This week I tried to focus on getting my children, well…focused. With the school year coming to a close and the children’s itch for nonstop T.V., fun, video games, and did I mention fun?…I felt that I needed to incorporate a system to use during the summer to keep them on track scholastically. My eldest son spent a detrimental six months in a public school in Brooklyn which deemed him as violent, bad, needing occupational therapy, and incapable of moving past the first grade. We moved him to a school in NJ where he has attended for the past three months; here are the results: he has passed every single test with no less than 90%, he is well behaved, no longer “violent”, and is organized. Seeing that he will be attending 2nd grade in the fall, this week I have challenged him to write legibly – something he struggles with – and to focus a bit more. I am adding isolation to his routine, allowing him to attempt to do his homework in another room, on his own, without his brother and I in the mix. I figured this would go hand in hand with his month long Summer school program (something he is not looking forward to I might add).
I am working with my three year old son who has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and who at the current moment has a fascination with letters. I have him write daily in one of his three art books, sometimes prompting him to write certain letters, other times letting him write and draw freely. He loves this creative time and gives me tons of eye contact. It keeps him stable, allows him to concentrate on one task, and independently write letters. The next major step in my journey with him: Preventing his inclination to SCREAM – not just a quick blurt but a PIERCING ear popping 5 second hold SCREAM when he is frustrated and doesn’t want to be bothered. That’s how my afternoon and evenings were spent this week – trying to develop new ways to avoid a regression in behavior for my eldest son and thinking of new ways to praise his excellence; while also coming up with ways to trigger cognitive and social progression for my 3 year old. During the day, when the kids are learning (well with 7 days left of school there is more playtime of course) I am doing what I love – writing.
This week I came to the self-realization that I think entirely too much. I am on chapter two of the Young Adult novel I am currently working on and every minute I am asking myself: Am I weeding out the characters? Are they believable? Am I being too descriptive? Should I describe the character in one quick swoop or let the description flow naturally? Am I boring the reader with all these words that I feel are relevant, or is it a masterpiece like Margaret Mitchell’s saga Gone With the Wind? I started reading Mitchell’s book last week and in the first 100 pages the all-knowing omniscient author reveals the thoughts of her main character Scarlett O’Hara, the thoughts of her twin beaus, as well as a full backstory of Scarlett’s parents. However Mitchell spends the bulk of her time creating imagery and describing in great length the magnificence of the plantation Tara – from the grass, the way the ground looks after it rains, the smell of the country, and even the flowers surrounding Tara. Needless to say I have another 865 pages to go in this saga and a lifetime (well I’ve given myself a year to finish this manuscript) to figure out whether less is more, or more is shall I say – best.
All in all a decent start in my opinion. I added a total of 600 words this week to my novel, wrote this blog in the course of two days (creating a rough draft and the second day revising), and made sure I stayed abreast to what’s going on in the autism community. The two links below really got me fired up and I have to admit in some strange way after reading the articles they seemed to light a fire in my hand and pushed me to write more.
Hopefully that fire doesn’t extinguish before next week’s blog entry.
See you next week: 6/24/11