Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8

by Naoki Higashida
Grade 9-12


Naoki Higashida was only thirteen when he wrote The Reason I Jump, a revelatory account of autism from the inside by a nonverbal Japanese child, which became an international success. Now, in Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8, he shares his thoughts and experiences as a young man living each day with severe autism. In short, powerful chapters, Higashida explores school memories, family relationships, the exhilaration of travel, and the difficulties of speech. He also allows readers to experience profound moments we take for granted, like the thought-steps necessary for him to register that it’s raining outside. Acutely aware of how strange his behavior can appear to others, he aims throughout to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage society to see people with disabilities as people, not as problems.

Discussion questions from SOMN

  • What new insights have you gained by reading Naoki Higashida’s book? What surprised you most about his depiction of what it is like to be autistic?
  • What messages from the author resonated with you the most? Did any of his advice or insight relate to your experiences? In what ways?
  • Why do you think the author chose this title for the book?
  • Read the author’s first book, The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, in addition to this one. Compare and contrast the two books. In what ways have the author’s perspectives changed? In what ways are they the same?

Classroom activities from SOMN

  • Naoki uses a number of devices to assist in communication. In groups or individually, research communication assistive technologies. Share what you have learned with the class and make a timeline of these technologies. Reflect as a group or individually on how these technologies have impacted communities, families, and individuals. Include your school community in your reflection.