A Review of The Reason I Jump: Examining How Autistics See the World

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 19th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1q1qlixz/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Mind, Body & Spirit

Why do autistic children behave the way they do? This book provides some answers from the perspective of autistic children themselves.

An Autistic Child Writes a Book


Autistic children don't like to make eye contact because it's hard for them to look at faces and listen to what's being said at the same time.
They often cup their ears when they hear loud sounds because they're afraid they will lose control of themselves and not because the noise is too loud.
They line up toy cars and blocks over and over again or stack cans or other objects because they are obsessive about order.
These are some common questions about autism which are answered in the book, The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-old With Autism. Written by Naoki Higashida, a Japanese boy with autism; the book explains why people with autism behave the way they do. This book is a rare glimpse into the world of autism from the point of view of someone who has the disorder.
Like many people with autism, Higashida has difficulty speaking. He wrote the book using an alphabet grid which contains the 40 basic Japanese letters.
Originally published in Japan by Escor Publishers in 2007, the book was republished in the United States by Random House. Most of the book is written in question and answer form. Higashida also includes some short stories he wrote himself. Even though this book is only 135 pages and can be read within an hour or two, it belongs on the bookshelf of every parent, caregiver, teacher, relative or anyone else who knows or loves someone with autism.

Answering Common Questions About Autism


Children with autism love to line up or stack objects because of their need for order.
"What I care about - in fact I'm pretty obsessive about this- is the order things come in, and different ways of lining them up," Higashida writes. "When we're playing in this way, our brains feel refreshed and clear."
Making eye contact with others "feels creepy," Higashida writes. Listening and looking at someone's face is difficult for him to do.
"Voices may not be visible things but we're trying to listen to the other person with all of our sense organs," he writes. "When we're fully focused on working out what the heck it is you're saying, our sense of sight sort of zones out."
Many autistic children have sensory issues which caused them to either under or overreact to smells, sounds or sights. They often cup their ears.
"It's more to do with a fear that if we keep listening, we'll lose all sense of where we are," Higashida writes. "So cupping our ears is a measure we take to protect ourselves and get back our grip on where we are."

What It's Like to Have Autism


The Reason I Jump gives readers a sense of what it is like to have autism. For example, Higashida explains why autistic children often jump.
"But when I'm jumping, it's as if my feelings are going upward to the sky," he writes. Another reason why he jumps is because people with autism react physically to their feelings.
Asked about the worst part of autism, Higashida replies that it's the feeling that he's causing stress and grief for others. Yet, he can't help doing what he does, he writes.
"We can put up with our own hardships OK, but the thought that our lives are the source of other people's unhappiness, that's plain unbearable," he writes.
Higashida is not able to completely answer every question about autism. For example, he can't explain why many children with autism have difficulty sleeping. This is a problem that usually resolves itself over time as it did with him.
However, The Reason I Jump offers readers insight into the struggles autistic children contend with every day and ways to understand and support them. This book can serve as a reference for anyone who wants to know more about life on the autistic spectrum.

I've written several articles about autism here on Wikinut. Here's a sampling:
How to Help Parents of Autistic Children
Three Myths About Children With Autism
How to Help Children With Asperger Syndrome
How to Talk to Children With Autism

Attribution


This article used information and quotes from The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism by Naoki Higashida
This article was rewritten from one I originally published on Yahoo Voices
The photos came from Morguefile.com

Tags

Autism, Autism In Children, Autistic, Autistic Children

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author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Certainly it is like an other world. It is good we are learning more about autism.

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author avatar Bex8814
20th Mar 2014 (#)

To witness your child suffer like this is heartbreaking, but articles promoting awareness are a great thing. Great read

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Agreed, Mark. The more we know, the more we can help people with autism.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks, Bex8814. Awareness can help people understand.

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author avatar sukkran
20th Mar 2014 (#)

learned some facts from this page. thanks for this informative review post. really a great work.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Nice review with good connections. I didn't notice if you pointed out that one of the English translators was the guy who wrote Cloud Atlas, which I thought was pretty cool.
There's this other book I think would interest you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curious_Incident_of_the_Dog_in_the_Night-time. Some reviews say it is a 1st person narrative of a boy with autism solving a murder or a pet, and I would agree with that assessment. The author though states he is not autistic and not an expert on any disorder, he just wanted to show "an outsider." I read it a long time ago, and the details are vague, but I still remember not being able to put it down, feeling like I could relate to the narrator whether or not anyone would say that a gregarious soul like me would ever have anything other than nerdy awkwardness in common with this boy. But the aversions, interesting nocturnal habits, and overall "quirks" would point to something not altogether par for the course. Sharing.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Everything that helps us to understand the situation and feelings of another , and in this case autism , is very helpful and informative.
A well earned star Connie
God bless you
Stella ><

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks for your kind and inspiring words, Stella.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks for your kind words and support, Sukkran.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th Mar 2014 (#)

So interesting, Phyl. I have to read this one. Thanks for that tip.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Beautifully insightful...thank you Connie...

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
20th Mar 2014 (#)

We are not born the same and understanding where others come from, their problems, will enable us to coexist and help those in need. Thanks Connie - good to know how autistic try to cope in a world where even the normal people find it a challenge - siva

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author avatar Connie McKinney
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks so much, Delicia and Siva. You are both so eloquent - even in your comments.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
21st Mar 2014 (#)

Autistic children can give us a lot of surprises, very smart as one of my sons had a friend Autistic and very good in chess! Beautiful post and thank you for dedicating this space to this children!

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author avatar Songbird B
21st Mar 2014 (#)

This was a fascinating insight into a child's own view on Autism, and a really powerful review Connie.. So often we have to step into someone else's shoes to really gain insight into something we do not always understand. \0/x

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author avatar Connie McKinney
21st Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks so much, Fern and Songbird B. So well said, ladies.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
22nd Mar 2014 (#)

I think I missed this one Connie ..I also thik the these kind of children just see from a different perspective...my neighbour's daughter is such and often we speak together and share different experiences and she lights up when we share...we love each other dearly...

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author avatar Connie McKinney
23rd Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks, Carolina, for your comments and your kindness toward your neighbor's daughter. It sounds like you are getting through to her and being a good support to her. We all need to be as kind and loving as you are.

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author avatar Carol
30th Mar 2014 (#)

This is so interesting to me Connie because of Phil my autistic son. He still collects model cars and lines them up, his slippers and dressing gown must be in the same place when he comes to stay etc etc. I did put this in the book I wrote to help others, and April as you probably know is autism awareness month.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks, Carol.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
5th Apr 2014 (#)

Good evening, Connie, I sent this to my friend who has the autistic grand dauther and she found it helpful. Am putting on Twitter and glad you have your other informative autism links included. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
5th Apr 2014 (#)

Thanks, Marilyn. I'm glad it helped your friend, and I hope it helps other people as well.

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author avatar Kingwell
9th Apr 2014 (#)

Thanks my friend, we all need to learn more about Autism.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
9th Apr 2014 (#)

Thanks so much, Kingwell. I hope it helps folks understand where people with autism are coming from.

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