“On our own we simply don’t know how to get things done the same way you do things. But, like everyone else, we want to do the best we can. When we sense you’ve given up on us, it makes us feel miserable. So please keep helping us, through to the end.”
–Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a 13-Year-Old Boy Living With Autism.
Top Five Inspiring Lessons Learned from Naoki’s Writing:
Keep the faith. Maintaining a rock-solid faith in a loved one through the good times and the bad can mean more than all the words in the world.
Embrace the “other”. So much can be gained by digging deeper to learn more about someone who has a different world view or perspective from our own. Whether it be an autistic person, or someone coming from a background drastically different than our own, this little practice just might reveal that we are not so different after all.
Aim to Understand, not dominate. No matter what our individual situation, we all have a deep desire to be understood. In a time when words seem to be weapons, why not bridge the communication gap with the intention to gain understanding, and not simply dominate with words?
Don’t judge. You have no idea what personal battle someone is fighting in their world. Be gentle and allow space to observe the uniqueness of an individual.
Never Underestimate. Be careful when evaluating the intelligence or level of compassion of an individual based on the words that come out (or don’t come out!) of their mouth.
Can you imagine loosing your ability to communicate verbally with words?
This book was an incredibly eye-opening account of the frustration, embarrassment, and ultimate isolation that a person living with autism is often faced with. I was utterly floored at how candid and self-aware non-verbal Naoiki was at the tender age of 13. It is not surprising to learn that he has continued writing and educating about autism, using a Japanese letter board to type words.
My experience with autism is limited, but the topic has come up in conversation often in the past few months. When this book popped up in my “recommended reading” in my Kindle’s Overdrive library app, I didn’t hesitate downloading it. I couldn’t put it down and was deeply moved by the story.
To learn more, check out the New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/25/books/review/the-reason-i-jump-by-naoki-higashida.html
Read. This. Book.