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The Reason I Jump - Portraits of non-verbal autistic children around the world

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Documentary inspired by Japanese teenager’s bestselling book takes us into the world of young neurodivergent people across the four continents. The Reason I Jump is now streaming on Netflix (in some countries) and in some cinemas from June 18. (Please check locally as I don’t have details)

In 2007, when Naoki Higashida was 13 years old, he wrote the book 'The Reason I Jump' in order to try to explain what's going on in the minds of autistic people. Naoki Higashida is a nonverbal autistic person. The book is structured as a Q. and A., answering questions such as 'Why don't you make eye contact when you're talking?', 'Why are you so picky about what you eat?' 'Should we listen to every single word you say?. The film based on his book, is directed by Jerry Rothwell and is explicitly didactic shedding light on neurodivergent experiences. In the film, five participants are taking part and they "represent a constellation of different takes on an experience of autism”, said Rothwell.

Rothwell met Higashida at his home in Japan but he did not want to appear on-screen and therefore, that led him to connect Higashida's words to the lives of five different non-verbal autistic people across the four continents. Rothwell was wondering 'how do these words that this 12-year-old boy has written, how do they relate to other non-verbal autistic children around the world?'

Rothwell comments that “the idea that Naoki doesn’t possess a theory of mind is pretty blown out of the water." "The Reason I Jump" is a beautifully constructed documentary, representing some experiences of autistic people and makes no claim that these experiences shown illustrate the entire spectrum. The purpose of the documentary is to enlighten a new perception of neurodivergent experience. Overall, the film is both touching and optimistic, shedding light on the fact that beneath an autistic exterior, lies an emotionally complex and rich interior that can be unlocked. Also don't miss "The Reason I Jump" Free Self Advocacy & Presume Competence Resources:

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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