Buy It, Borrow It or Bag it- The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Jump      When I first heard about this book on The Daily Show written by a 13-year-old boy with Autism, I knew I needed to read it. Like David Mitchell (who provided some of the translation for the book) I understood all too well how many books on this subject exist and how categorically unhelpful they are. It’s not that they aren’t trying, but if you can’t get into the mind of someone with the condition…you really have no prayer of understanding them. This is the book with the answers. NOT the solutions, but the answers. The answers to questions like “Why do you flap your arms?”, “Why do you talk funny?”, “Why do you line up your cars?” and so on…Parents finally have an insight into what is going on in their child’s head when the world they live in looks, feels, sounds, smells and tastes overwhelming to them.

Having spent a lot of time with autistic children in the school setting and getting to know someone close to me who is on the spectrum, I was thrilled to learn that some of my “guesses” as to “why” autistics do what they do were pretty spot on and that other things that we take for granted literally blow their minds. While it would have been nice to get a few suggested “hints” for how to cope with someone when they are having a meltdown, I can’t fault a 13-year-old for lacking therapeutic strategy. I also loved the fact that in the end, what the world has been presented with is uninterrupted commentary from someone who this is their reality and all they really want is patience, peace and love. If you are a parent who has been told that your child is on the spectrum and you want some insight on what it feels like to be them, then BUY IT. You won’t regret having some  thoughts from a voice who was willing to speak for the many who cannot.


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