Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Reason I Jump: An Inside Look at Autism

Josh and I recently heard about, and immediately purchased, the book The Reason I Jump. It was written by Naoki Higashida, a nonverbal autistic boy, when he was 13 years old. It is largely in the format of a Q&A with his mother, and his answers are fascinating, encouraging, and convicting. He clearly reveals that there is so much more going on in the minds of nonverbal kids than they are able to let on. This book has significantly changed the way I relate to Jude, and I couldn't be more thankful to have found it. I think it goes without saying that I would recommend it to anyone who loves someone with autism, especially if they are nonverbal!

Jude has been learning how to write, draw, use scissors, and more!

Last month I shared on facebook this quote from the book, which really moved me:
"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'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."

And today Josh read me a quote that jumped out at us just as much, especially in light of our recent realization that home is the best place for Jude to learn:
"Whatever else is going on, I’m always hungry to learn about lots of different things. It really gets me down that people just don’t understand how hungry for knowledge people with autism actually are…. I want to grow up learning a million things! There must be countless other people with autism who have the same desire, the same attitude. But our problem is, we aren’t capable of studying all by ourselves. To be able to study like other people, we need more time and different strategies and approaches. And those people who help us study, they actually need more patience than we do. They need to understand our eagerness to learn, even though from the outside we may not appear to be keen students. But we are. We, too, want to grow."

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