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118 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first real insight into autistic young people
This book is just brilliant. I have two teenage children both with very complex autism, a daughter and a son. Over the years I have attempted to read some books - whether by 'experts' or other parents - on autism. The 'experts' books I have found not helpful as autism affects each person so uniquely and what the 'experts' say is often cold and difficult to personalise...
Published 20 months ago by poppyfairy

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Live Up to Expectations
I have read several books on autism and autism spectrum disorders, from the bare clinical facts to the deeply moving family biographies. This book was reviewed as being different from all of those as it was written by an autistic Japanese lad. This was, apparently, the first book written by someone with autism who explains what it is like and why people with autism behave...
Published 6 months ago by DJF


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118 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first real insight into autistic young people, 26 July 2013
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This book is just brilliant. I have two teenage children both with very complex autism, a daughter and a son. Over the years I have attempted to read some books - whether by 'experts' or other parents - on autism. The 'experts' books I have found not helpful as autism affects each person so uniquely and what the 'experts' say is often cold and difficult to personalise. I have found other parents books often quite depressing and have not managed to get passed the first few chapters. My experience with my children is my own journey - but my children are just the most amazing, courageous, beautiful people, and I kind of get tired seeing/reading negative things. These young people cope with so much, and this book by this young man is the first real honest insight into the thoughts and processes of autistic young people.

Sometimes there aren't any answers to the questions that are posed, but that in itself is an insight. I feel I know my children so well, but there are things written which my children wouldn't be able to explain to me, but are totally applicable to them. I read some of the questions/answers to my son; he kept jumping up and down saying 'That's how it is. That's how I feel.' At one point he was moved to tears and just said 'Oh wow'. My son would never have been able to tell me those things himself but to hear it voiced by another young man, who has a similar life journey to my son, helped him tremendously. So I would say this book is not only invaluable to parents and carers, teachers and support staff. But mostly, I would say it is for other young autistic people themselves, it gives them an opportunity to explain to you what's applicable, what's the same, and opens up discussion on how things are for them. It brings the young person comfort to know that they aren't the only person feeling this way - especially as another young person has written it down. As I write this my daughter has just started to read the book and I'm sure she will draw huge comfort from it also.

I cannot praise this book highly enough. It answers so many questions, some of which you may already know the answers, but also run deeper than that. My son is a rocker/flapper, echolaic, spins, food issues, very loud voice etc. And the explanation this young man gave to these questions opened up a new understanding, respect and appreciation. Yes I knew that for instance rocking and flapping is a sensory issue - but the way it is explained is a completely different level.

Sorry for waffling on - but I cannot recommend this highly enough. The forward is written perfectly - explaining autism simply, to the point, and in a way which really hits home just how hard life is for our youngsters due to their inner turmoils. As much as their brings some heartache there is also a lot of hope, and that is what I hold on to for my two.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A window into my sons mind, 11 Jan. 2014
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I pre-ordered this book after searching for realistic books to try and understand my son's mind who has aspergers. While some of the chapters didn't relate to my son some did and did help me to really understand him but to give me a reason why he does and say what he does. Some days are so hard and you think he is deliberately doing what he does but this book shined a light on some of his most frustrating habits. No two children with aspergers are alike. My son at times cannot put words together to say what he means but have given him the book to read (he is 11).

He was able to tell me at parts of the books that "mum that's how I feel when I do that and couldn't explain in words to you why"

That comment alone was worth a huge amount to me as he is so frustrated at times trying to explain himself. I understand the book is a translation from another language but in its own way it has helped me translate to me my sons feelings in a way I can understand and that to me is worth 5 stars any day
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Live Up to Expectations, 9 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism (Paperback)
I have read several books on autism and autism spectrum disorders, from the bare clinical facts to the deeply moving family biographies. This book was reviewed as being different from all of those as it was written by an autistic Japanese lad. This was, apparently, the first book written by someone with autism who explains what it is like and why people with autism behave as they do. I would dispute this latter fact as I am a big fan of Luke Jackson's book "Freaks, Geeks & Asperger's Syndrome" which provides an insiders viewpoint on living with high fuctioning autism.
Unfortunately this book did not live up to the hype. It is written in the form of questions and answers - such as "Why do Autistic people not like certain foods", "Why do you flap your hands when agitated?". Unfortunately, the wording of both the questions and answers irritated me. On the one hand there is the introduction written by David Mitchell complaining how people on the autistic spectrum are bundled together and have different behaviour patterns. On the other hand, the author is replying that we autistic people flap our hands because....... How do you know exactly what other people on the autistic spectrum feel any more than we do? Maybe this was a problem in the interpretation (originally written in Japanese) but it got my back up in the first few pages!
There were two main problems with the replies from this young lad. One was that they were often difficult to understand and rather woolly. I know that this is because the person writing them is struggling to express himself in the words of the "normal" world but I still found them rather difficult. The other was that much of what he said was very similar to other literature on the autism spectrum. Yes, it is good to have this confirmed by someone with autism but it wasn't the incredible insight that I was expecting from the blurb, introductions and reviews.
Am I judging this book too harshly? Quite possibly. The problem is that I read a lot of reviews and articles about this book before picking it up which led me to expect certain insights and "wow" moments which just weren't there in the book.
There were a couple of real gems in this book, particularly when the author is talking about the storage and retrieval of memories. This was an insight and made the book worth reading for me. Unfortunately this was a couple of short paragraphs and possibly raised more questions than it answered!
I personally feel that this was a classic case of the hype spoilling the book. It didn't live up to my expectations and I didn't particularly enjoy it or get very much from it. I think the fault lies more with the publicity than with the author. Who knows what I would have felt about this book had I approached it totally fresh with no expectations.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 29 July 2013
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This book is a revelation. i have a autistic son, and work with autistic kids. This book confirms what I'd always believed-and hoped-to be true, that there is so much going on in the heads and hearts of autistic people. They are, as David Mitchell says, superheroes. Every single day.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing boy Naoki Higashida is., 28 July 2013
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Considering that this lad has few verbal skills, he communicates through the written word in a powerful way. We need people like him to remind us that EVERYONE deserves to be respected and listened to, no matter how limited their communications skills are. How amazing to write this whole book with an alphabet board - and a big thank you to his transcribers and translators.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sceptical, 27 April 2014
By 
Jood (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism (Paperback)
Hmmmm - a strange one, this - apparently written by a thirteen-year old autistic boy - but was it all his own work?

Written in question and answer format it's nonetheless quite an interesting read because it does make the reader (this one anyway) think more about the inner workings of a child who is verbally non-communicative. I have known two mothers with autistic children, albeit much younger than the author of this book, and I couldn't begin to understand how they perceive the world around them. Having said that I can't help thinking that this 13-year old boy, autistic or not, is mature way beyond his years - but who am I to dispute that? One thing that did irk me though, is his presumption to know how other autistic children experience the world around them; I did find that strange, given that he himself states that all children with this condition are different. Also, he doesn't seem to acknowledge that autism is a "spectrum" disorder, meaning there are different levels affecting children in different ways.

It's a difficult book to review without offending people who are personally affected by this disorder, but I have to say I read it with a certain amount of scepticism, mainly because of who the child's father is - could this have been, in some small, way helped along? Would I recommend it to the parent(s) of an autistic child? Probably, as long as they accept - and I'm sure they would, that not every autistic child will think the way this one does. Unfortunately I think this book may give false hope to parents of children with this disorder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The work of a highly-imaginative novelist, but not, perhaps, of a 13-year-old autistic boy., 18 Feb. 2015
By 
Marius Gabriel "Author" (London) - See all my reviews
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I find myself very torn in reviewing this book. Autism is a subject close to my heart, and anything which helps to elucidate the thinking of autistic children is to be welcomed with open arms. But what if this book is no more than well-intentioned wishful thinking?

That is the question which haunts the reader from the very first words of "The Reason I Jump." Supposedly written by a nonverbal, 13-year-old autistic Japanese boy, the book has been translated, restranslated, edited, and finally turned into a collection of short essays by David Mitchell, who happens to be one of the authors I most admire. He is a highly-imaginative, brilliant writer who specializes in science fiction and fantasy (Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks). He is a Japanese speaker and also the parent of an autistic child, and so has a special interest in the subject.

The book is based on the premise that, despite being unable to speak or write, imprisoned inside 13-year-old Naoki Higashida is an astonishingly articulate person, able to explain his own disabilities and -- what's more -- acutely understand the difficulty non-autistic people have in relating to his behaviour (such as obsessive jumping). In other words, the "real" Naoki Higashida is locked in a kind of shell which keeps him prisoner, rather like those stroke sufferers with Locked-In Syndrome, who are able to write poetry and books using the few, tiny movements that they are left with.

This Naoki-Within expresses himself in language far more sophisticated and in metaphors far more subtle than most 13-year-olds are capable of. That has aroused some skepticism among readers and professionals. How much of Naoki-Within is real? How much has been added by the various authors -- three at least -- who have handled the original manuscript? Was there ever an original manuscript? Or is this entire book a kind of speculation, based not only on what Naoki himself might have said, but also on the observations made by adults around him, coloured with their own interpretations, hopes and longings?

I wish I could believe that this isn't the case, but I think autism is a far more serious and complex problem than this little book would have us believe; and unfortunately, the book presents no persuasive evidence of the authenticity of the writings in it. It reads to me like adult fiction, not like the expressions of an autistic child. It may indeed be valuable, and offer insights; but one wishes that it had not been presented as the authentic voice of a severely autistic boy.

Does the book do a service to those involved with autism? It's hard to say, and I hate to cast doubts on the hope and enlightenment which "Why I Jump" may shed. Certainly,some parents of autistic children have praised it, and some autistic readers have identified with it. Read it yourself and make up your own mind. But I do feel that there are some more valuable and relevant books about autism available, such as Temple Grandin's "The Autistic Brain" and "Thinking in Pictures," Augusten Burroughs' "Running With Scissors" and John Elder Robison's "Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's." I believe those books offer more enlightenment -- and ultimately, hope -- than "The Reason I Jump."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening stuff, 14 Jun. 2014
The spectre of autism is one that affects both the individual and those around them. Whilst current research is making great strides in understanding the brain in both autistic and normal people, not so much has been understood about the how and why their behaviour is as it is.

As he has some difficulty providing verbal answers, his mother devised an alphabet grid where he spells out the words. This meant that he could start to communicate at his own pace and not be stressed trying to find the right word for an immediate reply. Higashida sets about answering a series of questions that have been posed about his feelings and behaviour and his perspective on the world. He does his very best to explain just how he feels in certain situations, the times when it is best to help him, and the times when he needs to be left to conclude his anguish alone. His compassion and empathy for others come across in his answers, but there are aspects of his autism that he cannot explain or understand, such as the way he reacts to sounds, that he just knows it is like that. What also comes across is his deep connection to all things natural, from wanting to fly like a bird, or just immerse himself in the landscape.

The introduction and translation by David Mitchell and his wife, KA Yoshida is sensitively done, and there are beautiful black and white artworks by Kay & Sunny throughout the book.

Whilst this is not a book that will illuminate everything that you need to know about autism, it does go some way into shining a light into the darker corners.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and emotional story about the world of autism wonderfully narrated by an autistic child, 5 Jan. 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
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"The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism" written by Naoki Higishida who was thirteen then is an extraordinary book that from the first hand explains the perplexing behavior of autistic children.

Author manages to show us how the autistic child thinks and feels, how she/he sees world and people around, what these children think about themselves, about passing of time and beauty in general. We will realize how much imagination, empathy and humor these small people have in same time showing how much they need us, our warmth, closeness, patience and understanding.

I know some parents who have autistic children and I always I've always admired their courage and selfless love that is obvious at a glance. With this book I was able to enter that world and to learn lot about social life of children with autism. And what is most important anyone who will read this book will stop thinking about autism through a series of prejudices that are typically associated with it, like children not like to be touched or want to be left alone.

This book is must read to everyone, especially for parents who have recently learned that their child has autism and is very afraid of that. A few books succeed in such an impressive way to break the stereotypes of one disease. After its reading you will understand as much as I did how actually autistic children are warm, smart and sensitive, and how much of the same characteristics they want and need from us.

Absolutely recommended.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and Funny, 5 July 2013
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A real insight into the mind of an autistic person. Beautifully written and a pleasure to read. You can take each section on its own but I read the whole thing straight through. His final story is incredibly touching. A book everyone who knows a person with autism should read.
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The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism
The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida (Paperback - 24 April 2014)
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