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on 26 July 2013
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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on 11 January 2014
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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on 5 July 2013
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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on 29 July 2013
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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on 17 March 2016
This is a great book to be written by someone of any age and the fact that it is written by a 13 year old is amazing. The book reads like a FAQ of questions that anybody especially a parent of children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome have asked/shouted at their children about why they keep doing certain things. I bought this book after a particularly heated argument with my 8 year old. this book did help at the very least it told me that many of the things I questions e.g. "Why do you keep doing the same thing after I have told you a million times not to?". Yes all kids do this but is Autistic and AS children seem to take it ton another level. In between questions we are threated to a couple of short stories written by Naoki. these are great and remember the boy was only 13 when he wrote this book. It shows that creative writing is definitely Naoki's outlet and wrenches at my heart that such a creative and intelligent boy has so much problem communicating verbally or in person.

Two thing to remember about this book. Everyone with Autism or AS is different, but they do share many traits, so as insightful as Naoki's views are for himself might now apply to all children/people. However it does offer a first hand perspective which is otherwise unheard of. the other is the message/theme that Naoki is trying to get across. "DON'T GIVE UP ON US". Yes they might keep doing the same thing when they are told not to, but you still have to keep telling them not to till maybe on the ten million and one time it might get through to the child then they know it for life. As Naoki points out they might not look like it but they are learning slowly but surely they are. This book is a great insight into a great and creative mind that has been trapped inside a body with fewer outlets then are available to the rest of us, however with patience and understand many other children could be allowed to find their own outlet and unleash their ideas on the world.
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on 3 July 2013
Wonderful book, helps me to understand why my son seems to suffer so much, and why he might need his alone time.
Also helps to remind us how amazing it is out there.
Should be given to every family as soon as Autism is mentioned for the first time.
Very easy to read, made me smile, and cry, and think.
Naoki should be at the front of everyone's mind when they are looking for answers, maybe in time his name will spring to mind in the same way Temple Grandin does now.
But this is not just a collection of faqs on Autism, the poetry and short stories included are beautiful in themselves.
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on 4 July 2013
This book gives a detailed insight of an autistic child's view on life and the challenges they face every second of every day. It also answers lots of questions that i have often asked my son.I cried and I laughed reading it as I could relate to so much as i have an autistic son on the same age as the author. EVERYONE should read this ( not just parents of children with Autism) It will make people realise how special each human being is in their own right....
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 February 2015
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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on 28 July 2013
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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on 5 August 2013
After reading reviews for this book I was really hoping for some golden nuggets of insight into what might be going on in my own son's head. I do appreciate this is written by a 13 year old with profound difficulties but it left me wondering what I'd missed to have earned it all the wonderful reviews. My 17yr old is at the severe end of the spectrum with challenging behaviour and I'd already worked out that some of his outbursts have no rhyme or reason, he simply can't help it. Also, for the spinning, jumping, lining up etc. it's always been very clear (to me anyway) that these activities are needed to maintain a sense of balance in the individual who hasn't otherwise been able to engage in "typical" behaviours. So, I would only tend to recommend this book to families of newly diagnosed children or to those who haven't had much contact with people on the spectrum. I would also like to echo a previous reviewer who said that if you've met one person with autism then you've met one person with autism.
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