Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Truth in Advertising for the Autistic

This morning I was standing at the kitchen counter packing David's lunch before he left for school. One of his lunch staples is dry cereal, usually Quaker Oatmeal Squares, and I had poured them into a large bowl so that I could sort his cereal into a baggie. I take the extra step of sorting because cereal is expensive I have grown tired of wasting it.

Evidently, when cereal has a name like "Quaker Oatmeal Squares" David expects that the pieces will actually be, you guessed it, square. He will sift through the cereal, refusing the broken pieces, which, as you know, can be a large percentage of the box. Maybe if I told David we were trying a new cereal, something like "Shards of Oats" or "Quaker Oatmeal Rectangles" he might try it, but for now, David's discards get returned to the cereal box for Andrew's breakfast—sorry Andrew. Andrew must think those people at the cereal company are complete dolts because he rarely sees a square in his morning serving of oatmeal squares.

The same thing could be said of Lucky Charms. David must believe that his luck has run out each time we open a box because, while he does find the multi-colored marshmallow charms to be "magically delicious" he has little use for the frosted oats and most of them end up in a discard pile on our family room carpet. Ironically, the carpet happens to be from the Mohawk Carpet "toasted oats" color palate and I do not usually see the cast-off oats until after I feel the crunch underfoot as I walk through the family room.

So on Valentine's Day, my mother gave David a big red plastic heart filled with, the label promised, Gummi Savers, one of David's favorite candies. But, when we opened the heart, did we find the promised savers of the gummi variety? No, the heart was filled with Lifesavers Big Ring Gummies. They were like Gummi Savers on steroids—at least twice the size of the original candy and dipped in sugar. They are not the same things. You can ask any kid with autism. I opened one of the packages, handed it to David who, predictably, touched it briefly to his upper lip and wholeheartedly rejected it.

Maybe manufacturers will learn, as the large numbers of literal thinking kids with autism grow into literal thinking adults with autism, that they expect what is advertised on the outside of the box to actually be on the inside of the box.

Please note that no Gummi big rings were harmed during the writing of this post—unless you count the four that I consumed just to make sure they were not the promised Gummi Savers. I can call it research. Right?



  1. Oh no poor David- he must've been so disappointed to not find what he was expecting inside of that Valentine!

    Brian definitely likes things a certain way, but I don't think he's ever rejected any sort of candy lol.