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This work is pioneering and insightful. For decades scientists have studied autistics the way they would study any other animal-by watching and making educated guesses. This is one of the first books to directly ask an autistic person about their experience (and a non-speaking autistic no less!) Highly recommended.
Translated from Japanese by one of my favorite authors, this book provides great insights into the mind and life of a nonverbal boy, as his autism colors every aspect of his life. Though some of what he describes might be unique to him, I hope it helps the rest of us to be open-minded and patient when dealing with others who are wired differently.
This book, written when the author was 13, gives valuable insight into life with autism.
This series of very short essays on various aspects of being a young person with autism was written by Higashida when he was 13. He was unable to speak aloud but was able to slowly communicate with an alphabet grid, to point at letters, numbers, and punctuation. There are many good insights here as the author discusses why he asks the same questions over and over, why he lacks self-control, how he feels when he makes other people uncomfortable, etc. If you have an autistic child in your family or you are in an occupation where you have to interact with autistic children, these insights would be worth taking into consideration. You might even read a section to the child and see if child agrees that these experiences represent his or her reality.
That said – I wonder if the translator and his wife added some sophistication and understanding to the English text that wasn’t there in the original and that seem out-of-place for any 13-year-old. Even so, the basic insights of this book match up with what other autistic writers seem to have experienced and this is a good starting place for understanding the high-level child with autism.
This is the most insightful, heart rendering and helpful book I have ever read, in explaining and understanding what someone with autism experiences. I've read many on this subject, but they have been written by experts and by adults who have autism. This is by a 16 year old, using specialized technology and a translator. This is a must-read for parents, teachers, students, neighbours and friends!
My son has Asperger's with tactile dysfunction and social anxiety, depression and severe panic attacks. He was not diagnosed until age 15, although I knew from the age of 3 (something was different) and proceeded to start researching on my own. He is now 21 and also has cerebral palsy in his feet and hands... but anyway this book really answered some important questions for me that I have asked my son about and he just couldn't put into words... I think this was not necessarily a "story" book, but a good information source.
I absolutely loved this memoir which was written by a 13-year-old autistic boy by pointing at an alphabet grid. The book is a question and answer format, and the questions help clarify the experience of an autistic mind. I know there are more scientific tomes about autism, but this gives me a sweet understanding and nearly heart-breaking appreciation. Naoki's stories, including one about the afterlife, are surprisingly thought-provoking for such a young person.
A quick read with often heart-breaking insight into the mind of a boy with autism. Worth the read.
Crack the cover for David Mitchell. Stick around for the unique perspective of autism.
Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should read this book. It's short, not too complicated, and completely amazing! The introduction, by a father who's raising an autistic child, is quite moving and lets us know just how much impact it made on his relationship with his own child. Now that's a testimonial! Even though I do not have an autistic child or work with special needs kids, this book was an amazing eye-opener. Just how Naoki learns how to communicate is amazing in and of itself.
This is the first book I've ever read about autism which will of course shape the way I am now reviewing it. I have volunteered in classrooms with autistic children and there is an autistic child in my extended family and I read this book to try to understand more about what shapes the way an autistic experiences the world. I really enjoyed the learning experience although the translation of the child's voice often sounds like an adult making a younger voice sound "more lyrical and make more sense". I agree with another reader that this autistic child's experience may not echo all autistic children but the insight into understanding why for instance it's hard for some autistic children to expand their eating to other foods, was helpful for me in better understanding this condition.
This book communicates what it is like to live in an unedited, unfiltered world. It challenged my preconceptions and changed my opinions about autism.
This was very touching. It was interesting to hear things from his perspective!
Interesting on its own, and a potentially useful tool. This would be a good book to give to a teen or pre-teen who needs or wants to learn about autism, perhaps in conjunction with the diagnosis in a sibling or classmate. It might also be a gateway for discussion, with adult family members or teachers who are still challenging a diagnosis, or who believe you can discipline the disorder out of a child, as surely it would elicit some empathy. It is, as a memoir, very specific to his own experience, and the point is made that he's not speaking for everyone on the spectrum.
A really good book, although, it should not be read without a willingness to really think about things. The author does often assume that some things that are true for him are true for all autistic people, rather than just a good majority, and, with him being autistic, he has a different perception on things in the world, so when he speaks in a more poetic or abstract manner, it can mean different things depending on how you look at it- some of it may be literal, and other times it may be more poetic. It was first published about 8 years ago, and in Japan, so it has some cultural differences that make things different from how Canadians with autism may live. As an autistic person myself, I found many things about this book to be true for me, but not everything, so you have to keep in mind that people with autism are, well, PEOPLE, and they have a tendency to vary. All that being said though, do not let that scare you from reading this book, as I think that this could be one of the most important books out there. It is also a short read, so please, whether or not you know someone with autism, you might meet one one day or be inspired to work with them, try giving it a read. Once again, as an autistic person myself, I find that this world is far too limited for people like me, especially considering the fact that autism is not at all a rare condition. People don't understand why I am sometimes late for things because of my odd sleep cycles and poor internal clock, why I cry a lot, or why things like bright lights and loud noises could bother me so much, and the fact that the vast majority is so ignorant to this suffering is honestly what I consider one of the absolute worst parts of autism. By reading books like this, written not just by non-autistic experts, but real autistic people, you are opening yourself up to new people, people who might otherwise feel very, very isolated if no one can understand how we think.
A 13-year old's explanation of the world of autism. A brilliant piece by a non-verbal child with autism.
The author is a 13-year-old Japanese teen with autism, and he has totally changed my way of think about autism. The book is short, but succinct. The teen tries to explain why people with autism do what they do. He has learned to express his thoughts and feelings through writing, using a computer and a special board with Japanese script, He is amazingly creative, and several of his stories are included in the book.
Here are some eye-opening quotes in the book, first one in the introduction by the father of autistic son:
"The conclusion is that both emotional poverty and an aversion to company are not symptoms of autism but consequences of autism, its harsh lockdown on self-expression and society's near-pristine ignorance about what's happening inside autistic heads."
Here is one by Naoki:
"Some of you may think we read aloud with a strong intonation, too. This is because we can't read the story and imagine the story at the same time. The the act of reading (orally) costs uf a lot of effort--sorting out the words and somehow voicing them is already a very tall order."
"Not being able to talk means not being able to share what you're feeling and thinking. It's like being a doll spending your whole life in isolation..."
I strongly recommend that anyone who is involved in education read this book.
Valuable insight into the life of a person with autism. Valuable read for everyone whose life is touched by autism.
Loved this book! This book gives a glimpse into the mind of an autistic thirteen-year-old boy. As you read his explanations for why he behaves a certain way, it makes sense. I would say a must read for anyone who interacts with autistic people.
A 13 year-old non-verbal Japanese boy with Autism wrote this q&a book after gaining the ability to communicate by pointing to letters on a board. In this very quick read, he answers questions about himself with humor and perspective, giving us groundbreaking first-person insight into a condition that is becoming more and more common.
Transformative and occasionally heart-breaking, this book is the work of a severely autistic teenager explaining with incredible clarity and maturity what it is like to be a child with autism. A must read for anybody with autism in the family or workplace, but I'd also recommend it to anyone, teens and adults, who are looking for something engrossing and enlightening.
I learned some things about autism but felt the validity of the book was greatly compromised by the method of its writing and translation. Read like a Mitch Albom book in some places, but it still provided a great deal of encouragement about the possible inner thoughts of an autistic person.
Having worked with autistic children in the past, I find it very hard to believe this was written by an autistic 13 year old.