Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe.
Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps. The film distills these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.
This is a HUGE moment for NONSPEAKING PEOPLE everywhere! We particularly love film director, Jerry Rothwell, thanking the young people who are in the film for “reminding him of a different way of being human.” I-ASC members Benjamin McGann and Emma Budway are powerful representatives in this film for ALL nonspeaking, minimally, and unreliably speaking people who spell or type to communicate
Friends since preschool, I-ASC nonspeaking leaders Ben and Emma communicate with their loved ones via letterboard and type. The community they’ve fostered with one another is a force that sustains them and their families. Not speaking doesn’t mean they have nothing to say.
We were thrilled that Emma Budway, Benjamin McGann, and Elizabeth Vosseller attended the Sundance Film Festival for the premiere of The Reason I Jump. The response has been overwhelming, and we are so proud to be a part of it.
Follow their story at Connected through Friendship Blog.
Directed by Jerry Rothwell
Produced by Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee
Produced by Al Morrow
The Self-Advocacy Workbook was created in partnership with the autistic community, featuring messages of empowerment from members of the community itself. It includes self-advocacy strategies, peer-to-peer advice, and resources, such as links to organizations, social networks and educational tools to equip individuals, particularly those who are non or minimally speaking, and their families and loved ones, with tools to help them advocate for themselves and their needs.
The Presume Competence Community Handbook supports professionals working with autistic populations such as medical support staff, social-workers, and others, as well as interested community groups like schools or faith communities, to host a screening of the film. The guide includes tips and best practices for hosting inclusive screenings, background and context about the film and the people in it, discussion prompts, suggested engagement activities for the various audiences, and research and resources for further learning.