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I’ve been told time and time again, that because I’m not autistic I will never truly understand what Apollo goes through, understand Apollo’s thought process, understand how autism truly affects him… yet, I constantly seek to learn anything and everything that I can about autism anyway.
I seek to learn ALL-OF-THE-THINGS — at least, to the best of my ability.
For those new to our story, our son Apollo, is on the autism spectrum, and is not quite verbal. I say not quite, because while he has a lot of familiar words and phrases, and engages in echolalia (parroting), he doesn’t have quite functional language skills. One of the challenges that we face on a daily basis is the communication barrier between us. While Apollo tries really hard to communicate his wants/needs in a way that we understand, he’s not always able to do so. The communication barrier often leaves me guessing on what he wants/needs at any given point.
For the last couple of years, I’ve found some comfort in reading about other people’s autism stories, experiences, and autism books. It is through these shared stories and experiences that I’ve desperately sought to find something that I can relate to, something that I believe is relative to my son, Apollo. Unfortunately, I haven’t found many autism books that were my cup-of-tea; while most were an interesting read, said books often portrayed autism as a one-size-fits-all, and I believe autism to be more of a complex spectrum.
I did the adult thing and agreed to disagree.
Now, before I give my honest opinions on the book displayed below, let me say that I’m super picky on the books that I share with others and hold exceptionally high expectations when it comes to books on autism. So.. here goes!
“The Reason I Jump”, by Naoki Higashida was M I N D B L O W I N G for me. Holy crap, it gave me goosebumps reading it — but in a good way. Naoki is autistic and was 13 years old when he wrote this book. According to the book’s blurb, Naoki “demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine” (Mitchell, 2013).
I can say confidently that this is the FIRST autism book that I’ve read that gave me one epiphany after another. As I read through the book, I found my mind flooded with previous experiences and memories of autism challenges that left me puzzled. All of the sudden those puzzling challenges made more sense to me. For the first time, ever, I felt like I had a better understanding of Apollo’s behaviors, actions, thought process, etc.
This book was so moving to me that I purchased multiple copies of it and gave a copy to both his Teacher and Paraprofessional to keep. It’s not like me to purchase books for others and insist that they read it — but I have no shame admitting that I did so with this book.
If you know someone on the autism spectrum or wish to learn more about autism from an autistic individual, then I highly recommend this book.
You can purchase “The Reason I Jump” on Amazon here, OR you can borrow it from the library for FREE-99, too!
If you have read the book, or decide to read the book be sure to comment back and let me know what you think!