The Reason I Jump

This is a book written by an autistic Japanese child, Naoki Higashida, who used an alphabet grid to construct words and sentences. The book was translated into English by David Mitchell and his wife KA Yoshida. David Mitchell and his wife are the parents of an autistic child themselves. In their search for finding books to help them understand their son’s behavior they came upon “Reason I Jump” which KA Yoshida ordered from Japan. Noaki answers questions people ask about his behavior and that of other autistic children. His answer for why he jumps is: “When I jump it’s as if my feelings go upward to the sky.” In the introduction Mr. Mitchell helps the reader to understand how an autistic person views the world around him. It can be hard for an autistic person to know what to concentrate on because, “Your mind is a room where twenty radios all tuned to different stations are blaring music and voices.” You can imagine how hard it would be to navigate in a world like that. Some on the questions that Naoki answers are “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?.” “Why do you ignore us when we’re talking to you?,” and “Why do you answer the same questions over and over?” It’s a fascinating look at how people with autism see the world around them and why they tend to enjoy certain behaviors such as jumping or shaking their hands. There are a couple of families at my church who have children with autism, and I have wanted to ask some of those question myself.  It’s an enlightening look at how autism effects people’s lives and they behave as they do. I highly recommend it.