Code Name: Oreos, by David and Mercedes Rizzo
Yesterday while doing laundry we noticed our daughter Danielle standing outside of our laundry room gently pushing the buttons on her augmentative communication device. We could hear the words, “Oreos, Oreos, Oreos.” Danielle has autism. She is non-verbal and uses an electronic machine to communicate. Although it is common for Danielle to use her device to make requests, it is unusual that she would go looking through the house to find us. She has never walked upstairs to the laundry room to make a request before.
It is a rare occurrence to have cookies in the house to begin with and somehow Danielle was very aware of it. This got us wondering if Danielle made the “we have cookies in the house” discovery by herself or did she have help from one of her three siblings? All three of them know that when Danielle uses her device to communicate we try our best to reinforce the use of the device by honoring her request.
We smiled and broke out the Oreo cookies for Danielle, and of course extended an invitation to her siblings to have some cookies too. This got us thinking about the way siblings stick together in a sort of pact as they attempt to outwit their parents. Evidently kids with autism are privy to this too. Danielle was certainly happy to be eating her fair share of the Oreos.
It was refreshing to see Danielle involved in this sibling conspiracy. So often the child with a disability seems set apart from the goings-on of her brothers and sisters. So even though we had been conned, so to speak, we had to smile at the ingenuity of the plan, the method of attack and execution, and the inclusion of Danielle as just one of the gang.
David and Mercedes write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. Visit DavidAndMercedesRizzo.com to learn more. Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Authors of Praying For Your Special Needs Child, (Word Among Us Press) andSpiritually Able and The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit (Loyola Press).