Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 review – a window on the world of autism

Naoki Higashida is a 24-year-old man with severe, largely non-verbal autism. Though he cannot hold a conversation, he uses an alphabet grid to build up sentences, which are taken down by a transcriber. By this method he produced his first book, The Reason I Jump, when he was only 13. It quickly became an autism classic.

My two eldest sons, George and Sam, have autism. Sam is the same age as Higashida, and similar in many ways. When I read The Reason I Jump, I felt as if Sam was speaking to me fully for the first time – or for the first time since early childhood, when he would try earnestly to make himself understood before withdrawing, defeated. Would reading its successor be as valuable and powerful an experience?

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16th July 2017