When my voice student suggested that I read “The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism,” I immediately wrote down the title and put it on my calendar for this October review. I am thrilled to share with you that this book moved my heart as it drew me into the world of a young Japanese neurodivergent teenager and offered me insight into what I had hoped to discover one day. I wanted to understand why my Robert behaved the way he did in certain situations, why he loved repetitive motions, what made him love the same "friends" on television day after day, and why he loved to jump. This book gave me some crucial insight!
Our son, Robert, could not express himself to us in ways we could always easily understand because of his nonverbal autism, so naturally there were many years that we wondered what he thought or why he was doing some things. After I finished the audiobook, my voice student and I discussed that it was like Robert was speaking to me through this 13-year-old boy.
I have often commented that Robert's autism fell way down on his list of "differences," and it was often overlooked because the most pressing caregiving always centered around his multitude of daily seizures. Robert's autism was not ignored, but it didn't require critical medical intervention like those complexities numbered much higher on his list, such as seizure control, muscle atrophy and adequate oxygen levels.
This book gave me the gift of daydreaming about Robert expressing himself to us in ways similar to this young boy. It opened my eyes to the very questions and answers I needed to fully embrace his life. I am very grateful that it was recommended to me and that I took the time to listen to all of Naoki Higashida's words.
Thank you, Suzanne, for teaching me new things!
Listening Library: We’ll Get By (The Autism Song) (Johnny Orr Band)
“May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:22 NIV)
We’ll Get By
Maybe I don't speak too well, but I'm coming outta my shell And I like playing by myself if you can't tell I like to go to school, yeah I'm a miracle, and I'm glad to be alive If you'll wait patiently, well then eventually I will understand the words that you're saying to me My autism, is like a prison, that I'm in I share my heart but only in my mind I share my pain when I scream at night I can't express to you, what I'm going through The only way is for me to cry Mom I see your fear, through every single tear Just to know I've caused you pain from inside of here My autism is like a prison, that I'm in I sharе your joy but only in my mind You show me love but just not in my time Causе my reality, takes everything in me To make it through without a fight I know you love me, when you hug me And when I hear you pray to God for Him to heal me Maybe one day, you won't have to pray And I won't have to see you cry
(Reprise) Maybe one day, I won't be this way Until then we'll get by