The Reason I Jump — by Naoki Higashida

Title: The Reason I Jump
Naoki Higashida

When I’m jumping it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky. Really, my urge to be swallowed up by the sky is enough to make my heart quiver. When I’m jumping, I can feel my body parts really well, too – my bounding legs and my clapping hands – and that makes me feel so, so good.-Naoki Higashida

This book was written by a 13-year-old Japanese kid who has autism. Naoki learnt to express himself through writing because verbal was quite hard for him.

In the book he tries to explain and answer some of the questions adults have always asked him, such as; why do you not look at us when we talk to you? Would you rather be alone than surrounded by your classmates? Why do you repeat certain words after they are being said to you? And more. He also writes little stories and poems which surprise us because of how deep they are.

Naoki in “The Reason I Jump” gives us a new perspective on autism and how to support kids who cannot express what they truly need because of this disorder. In this book review, I will share my main key points and reflections from this masterpiece. Let’s begin.

What is Autism?

“Normal people think we’re highly dependent and can’t live without ongoing support, but in fact there are times when we’re stoic heroes.” -Naoki Higashida

First of all, we need to know what autism is. The National Institute of Mental Health (2024) defines it as the following:

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is described as a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first 2 years of life.”

As we can see, this can affect a diverse range of factors in an individual and each case can be vastly different from each other. In the book, we can read how this can be seen as a superpower, instead of a “disease” or something negative.

Naoki gives his point of view on how he can connect and appreciate things like nature deeper than people without autism can and how, if there was a cure, he would not take it.

About the Book and its Mission

“Everybody has a heart that can be touched by something. -Naoki Higashida

The book was translated by an Irish family who also has a kid with autism and who needed more help to learn how to help and support their son.

While doing this, they realised there was not much information available, plus the books about autism have been written by people who do not have autism or by people with autism who are already adults, so some of the advice might not be helpful.

Because of this, they started learning and investigating more and more, so they could help other families in the same situation.

They also realised that Naoki’s story and advice were what they needed, so they promoted the book and his knowledge to other families to support their kids.

What Can We Do?

True compassion is about not bruising the other person’s self-respect.-Naoki Higashida

Like Naoki says over and over again; do not give up on us.

It can be hard, it can be confusing, it can be repetitive, it can be tiring, and they are fully aware of this, that is why kids with autism sometimes choose to isolate themselves so they do not “annoy” others…Something we must change immediately.

If we truly want to create a better and more inclusive world, then we all should be learning from Naoki and other heroes. We should all show more empathy, we all should help and support each other, and we should not ever give up.

I encourage you to learn more about this fantastic book “The Reason I Jump” and to get involved in helping people dealing with this superpower (like Naoki said), you just need to show more patience and they will always be super grateful for that.

Agustin Cardone

Agustin Cardone, from Argentina, currently lives in Ireland, and studies psychology in Mexico. He fell in love with sports when he started playing rugby at 14, soon becoming team captain. He now lifts weights and practices boxing as a way to release stress. He is highly interested in the relationship between body and mind, and is curious about how the brain works and why people do what they do. He would like to help people with addiction, depression, and personality disorders. He believes we all have a story to tell and that we should express it.

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