by Naoki Higashida

Reviewer Rating:
5

Review

This book was fascinating.  The author, a 13 year old Japanese boy with autism, constructed his answers by using an alphabet grid that was then transcribed by an assistant. Naoki Higashida takes on people’s questions and assumptions about being a child with autism and his answers are beautiful, poetic and incredibly moving.  He explains how he feels when he is treated like a child, or when people say that he is better off alone, expressing his feelings of depression and fear that were lessened as he learned other ways to communicate, like the alphabet grid. Ranging in topics from hand flapping to his love of nature,  Higashida  brings a voice to a population that is often spoken for but not listened to. By bringing his perspective and explaining his own experiences as a person with autism, he reminds everyone that just because someone isn’t verbally communicating, doesn’t mean they don’t have legitimate feelings, concerns, thoughts and stories they’d like to share.  This book was written in 2007 but only recently translated into English and is a great read for anyone who has a friend or family member with autism.

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