A couple of days ago, I came across a book, The Reason I Jump. I’m pretty confident I had seen or heard the title before, yet I had no idea of its subject matter. This book is an autobiography of sorts written by a thirteen old boy with autism.
I found the book as I was searching for something else on Amazon. I don’t believe my finding this book was an “accident.” I believe God provided an answer to a prayer uttered so long ago I had honestly forgotten about it until I began to read.
The young author’s direct question and answer approach to what is going inside his mind is quite enlightening. I certainly don’t think this one person’s opinions and experiences is a one size fits all explanation, yet this book does provide me with a glimpse of what may be going on inside my child’s mind.
As parents, we are often concerned with changing a behavior instead of contemplating the cause for the behavior, especially when it is something relatively minor. This book actually explains some of those behaviors associated with ASD and entertainingly so at that!
This book is short and to the point, but it is by far the most insightful hour I’ve spent reading in a while. The author shows more wisdom than most adults through his writings. He expresses those things that are both annoying and helpful to him. He uses his “voice” as a platform for those who cannot express their own feelings so that we caregivers can better relate and not just accommodate. The author does a wonderful job of bridging what appears on the surface to what is actually occurring inside his mind.
Hearing about the autism experience from a viewpoint so close in age to my own child left me profoundly grateful. It also showed me my shortcomings as a parent.
I have done a fair job with Lan as we have plodded along this journey, but I now see I have at times treated our experiences as a “job” having to meet a certain end, goals or output. I have not focused enough on what my child feels, thinks or cares about in certain matters. In my diligence to “correct” behavior I didn’t consider that those quirky habits might actually be comforting. Sometimes caregivers are so focused on giving care and getting necessities “done” that we fail to really see the people we are caring for in their entirety.
Our loved one’s hopes, ideas and feelings can get swallowed up by our practical demands and daily routines. Reading this book has allowed me to see my son in a different light and ask Lan more pointed questions which have delivered broader and more detailed responses.
The Reason I Jump is surely only one person’s view yet I suspect a lot of truths in it that apply to so many others. It wasn’t at all what I expected. It’s simple but powerful stories give the reader empathy and a different viewpoint that is not only insightful but inspiring.
If you haven’t read this book I urge you to do so. If you’re reading this blog, odds are high
The Reason I Jump, will be very helpful to you. If you have already read the book I encourage you to share your thoughts.
Now, I may finally know why MY child jumps.
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida published by Random House 2013