When it comes to understanding about a learning disability, we are able to find many essays, papers, books or blogs written by experts who will talk about the nature of the disability, the associated behaviours and the best methods of support. What is rare, however, are published accounts by the individuals themselves.
It stands to reason that we could get an even greater understanding of a disability by reading about the thoughts, frustrations, opinions and feelings of the person who has the disability.
July sees the UK release of the book ‘The Reason I Jump’ which was written by a 13 year old Japanese boy who has autism. Naoki Higashida wrote the book when he had just started high school, and now 3 years later the text has been translated with the help of revered author David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) whose own son has autism.
It was released on July 4th in both hard copy and e-book format.
Click on the image to the right to watch the Radio 4 excerpt from the book, which includes an introduction from David Mitchell explaining his great appreciation of the text.
The book is hotly tipped to become a bestseller and deservedly so. If you pick up a copy why not send your review, or your own thoughts about coping with autism to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When asked why he was so interested in bringing this book to the UK and wider audiences in general, David Mitchell said:
“Composed by a writer still with one foot in childhood, and whose autism was at least as challenging and life-defining as our son's, THE REASON I JUMP was a revelatory godsend. Reading it felt as if, for the first time, our own son was talking to us about what was happening inside his head.”
This quote perfectly encapsulates the main reason to take an interest and read this text. We are rarely afforded the opportunity to get such a fantastic insight into someone’s personal thoughts. Because of this the book transcends its own subject matter and becomes something more; an examination of the human condition in general.
On more than one occasion the book turns the mirror on us as an audience, and in doing so demands that we question our own behaviours and beliefs.
What is most compelling is the writing style. For someone so young, irrespective of having a learning disability, to have written a long-form text that is approachable by any audience; delivering its messages with total clarity is highly impressive.
The press reviews thus far have been unanimous in praise for the book. The collective opinion is that being able to understand life from the perspective of an individual with autism is eye opening to say the least. The fact that Naoki is so candid about his the behaviours he can’t control; that he knows inside even when they are happening that he doesn’t want to be doing them, and yet cannot fight them no matter how hard he tries, will come as a revelation to many – especially those who do not work in the social care sector.
Click through to the next level to watch a video excerpt from the book, taken from a Radio 4 piece with words from David Mitchell.