This month marks ten years since Bridges-Over-Barriers began! We have had at least 77 gatherings in Guelph. We all miss the gatherings during the midwinter months.
Some of us have news to share.
IAN has started downhill skiing this month. Like me, Ian enjoys the outdoors and loves to be cool.
is being brave about his health. For nearly two months last fall, Tim
was also brave when Betty had to be away having a knee operation. I
asked Tim is he had some lessons for all of us about facing change like
that. This is what Tim replied:
"I did well when my Mom was away and I
think it was the fact that I knew my supporters already and they were
my friends and knew me well and they love me a lot. I learned that they
are very good at supporting me and I can trust them to help me with my
life even when things are hard. They help me to understand their world
and they really try to understand mine.
"I really enjoyed visiting
the L'Arche houses in the evening and getting to know the assistants and
the core people too. They were always so welcoming of Kristen and me
and they loved having us drop in.
I was very busy during the days
with my truck and also working with Jenny on the drums and the metronome
and talking with her and with Carl on my i-pad. Had I been bored or
isolated it would have been very difficult."
Bravo Ian and Tim!
JOHN and his family recommend a new book about a Japanese boy Naoki who types to talk like us.
Bridges group have all seen Naoki before as the Japanese boy (with his
charming mother) who featured in the FC film Wretches and Jabberers that
we saw in 2011. I think the book was actually composed several years
before the film, when Naoki was 13. Here is a review of this book.
Meet one person with autism
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida, KA Yoshida (Translator), David Mitchell (Translator). Reviewed online by William Mandy 15 November 2013.
autism described in The Reason I Jump is quite different from the
mostly social disorder that I, as a researcher and clinician, find in
textbooks and journal articles. The new bestselling book, featuring the
remarkable testimony of a Japanese boy who has severe autism, is a
surprising and engaging memoir that’s full of paradoxes.
Higashida finds spoken communication all but impossible, but has learned
to express himself by pointing to Japanese hiragana letters printed on a
piece of card in order to spell out words. In this manner, he
meticulously wrote the book over the course of months with his mother as
“The book then came to the attention of a married
couple, who were perhaps uniquely qualified to make it accessible to
English speakers: the renowned novelist David Mitchell (author of Cloud
Atlas) and his Japanese wife K.A. Yoshida, who have a son with autism.
Mitchell and Yoshida translated Higashida’s work for an international
audience. The result is a slim volume whose lucid prose has caused me
to reconsider some of the most basic ideas I have about autism.
a hundred or so pages of question-and-answer, Higashida displays an
originality of thought and poetry of expression that eludes most
writers, let alone most 13-year-old boys. For example, when answering
“Why do you ignore us when we’re talking to you?” he writes: “A person
who’s looking at a mountain far away doesn’t notice the prettiness of a
dandelion in front of them. A person who’s looking at a dandelion in
front of them doesn’t see the beauty of a mountain far away.
the level of empathy and emotional insight this teenager displays will
surprise many readers, and certainly anyone who has studied autism. The
conventional wisdom holds that the disorder, at its heart, is a social
disorder, in which the capacity for understanding the thoughts and
emotions of others is badly impaired.
“Naoki Higashida is
explicit about why he wrote The Reason I Jump. Speaking on behalf of
people with autism he writes, ‘We are misunderstood, and we’d give
anything if only we could be understood properly’ and ‘I hope that, by
reading this book, you might become a better friend of someone with