Author David Mitchell introduces a unique book written by a 13-year-old with severe autism

By Naoki Higashida

Translated by David Mitchell and K.A. Yoshida and introduced by David Mitchell

Read by Kasper Hilton-Hille

When the award-winning author of Cloud Atlas David Mitchell, whose own son has autism, discovered this extraordinary book, he felt that for the first time his own son was talking to him about what was going on inside his head, through the words of the young author.

Naoki Higashida was born in 1992 and wrote the book when he was still only thirteen years old. His autism is so severe that he finds it difficult to hold a conversation, and he wrote the book using a Japanese Alphabet Grid - a low tech table of Japanese hiragana syllables, on which he spells out his words painstakingly, character by character.

David and his Japanese wife originally began a translation for their personal use and that of their son's other carers and tutors, and eventually it grew into this book. The Reason I Jump pushes beyond the notion of autism as a disability, and reveals it as simply a different way of being, and of seeing. Naoki Higashida shines a light on the autistic landscape from the inside.

Abridged and Produced by Allegra McIlroy.