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  • Writer's picture Kathy Cassel

Autism Awareness Month

April is designated as Autism Awareness Month. I have a son on the autism spectrum, but I also have a character in Catching Hope who is on the spectrum. He is not copied after my son, because they are definitely different. Autism can present in many different ways.

Levi Michaels, twin to main character Lexi Michaels, is adopted out of the foster care system as a teen. Here is the opening scene from Catching Hope where Lexi talks about her brother:

The sound of a horn startled me awake. I struggled to a sitting position, excitement pulsing through me. I was in a large van sitting between my sixteen-year-old adoptive brother Chad and Levi, my twin, who were both still asleep. I nudged Levi until he opened his eyes and sat up. His red hair, a shade darker than mine, was tousled, and his sapphire blue eyes were sleepy. It had been a long drive from the airport to our resort on the Haitian coastline, and although I’d wanted to stay awake and take in the scenery, I drifted off.

Now we were stopped outside an ornate iron gate. Juvens, our driver, honked again, and a man in a uniform pushed a button triggering a motor to open the gate, allowing Juvens to pull through.

I turned to Levi. “Can you believe it? Us in a foreign country?”

He nodded but was silent. Handling new situations and the stress of unfamiliar places is hard for Levi. Until a year ago, my twin brother and I were bounced from foster home to foster home, never getting a forever family partly because Levi does things that make him stand out as different. The Michaels call it quirks of his autism, but other families weren’t so understanding. In fact, they could be downright mean at times.

Some of the quirks of Levi's autism come in very helpful as the four teens flee from their kidnappers in the story. If you have a teen on the spectrum, they may enjoying reading the story and relating to Levi.

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