleasure.”

The notion of autism is skewed (and not for the better), and The Reason I Jump will hopefully steer the typically developing person back on track.

[i] “The Guardian” The reason I jump: One boy’s voice from the silence of autism, by Naoki Higashida – review. 27 Jul 2013. Web. < http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/29/reason-jump-autism-naoki-higashida-review>