The Great Statue of Buddha

In the beginning of this chapter Naoki speaks of witnessing others cry and wondering why they are crying. He describes his own experience when he visited a town called Kamakura and the great statue of Buddha caused him to burst into tears. He explains that it was more than just the majesty and dignity of Buddha, it was the weight of the history and generations of people’s hopes, prayers and thoughts that broke over him. He felt as though Buddha said to him, “All human beings have their hardships to bear, so never swerve from the path you’re on.” He also reminds the reader to remember that crying isn’t always about sadness or meltdowns.

Q48 Why are you always running off somewhere?

He explains that he doesn’t choose to run off and is constantly working to fight the impulse. He compares it to being teleported from one place to another without even knowing it.

Q49 Why do you get lost so often?

He describes his answer to this question as follows: “Simply put, people with autism never, ever feel at ease, wherever we are. Because of this, we, we wander off- or run away- in search of some location where we do feel at ease.”

Q50 Why do you wander off from home?

The answer to this question is described as his “body moved because it was lured outside by something there.”  One time he was almost hit by a car and the fear had such an impact on his memory that he stopped running away after that experience.

Q51Why do you repeat certain actions again and again?

In his opinion, people with autism do not do this simple because they enjoy it, but because their brains send out the same order over and over and there is comfort and good feelings that come from it. He envies people ability to know what their minds are saying and have control over it. He feels as if he has to obey the missions that his mind sends to him.

Q52 Why don’t you do what you’re supposed to do, even after being told a million times?

There is a sequence that happens and no matter how many times he’s told not to do something, the impulse to re-create that sequence takes over and sends some type of pleasant electrical buzz to his brain. He compares it to watching your favorite scene of a DVD over and over on auto repeat.

Q53 Why are you obsessive about certain things?

Obsessing over certain things happens because they like it or because it causes them to be calmed or soothed. He mentions that people should try and stop the behavior if it is disruptive or bothersome, but if it isn’t, then just let them be.

–Allison Forrester, SLP at Noe Middle and Manual High


4 thoughts on “The Great Statue of Buddha

  1. Carrie says:

    I found it interesting when the author commented that jogging refreshes his body and makes him feel back home inside himself. He added that his sense of gravity is restored too and that it calms him down.
    For me, it makes me think of one of my students who is high on the spectrum. He is in the fourth grade. I see him running down the halls on a daily basis. Even when I cue him to please walk, he keeps running. This chapter reminds me that running helps him to feel better / more centered and calm.

  2. Marie Fisher says:

    While I have loved reading this book, I found this chapter the least interesting overall. I think it was the least interesting for me because many of the questions sounded the same to me. “Why are you always running off…Why do you get lost…Why do you wander from home”.

  3. Karen says:

    I too struggled too with this chapter. I would have prefered more of a narrative rather than all of the questions. It did make me think of a previous student I had with Autism that ran in circles around my room as if life was passing by him in a flash. He had to do this each time he entered my room until he was able to come to the carpet to play. I often thought “Why?” It was hard to think that this was calming to him.

  4. Lindsay Manis says:

    I also found the running question interesting. My kids are constantly running through the hallway and I observe teachers, therapists, and even other students constantly telling them to stop or slow down. Maybe our approach is wrong. Maybe providing a “safe” area to run vs. always coming down on kids for running is not what these students need. I just find myself thinking of all the “small things” that everyone seems to get on our students with Autism about, are we really providing the right cues and strategies or causing more harm than good?

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