Summary

Written by Naoki Higishida when he was only 13, this remarkable book explains the often baffling behaviour of autistic children and shows the way they think and feel - about the people around them, time and beauty, noise, and themselves.
Naoki abundantly proves that autistic people do possess imagination, humour and empathy, but also makes clear, with great poignancy, how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.
David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki's book so that it might help others dealing with autism, and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. Like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, it gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective.
©2007 Naoki Higashida; translation © 2013 KA Yoshida and David Mitchell (P)2013 Hodder & Stoughton
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Wicked on 29-08-13

I really wanted to rate this higher

I didn't hesitate for a second in buying this book as soon as I heard about it. The insight that can be gained by being able to hear the words of a non verbal autistic child, is just amazing.
He gives some really useful explanations to help other people understand his behaviour and feelings, and it is worth listening to for that.

However, there are lots of times when he answers a question that explains what it is like for him, then goes on to say, autistic people like to do this, or autistic people don't like it when you do that, and that I found annoying. He is one, non-verbal autistic child. It is wonderful to hear him speaking for himself, but he cannot talk for autistic people in general. Some of the things he advised, completely contradict my own experience of raising autistic children. My children are verbal, so are able to tell me if something I am doing makes it harder for them. Naoki doesn't like visual timetables or information about places he is going to visit in advance, he says it spoils the surprise. That's fine for him, but please don't tell me that autistic people find them too stressful and enjoy surprises, my autistic children tell me otherwise.

Parents, if you listen to this book, take on board his explanations of his feelings and behaviours, but don't just blindly take all his advice. Get lots of information from lots of places and see what works with your child.

Chapter 10 - the last half an hour of the book was a complete waste to me. It's a story that he wrote about reincarnation. It's supposed to convey the difficulty in communicating when you can't be heard, but I just found it dull and irrelevant. I'm sure it's a lovely story, but I just wanted to get back to the question and answer bit, that I had bought the book for. Unfortunately, it never happened, so I did finish the book feeling flat.

In many ways this is an amazing book, but I was left feeling disappointed.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Mr on 16-07-13

Eye Opener!!

I chose this book as I have two very close friends who have autistic children. I've never appreciated how challenging this can be for parents with an autistic child more than after listening to this book. This really opened my eyes to what autism really is and how humour crosses with what is and isn't literal. This will make you both laugh and cry. I'd recommend this book for anybody who encounters autism in their lives.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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