“We are born outside the regime of your civilization. With all the killings and planet-wrecking humanity has committed, perhaps autism could help you remember what truly matters. Autistic people obsess over certain things because we’d go crazy if we didn’t. Repetitive things are comforting. They soothe me, and protect me from uncertainty.
“I want to grow up learning a million things. There must be countless other autistic people who have the same desire. We, too, want to grow. The hardest ordeal for me is the idea that I am causing grief for other people. Please, keep battling along side me.
“When I was little there was always a question that was a big, big worry: What am I going to become? Will I ever be able to live properly as a human being? I don’t pretend for a moment that everything I’ve written applies to all autistic people, but I wrote this book so that you can come to understand me, in the hope that my future will be connected to your future. Above all, that’s what I want.”
Based on the book, The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida, and produced as a documentary film by director Jerry Rothwell, The Reason I Jump is an exploration of autism as a way of being.
A narrator speaks the written words of the 13-year-old Higashida. We hear from five children with autism, and from their parents. The film acknowledges the challenges children and their parents face, but the overall focus is a positive vision of people with autism. The challenges children and parents face are both about the nature of autism, as well as the stigma human beings apply to those with this way of being. In this film, these challenges are well met—with joy.
The Reason I Jump is the most touching, moving, compassionate documentary film I’ve ever seen. I will see it a few more times—and will spread the word. This is a film everyone should see and digest.
The film is available in the United States on DVD and on Netflix. See the film’s website for more information about releases elsewhere.
(Photo courtesy of ‘The Reason I Jump’)