For many parents with autistic children, Naoki Higashida’s book, The Reason I Jump, was nothing less that life altering. A collection of 58 questions and answers written by 13-year-old Naoki with a computer and letter board, it was a gateway to understanding our nonspeaking or unreliable speaking autistic children. Translated into English by novelist David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) and his wife K. A. Yoshida, who are also parents of an autistic child, the essays explained many of our children’s inexplicable behaviors and habits.
Now the book has been developed into a beautiful documentary by the talented director Jerry Rothwell and his gifted team at Met Films. The film takes you around he world to experience the lives of autistics in India, Sierra Leone, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States. Winning the audience award at Sundance this winter, the film charmed and educated sold-out theaters. Emma Budway and Ben McGann, subjects of the film and City Center NOVA members, traveled to Sundance with the film crew in January.
They had the time of their lives, and Emma shared that her hope for the film is that “we can show the world a better way forward that includes all autistics integrated into school, employment, housing and society.” Congratulations to Emma and Ben and stay tuned for opportunities to see the film locally this spring or summer.