Week 27: Naoki Higashida

dsc_0005-4“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.







3 thoughts on “Week 27: Naoki Higashida

  1. This is really impressive! I haven´t had any personal contact with autism so far (and thinking about it, I ask myself how it comes since there seem to be many affected by it?), but I´ve read a novel once that had a similar effect on me than this book on you, though it´s only fiction and about asperger, it´s called “The curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” by mArk Haddon. If you haven´t read it already, I can really recommend it! 🙂

    1. Thank you! It is a really good question about autism comes about, and I feel like it is becoming more prevalent somehow. Interest and awareness is building around it, that is for certain. I love the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time! Lately I have been getting into book that are written to express a completely different life situation to my own. You can learn so much! I so appreciate your comments, lovely Sarah! Happy Friday to you (or Saturday your time I believe!)

      1. You´re very welcome, Melissa! 🙂 And I share your love for books that depict a different point of view, the Curious Incident… is just one example 🙂 It´s books like these that help us understand each other better and you´re absolutely right: we can learn so much though them! Wish you a magnificent weekend and a fabulous pre-Christmas time, my wonderful friend! Hugs&Kisses! xxxxx

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