I’ve just finished reading a non-fiction book called ‘The Reason I Jump’ by a young, teenage, Japanese author, Naoki Higashida, who is autistic. As far as my understanding goes, the book was written when the author was thirteen years old. The book is about the author’s life with autism.
Those of you who don’t know or understand autism, here’s a brief explanation. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. Those with autism will usually find it hard to communicate and relate with others. It can also affect how they see the world. They can be sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, colours and lights. Autism itself is broad. Each autistic individual is different. Some severe, some not. Some can grow up and live independently, whereas some would need long-term caring support.
I have an almost-six-year-old boy with autism, and having read the book really gave me a much better understanding of my son’s certain behaviours. Not that I don’t understand about autism. I do. What I mean by understanding my son’s behaviour is, for instance, after reading the book, I have a better understanding as to why sometimes he would flap his hands repeatedly, especially when he’s out in the sun, or when he repeats what I’m saying, or showing lack of emotional expressions and not speak. Naoki would explain the real reasons behind many of the different and awkward behaviours, expressions, and emotions by those with autism. I could totally relate to the book. It was as if Naoki was writing about my son. It changed the way I look at autism. It also changed the way I look at life and the way I am living it, because like Naoki mentioned, those with autism tends to see the real beauty of the world. They see the beauty of life and living, something many of us don’t see or take notice. There were some parts in the book that made me sad and almost cried, like the part where those with autism always feel isolated, and that they are usually referred to as ‘retards’ and not ‘normal’ people. Never once in my life did I think of my son as a retard. Naoki even mentioned a few times in the book about encouraging us not to give up on those with autism. Instead, he wants us to be patient and understanding. He even wants us to know that majority of those with autism understands people and the world around them, even though it might not seem like it. When I first found out that my son was autistic at the age of three, I was scared. But at the same time, I was willing to fight for him. And with the many help, advise, and support from doctors, playgroups, and parents and friends with autistic children, I managed to pull through and learn/understand about autism one day at a time. Today, I couldn’t be a prouder mother to an autistic child.
Naoki really proves that it doesn’t matter if you are autistic or have a disability or not. No one is not ‘normal’. We are humans. We are all the same. We shouldn’t judge an individual just because he/she might behave differently from others. Look at Naoki. He is an author, and ‘The Reason I Jump’ is a No1 Best Seller. And don’t forget, he’s autistic.