The Reason I Jump

  • by Naoki Higashida
  • Narrated by Tom Picasso
  • 2 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

You've never listened to a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within. Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: "Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?" "Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?" "Why don't you make eye contact when you're talking?" and "What's the reason you jump?" (Naoki's answer: "When I'm jumping, it's as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.")
With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights - into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory - are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Insightful but left me skeptical

I work in the field of augmentative communication and with a lot of children with ASD and have been aware of this book.. and the controversy surrounding it... for quite some time. For those unaware, the augmentative communication style used by Mr. Higashida is considered very subject to interpreter suggestion, and therefore, there has been some concern that the words are not entirely the author's.

As someone who considers herself very knowledgeable about children with ASD I absolutely agreed with many of Mr. Higashida's observations/insights... almost too much so. I found myself thinking, "yeah, that's how I would guess my patients are feeling"-- which made me question if I am either the most insightful person on the planet or if some of the controversial "co-constructors" and translators were perhaps stepping on the author's toes a bit. That being said, there were some portions that I found very surprising and informative (e.g., Mr. Higashida's dislike of visual schedules), but also some where I, unfortunately, found myself questioning the authenticity.

Mr. Picasso's narration neither enhanced nor detracted from the text.

Overall, it was an interesting read for someone new to the field of autism who is trying to get a handle on the sensory components; however, if you are looking for a first-hand view of living with ASD, I found "Born on Blue Day" and "Look Me in the Eyes" to be more enjoyable and insightful.
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- JoAnn

Cracking the code

As a neuroscience nurse with an autistic grandson, I appreciate the insights revealed by young Naoki Higashida. It is most affirming to recognize that within the limitations of verbal and emotional expression, there is intelligence, humor and creativity trying to assert itself. What I found most heartbreaking is the realization that these children feel the burden of their families’ sorrow, frustration, and disappointment, imposing a daunting sense of responsibility to keep the family happy. (Research has shown that this is a common phenomenon among children with any chronic or terminal diagnosis, but I had not thought of it in this context).

While there must be a caveat that the experiences of Naoki may not have universal applicability for those on the spectrum, the revelations of the internal struggles to control emotions and behavior do suggest approaches that families can employ to understand and develop the abilities hidden inside their autistic loved ones. In this respect it is different from books written by those discussing the autistic experience from the caregiver’s POV. What I would love to see now is an update now that Naoki is a young adult, because one of the mysteries we would love to solve is how normal growth and development stages (such as adolescence with all of its hormonal upheavals wreaking havoc with emotional control) affect the behavior and expression of the autistic person as they mature. Anything to better prepare our loved one for his own future.
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- Janice

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-10-2013
  • Publisher: Recorded Books