It’s written. Holy cow, it is actually written.
Yesterday morning I sent my thesis to both my editor and my thesis committee to start the editing process.
I have finished documents before: I have won the National Novel Writing Month contest 7 of the 8 years that I entered. The big difference there, though, was that no one saw my work. It was word counted by a bot to confirm 50,000 words, and that was that. This is the first time that I have written an entire document that I am deeply passionate about, and sent it out for several people to read (and probably rip it apart in some sense). I actually know that it can better, and I’m actually really excited to see how to expand it and make it better.
This process showed me aspects of the autism world that I thought I knew, but really didn’t. I had an inkling of the effect some forms of therapy have on autistic clients, but I had no idea about the depth. Some approaches can be absolute confidence killers if not executed properly. I also learned that, contrary to popular belief, these kiddos don’t have just one specific interest. They sometimes have several that have some general tie-in to each other. One of my interviewees, “Sarah,” loves studying insects, is fascinated with the California drought and how to reverse it, and likes playfully debating about the science of flying cars with her dad. All of this falls under one heading: science. Using Gardner’s breakdown of multiple intelligence, she appears to fall into the Naturalist and perhaps the Mathematical types.
As small as this thesis is (I don’t think it will pass 70 pages in the end and I only did 3 case studies), it has given me a starting point for both a book and a business. It gave confirmation of what is missing. Strangely enough, a phone conversation I had last week with an ex also confirmed to me that a strength-based enrichment program could do wonders for “neurotypicals” as well.
I took this weekend off to let my brain rest after being turned to complete mush from all of the writing, but I’m going to be doing some serious planning starting tomorrow.
It’s time to get to work.