Autism, Intelligence, Target, and Little Kid Stares

Autism and Intelligence Conversation on July 19, 2018

Jake and I had a nice discussion today (via letterboard and RPM) when I started asking him about the book we’ve been reading called “Out of My Mind.”  The story is about a girl who can’t walk or talk fluently and the challenges she faces….you can read his comments below.

Target and Little Kid Stares

He was also able to discuss his obvious anxiety attack during a trip to Target yesterday. It happened when we had gotten sort of trapped in an aisle by other people who had small kids (in carts and walking). You can see his comments below about the stares – I was floored by Jake’s comments on the letterboard about his perceptions and feelings!

I explained how little kids do stare cause they’re very curious. We discussed that while he was sensitive to their stares it is a natural thing for kids to do.

The whole time during this discussion Jake was giggling and getting nose to nose with me. He was giving great eye contact, apparently excited. I love that he is gaining confidence in trying to explain his feelings:

Mom:  Fill in the blank to this sentence – The book Out of My Mind _______________

Jake:  has a girl matched with a normal girl because she can’t eat by herself.

Mom:  What does that mean about her intelligence (that her body doesn’t work like other people’s)?

Jake: It means nothing. Like I am smart too.

Mom:  That’s right.  I appreciate you being so patient with me, to help find a way for you to be able to express your thoughts and feelings.  All these years  – what do you think?

Jake:  I think I am excited too!

Mom:  So yesterday, at Target, you seemed really anxious. Could you tell me how you were feeling?  What was going on?

Jake:  Not to go so close to little kids.  They make me nervous because they like to stare.

Reasons Little Kids Might Stare 

Here we decided to list things we know about little kids and why they might stare:

Mom:  Curious/interested

Jake: Have really strong minds

Mom: Have questions

Jake: Like to make noises to deal with their emotions

Mom: What can we do next time at the store (if there are little kids) to help you feel more comfortable?

Jake:  Help to not make me stand so close.

Mom:  Thank-You for discussing with me, I will certainly be more aware from now on.


For more information about Rapid Prompting Method visit

Jake McClintick has a diagnosis of severe autism as well as intermittent explosive disorder. This is one of his first in depth conversations with me at the age of 22.  He is now 23 years old and has been learning to communicate using a letterboard since age 18. Learning to use a letterboard through the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) was a gradual process that took several years. We are still working on expanding RPM and Jake’s confidence/skills beyond our “work sessions.”  Though we still need experience and practice, this low-tech alternative communication system has been an answered prayer for us both.

At the age of 22 Jake began expressing his very personal thoughts and feelings more fluently with me (his mom). It was his idea to begin writing “The Story of My Life” one day.  Click here to read his first entry to that story. He has given me permission to share his story and our conversations. He continually expresses his desire to “find purpose” to his life…I hope his willingness to share will help others learn about this misunderstood condition known as “autism” that has so much to teach us all.