The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism The Reason I Jump question

Do you believe the author's voice?
A.J. Knauss A.J. Nov 20, 2013 04:54AM
I liked so much about this book yet had a hard time believing the author's voice, not because his family had made a major breakthrough in communicating with a severely autistic child (I would like to hear more about the method) but because of his universally sunny outlook. His prose is so beautiful at times, I have a hard time hearing any thirteen year old boy in it. Does anyone know more about the family background to his break through?

I had a very hard time with the author's voice and feel that David Mitchell did some embellishing with the translation. My problem with "the author" is that he seems to have far more insight than I would expect from a 13-year-old-autistic or not. For example, there is one scene where he writes of seeing a statue of the Buddha and being moved to tears because it made him think of “the sheer weight of history and the generations of people’s hopes, prayers and thoughts.”
A 13-year-old would say that? Really? It sounds like something that would come out of the mouth of the Dalai Lama not some kid. There are parts of the book that sound authentic, but they are few and far between.

I have 2 boys on the spectrum and just took this as perhaps 1 persons experience. My boys both present very differently so its clear to me that 1 voice doesn't speak for all

I have a child on the spectrum and I find it very hard to believe that the author's voice is authentic.

I didn't have a problem with the literary quality of the voice as it's a translation from David Mitchell, who is certainly a wordsmith. What made me doubtful was how clearly the author seemed to understand "normal" experiences so that he could compare them to his own. I began wondering if he were truly autistic, but then it is a spectrum, and I'm no expert.

I have been primary carer for a non verbal 14yo with autism for 9 years. He began typing using facillitated communication two years ago, now does so with minimal/sometimes no support. He is brilliant and despite my having to deal with ignorant doubters, I know his communication is valid. During a session just yesterday, I asked him to identify someone from a photo, who his facillitator did not know, and he did. For those who consider fc as being like a ouiji board, please checkout the more recent 'qualitative' research findings.. and please don't throw your harmful, ill researched opinions around so flippantly. All it takes is one parent of a non verbal child to be pursuaded by you, and it may result in a human being never having a voice. A start may be on their homepage is footage of the UN Press Briefing with some info on the latest research findings. I have no doubts that Naoki is the author of this book, and that little has been changed in translation.

I have no doubt that this was written by a 13 year old child with autism. My son has moderate severe autism and is fully included on academic diploma track and the only autistic child in his High School. I gave all of his teachers a copy of this book at his last IEP. If you have a problem believing that a child with autism could write this book the problem is not with the child or the translation, The problem is with you! You have not had the pleasure of letting a person with autism communicate with you in their peferred way.

Karen Why do you think this book is his authentic voice. Your examples can help educate- I have not read the book but I am familiar with autism, though I am ...more
Mar 11, 2015 10:33AM · flag

I've seen comments saying "this doesn't sound like something a 13-year-old would say" in many places (posted by people who I assume are not 13 themselves), but I wonder what 13-year-olds would say about this.

This is just a guess, but thinking back to when I was 13 (I grew up in Japan), I have a feeling that somehow, many 13-year-olds and students around that age in Japan would not question that Naoki as a 13-year-old wrote the book. Personally, I think being 13 is such a complicated thing, with lots of complex thoughts about life with lots of struggles between society's expectations and your maturing thoughts - though whether or how one may express those thoughts are a different matter.

Does anyone have any first-hand accounts by teenagers who've read the book (without being influenced by the voices questioning the author's voice)?

I, too, thought about this while reading. It was a translation, correct? Perhaps the true voice is being lost a bit as a result.

I'm reading it right now and I'm starting to have problems to believe it was written by a 13 year old boy...

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