The Reason I Jump is one of the most compelling books I’ve come across as a special needs parent. It was written by Naoki Higashida, a 13 year old boy with autism. He is unable to speak his thoughts, so he uses an alphabet grid to slowly but thoroughly answer questions a lot of us are curious about when it comes to understanding the autistic mind.
My 8 year old daughter Arizona is verbal and has learned to express herself with words, but I can still be left in the dark about what causes her to behave certain ways, react so strongly (or not at all) to things and say the things she does sometimes.
Reading Naoki’s answers to various questions, “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” “Why are your facial expressions so limited?” and “Would you like to be ‘normal’?” gave me a deeper insight into Arizona’s mind. In fact, it made me have so much more compassion and patience with her. She works so hard to fit into this world and be understood by the people around her.
As a special needs parent, I know that I am a work in progress. I am committed to understanding my child’s changing needs and appreciate the beautiful and creative ways in which she sees the world.
What are some of the questions you’d like to get answers for, from your child? How do you think it might change the way you interact and support them?
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