NJ teen with autism writes first novel
Two of my four children have autism. It’s not easy facing every day, but we autism parents probably all do the same thing. We remind ourselves however hard it is raising a child with autism it cannot be as hard as being a child with autism.
My 6-year-old boy is still mostly nonverbal as he has the double whammy of also being stricken with apraxia of speech. Today as we played ball together and he was like most any other happy kid, he excitedly said, “More ball Daddy!”
Words are rare. My reaction was one usually reserved for parents watching their children win a Nobel Prize. Because that’s how it is with autism. You celebrate the little wins because there aren’t big ones. At least not for a long, long time.
So this one is for all the autism parents out there as a reminder those big wins may be years off but they’re absolutely possible.
Here’s a big win.
Ben Levin is a teenager with autism who lives in Montvale, New Jersey. He believes in himself. No doubt that took years of unconditional love and patience from family and teachers and therapists who believed in him first. He considers autism not a curse, but a gift.
Well Ben, still a teenager, just released his first novel. It’s in the young adult genre. (Better watch your back, S.E. Hinton.)
It’s called “In The Hole” and it’s about a family that falls into homelessness. It’s told through the eyes of the boy suffering it, a little kid named Charlie. The despair, the bullying, the fear of life on the streets, it’s all there. The character’s sister falls seriously ill during this time adding to the family’s struggle.
Why did he write it?
As Levin puts it in a News 12 New Jersey interview, “I was inspired to write “In The Hole” in 8th grade when my rabbi showed me and my class at religious school a video about children in Florida facing homelessness. Seeing them made me want to help.”
This is not only a huge deal because, let’s face it, how many people who say they’re going to write a book ever really do it, but also because for some with autism, empathy can be challenging. Yet here’s a young man who has creatively written a novel on the subject and even included a list of resources in the back to help people suffering homelessness. Ben not only developed empathy, he put it to good use through his passion for writing.
The book is for sale here on Amazon.
Will there be more books? Almost surely. Ben says he has what he calls skeletons (outlines) for well over 100 other novels. I hope my 6-year-old will be reading Ben Levin someday.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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