My deceased wife Jean and I were often at odds about whether Jason operates at a four-year-old level or a five-year-old level. Jean’s eloquent argument was that he acts four was based on her contention that five-year-olds understand the world is rule-based. She argues that while Jason knows there are rules he is far more into instant gratification than he is into considering consequences, so she thinks he’s kind of stuck between four and five.
That works for me to a certain extent but I chose to use five in the upcoming book, “Some People Even Take Them Home” because a four-year-old would not solve problems as quickly or imaginatively as Jason does. He has always distinguished himself with his quickness and cleverness. Jason is savvy beyond his cognitive abilities.
Examine this exchange when he was 14 and his sister, Tracy, was 16. Tracy was trying to teach him honorifics. Remember too, Tracy became a special education teacher as an adult.
Tracy: “What’s your brother Jeffrey?”
Jason: “Mr. McGuire.”
Tracy: “Who am I?”
Jason: “Miss McGuire!”
Tracy: “Very good, what’s Mom?”
Jason: “Mrs. McGuire.”
Tracy: “Great, what’s Daddy?”
Jason said without any hesitation “The King!”
We laughed hard that day and I’ve captivated dinner audiences with that story for years. Consider though, the flash of insight and the deep sense of family perspective communicated by Jason’s rapid-fire response. Despite his serious cognitive difficulties he sometimes has a keen sense of irony and can speak deep truths.