The Reason I Jump

So I’m currently reading The Reason I Jump, a book written several years ago by a thirteen year old boy named Naoki Higashida about what it’s like to be autistic.  I’ve always assumed that people whose autism is as serious as Naoki’s are so involved in their own world that they’re not at all interested in other people.

Here is his answer to the question, “do you prefer to be on your own?”

‘Ah, don’t worry about him – he’d rather be on his own.’

How many times have we heard this? I can’t believe that anyone born as a human being really wants to be left all on their own, not really. No, for people with autism, what we’re anxious about is that we’re causing trouble for the rest of you, or even getting on your nerves. This is why it is hard for us to stay around other people. This is why we often end up being left on our own.

The truth is, we’d love to be around other people. But because things never, ever go right, we end up getting used to being alone, without even noticing this is happening. Whenever I overhear how much I prefer being on my own, it makes me feel desperately lonely. It’s as if they’re deliberately giving me the cold-shoulder treatment.

As far as I can tell there haven’t been any reports that this book is a fraud or a forgery. I sincerely hope these are really Naoki’s words because he has such an interesting point of view, but I will admit to being skeptical at a few different places in the book as to whether or not the opinions of the people around him bled into his work.

I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, though, and I do recommend checking this book out. It’s quite thought-provoking.


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