As you may know, I am a special education teacher so this book has been on my radar for awhile. One day I decided to check and see if my local library had it and since they did, I checked it out!!
I don’t want us to get off on the wrong foot so I am going to preface this with my true opinion…I really did not care for this book at all. What bothered me the most was that I just did not trust that Yoshida & Mitchell accurately translated this book. It did not have the sound of a thirteen year old. I don’t doubt that Higashida had the ability to write this, I truly believe he did, I just question the translation.
I did like some parts of this book. The following quote is my mantra with my students with disabilities.
Children with autism are also growing and developing every single day, yet we are forever being treated like babies. I guess this is because we seem to act younger than our true age, but whenever anyone treats me as if I’m still a toddler, it really hacks me off. I don’t know whether people think I’ll understand baby-language better, or whether they think I just prefer being spoken to in that way.
I’m not asking you to deliberately use difficult language when you talk to people with autism – just that you treat us as we are, according to our age. Every single time I’m talked down to, I end up feeling utterly miserable – as if I’m being given zero chance of a decent future.
True compassion is about not bruising the other person’s self-respect.
My biggest pet peeve is when people treat my students like babies. I firmly believe they understand me and respect the fact that I talk to them like they’re a typical 20 year old kid. Do they enjoy watching “baby” cartoons/shows? Yes, but that doesn’t mean to talk to them like they’re 3 or 5. I myself enjoy watching sitcoms on the Disney Channel, that’s certainly not age appropriate either, but my friends and family still talk to me like the adult I am in my 30s.
I didn’t like how Higashida made the assumption that EVERYONE with autism is like him. He answered a lot of questions with, “All people with autism…” and I just didn’t like that he assumed everyone else with autism is like him. I appreciate the insight and I am sure many are like him, but I just don’t think that 100% of the people of people with autism are the same. My personal opinion. I also don’t think that anyone should blanket statement a group of people because everyone is different and we can’t speak for anyone else but ourselves. I am of the mantra, “If you’ve met one person with autism, congratulations, you’ve met one person with autism.”
I felt that there was some repetition throughout this book. Overall, I don’t think I would recommend this book to very many people. It was a 3 star read for me, I was very disappointed with it. It just didn’t live up to what I thought it would. Have you read this one? What are your thoughts?
Title: The Reason I Jump
Author: Naoki Higashida (translated by KA Yoshida & David Mitchell)
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: August 27, 2013