A First-Hand Account of Severe Autism

Naoki Hidishida has severe, nonverbal autism. Using an alphabet grid he was able to document his experiences of autism in his first book, The Reason I Jump , when he was 13 years old. Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8 (excerpted below) is his further account of life as a young adult navigating the world with autism, and was translated by the novelist David Mitchell with KA Yoshida. I. Mother’s Day 2011 There are children who cannot say “Thanks for everything, Mom.” There may be mothers who are saddened by this, and there may be mothers who feel a kind of grief over never receiving a bunch of carnations on Mother’s Day. I’ll never truly experience the sorrow these mothers are feeling, I’m afraid, but I do know exactly what those children who can’t express their gratitude are going through. Mother’s Day is supposed to be the time of year when we show our appreciation for everything our mothers, who we love, do for us. In my case, however, I’m unable to utter even a simple “thank you.” It’s wretched and it’s miserable. I’m sure that if a nonverbal person like me could speak fluently all of a […]

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