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Review: The Reason I Jump

Title:  The Reason I Jumpbook-the-reason-i-jump-ftr

Author:  Naoki Higashida

Publisher:  Random House LLC, August 2013

“According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention, one in 250 births result in autism, meaning that about 1.5 million Americans have some form of the disorder. The Department Of Education suggests that number is climbing, and that in the next decade or so, there could be over 4 million cases in the United States alone.” -Tammy Ruggles in A Brief Overview of Autism 

Autism is often seen as a mysterious disorder with unknown origins. Although the precise cause of autism is unknown, it is believed to be caused by abnormal brain structure or function.  Arguably, autism is disorder which can only be understood in its entirety by those who experience it. For many individuals who have the most profound manifestation of the disorder, however, communication can be a struggle. Individuals with autism have described situations in which it can be painful to have limited control of their body, to not have the “right words” for the situation, or for some to have no words at all.  Communicating all of the details of that which they experience everyday as a part of normative life can extremely challenging.

In The Reason I Jump, thirteen year old Naoki Higashida writes answers to some of the many questions people without autism have about the disorder and those who live with it.  Hisashida, who has a pronounced manifestation of the disorder, has limited verbal communication skills.  He communicates through written word both on the computer or by pointing to letters on a chart, spelling out words, which are written down by a transcriber. The words that Higashida uses to describe his world are candid, direct, and above all, honest. The book ends with a truly moving short story, written by the thirteen year old boy, which pulled at my heart-strings and brought me to tears. The Reason I Jump proves, as author David Mitchell who wrote the book’s introduction pointed out, that empathy and compassion are absolutely felt by those with even extreme forms of autism, despite popular belief.

The Reason I Jump is an eye-opening narrative which has challenged the way I view autism and those who live with autism. A New York Times Bestseller which can be found at bookstores around the world, this book will change the way the world sees individuals with disabilities. I strongly recommend The Reason I Jump for all readers aged 10 and up.

I would like to extend a very special thank you to my friend, Kiva, for gifting this book to me and reigniting the blogger in me.

Posted by: Janine Reads

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