I’m pretty certain the Krispy Kreme folks think I have a problem. A big problem. A problem that might require a 12 step program. But it’s just a communication problem and it all began with “mands”.
Mand is another word for request. Actually it means demand, but in the context of my daughter’s communication system it means request. After all who would want to go to elaborate lengths to teach their child to make demands!
My second daughter, who we call Nani, has very limited communication due to severe autism and being profoundly deaf and legally blind. She relies on an object symbol communication system which is fairly new for her. A critical part of learning to communicate is learning that it works, and that different words or in Nani’s case, objects, mean different things. Another criteria for a person with autism it HAS to be rewarding. That’s where the mands come in. She makes a “mand” and we make sure she gets what she’s asked for. Repetition being the price of knowledge, the more mands the better. Gradually you fade out the granting every mand, but in the early phase of communication it’s crucial.
So what has this got to do with my alleged Krispy Kreme problem? That’s right, you guessed it- a Krispy Kreme donut is one of Nani’s favorite mands. She hands me the symbol for this fried ring of sugar and fat and off we go. Several hundred times a day.
OK, maybe 4 times a day. But it feels like at least a hundred.
I know what I’m communicating to Nani, but what am I saying to the Krispy Kreme folks when I pull up to the drive-thru window and order just one chocolate iced with sprinkles?
Trouble is the donut makers can’t see that Nani is with me, she rides in the back of my SUV which has privacy glass. Sometimes Nani’s attendant take her on these donut mand runs. But it is my car they use.
I can just imagine the conversation inside when my voice comes over the speaker.
“Y’all, it’s the chocolate iced lady again!
Seriously, why doesn’t she just get a dozen? She’ll be back in a couple of hours anyway!
What do you think her cholestrol level is?
She always uses the drive thru, do you think she can even get through the door?
She needs to get help, man!
Dude, that’s her car! Now she’s got other people buying donuts for her. That’s just sad.
You think that’s sad, she was here at 6 am when we opened yesterday and back again close to midnight.”
Gotta go…evidently the donuts are “hot”.