Technology can help making the world of people with autism comprehensible

31 March 2021

This week, the Autism Week takes place. Therefore, De Balie – in cooperation with the Dutch Autism Society – presents the program De Balie kijkt: The Reason I Jump on Thursday, April 1 at 20:00. The documentary The Reason I Jump is based on the worldwide bestseller of the same name by Naoki Higashida and tells the personal story of the author of the book: a non-speaking autistic boy from Japan. Together with psycholinguist Hans van Balkom and co-director of Mentech Eric Riegen, we discuss the film and new technologies for people with communication disorders. How do these technologies help to make the living world of people with autism understandable?

“For me, autism is normal. I can’t imagine what your ‘normal’ actually is,” Naoki writes in his book The Reason I Jump in which he honestly and disarmingly shares his unique perspective on living with autism. The documentary of the same name connects his story with stories of five other non-speaking autistic people from around the world. The film immerses us in their unique sensory worlds: worlds full of beauty and intensity, but also full of suffering and pain.

Where the behavioral disorder primarily hinders communication, The Reason I Jump attempts to bridge the gap between those with and those without autism. How can those who cannot speak with words make their world understandable to others? De Balie programmer Parwin Mirrahimy talks to psycholinguist Hans van Balkom and co-director of Mentech Eric Riegen about the film and new technologies for people with a communication disorder. How far along are these developments?

Interested in watching the film and following the conversation? For more information, check out the following link:

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