Tuesday, January 21, 2014

One Child's Experience of Autism

What is really going on in the mind of an autistic child? Often the autistic child's behavior is puzzling even to the child's parents and can be extremely difficult to handle. The seriously limited ability for an autistic child to communicate makes understanding the child even more challenging.

Naoki Higashida, a 13-year-old Japanese boy with autism, learned to express himself through writing with the help of a computer. His book, The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, provides an amazing window into his world. He answers a variety of questions including "Why do you ask the same questions over and over?" and "What's the reason you jump?"

His answers reveal a great depth of understanding and self-awareness. His brilliance is locked in a body that doesn't respond to his commands the way most people's bodies respond.

Although he’s autistic, some of his answers beautifully apply to all children. When he was asked “Why do you do things you should even when you’ve been told a million times not to?” He responded

“It may look as if we’re being bad out of naughtiness, but honestly, we’re not. When we’re being told off, we feel terrible that yet again we’ve done what we’ve been told not to. But when the chance comes once more, we’ve pretty much forgotten about the last time and we just get carried away yet again. It’s as if something that isn’t us is urging us on.

You must be thinking: “Is he never going to learn?” We know we’re making you sad and upset, but it’s as if we don’t have any say in it, I’m afraid, and that’s the way it is. But please, whatever you do, don’t give up on us. We need your help.”

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