In the last few days, I've asked Tom to do several "perspective-taking" writing projects. It turns out this is remarkably easy for him - especially given that kids with autism are supposed to have a TERRIBLE time with perspective taking. Hm. Maybe it's easier for him to take the perspective of fictional characters than of real people?
The first project was a little piece describing the experiences of Mike Teavee, a character in Charlie and the Chocolate factory. No prob. Tom immediately plunged himself into Mike's P/V, and wrote in the first person about his adventures. It seemed clear that he could have written a good deal more if he'd narrated rather than physically wrote - but he did squeak out a few paragraphs (we're still working on what a paragraph IS, so he needed some help with that). He also needed some prompting to get out the details (what does Mike like best? etc.).
The second project was a letter to James of James and the Giant Peach, offering James ideas on how to get his aunts to treat him better. With NO prompting, Tom wrote a lovely note explaining that James should get away from those aunts and go to New York City! Again, he had a lot more ideas that could have been included had he been narrating versus writing.
He's a good writer.
Now the question is - do I work on grammar and structure? Detailed story-telling? Perspective-taking in real life? Typing versus handwriting? Do I let him narrate while I type? ALL of the above?!!
Or... do I back off of writing (since he's already pretty good, after all) - and focus extra time on math, social skills, fine and gross motor (his weaknesses)? If only the answers were clear cut!