I’m Right Here

In this fictional story written by Naoki, we see the ghost of a boy named Shun struggle desperately to communicate with his mother after dying in a sudden bike accident.  She is unable to see or hear him, to understand his words of comfort to her.  Reluctantly, Shun separates from his mother and goes to Heaven, which is place of “perfect freedom.”  However, after visiting his mother a few times on Earth, he sees how unhappy she is and realizes that she is unable to get past his death.  After a year, Shun decides that he wants to comfort his mother more than anything.  He makes a deal with God to return as another child, agreeing to lose his own identity and memory of his life as “Shun”.

SO….there were so many random and disconnected thoughts that I had while reading this story.  Perhaps I am not “deep” enough to truly connect the dots in a meaningful way, but I will just throw out there what I gleaned from this parable of sorts.  Shun’s life as a ghost seemed symbolic to me as Naoki’s life with Autism.  Shun was trying to controlh is body and hug his mom and comfort her during her sadness, but he was unable to, not matter how hard he tried.  He tried repeatedly to speak with his parents and was never heard.  Then, he went to Heaven.  I believe it was here that Naoki envisioned his life without Autism.  Being able to live in “perfect freedom” and do everything that he was unable to do previously.  In the end, Naoki wrote that Shun would choose to lose the memories of everything that made him the boy he was, all in order to save his mother and make her happy.  I believe this shows that people on the spectrum are able to develop empathy, understand emotions, and even put other’s emotions ahead of their own.

Rachel Lacap, Wheeler Elementary

7 thoughts on “I’m Right Here

    • Allison Dobbs says:

      This summary makes sense. Very insightful. I wasn’t sure if I was interpreting this story as Naoki had intended.

  1. allison forrester says:

    I think you are right on with the comparison of Shun to Naoki and autism. That is what I got from it as well.

  2. Kim Carter- Campbell says:

    While reading this chapter I also felt that I was not “deep” enough to comprehend the meaning of this story. I found myself feeling frustrated for Shun because he wanted to communicate with his parents and was unable too. I imagine this is how many of our students feel when they are unable to effectively expression their feelings, discomforts, etc. Great summary Rachel!!!

  3. Karen says:

    I wonder if high functioning people with Autism have the capacity to envision life without Autism. The “perfect freedom” may mean different things to different people. I agree and believe that people on the spectrum are able to develop empathy, understand emotions, and even put other’s emotions ahead of their own. It is on their terms and in their own timeframe. Often we force this when, in fact, it can’t be forced for most people.

  4. Lindsay Manis says:

    I took that as development of empathy as well. So many days we get caught up in the “struggle” of working with children with autism and trying to grasp understanding of what they want, that sometimes we assume they are not thinking of others or the impact their life has on us (either as family members or educators).

  5. Marie Fisher says:

    Something that I took away from this book as well was how in touch with his own emotions Naoki was. Empathy as it related to students with autism was something that I am glad this book touched on. I have a couple of students in particular who like to help their classmates when they notice them struggling with a skill or concept that they understand. r

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