Rece Wants Cereal is based off of a real life challenge that I have, and continue to go through. Maurice “Rece” Rush is my son. He is currently 8 years old and unable to use his voice to talk. Rece was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2 years. At the time of his diagnosis, Rece’s father and I felt a number of emotions but the main being fear, anger, sadness, uncertainty. We had a lot of questions, like “How could this happen?’ ‘What do we do now?’ ‘Is this my fault?’ ‘Will he ever be normal like the other kids his age?” etc. There were a lot of questions, but not enough answers or enough of our friends that truly understood what we were now facing.
On top of not being able to communicate via his voice, Rece would spin almost everything and anything he could get his hands on. He made minimal eye contact or purposeful engagement. He would constantly flap his hands and walk on his tippy toes. He also had a strong sensory aversion to certain/random textures. This included food. The only thing he would eat was ONE particular brand of cereal. Literally the only thing! His father and I found ourselves buying boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes…and boxes (well you get the point) of this particular cereal. We eventually decided to use the cereal as a tool to help him! We enrolled him into an intense feeding program that used a unique therapeutic approach: ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapy. With this approach we were able to use cereal to get him to tolerate real food! What a relief!
So we used the same approach on communication.
There wasn’t a day that went by where Rece wasn’t agitated or aggressive. There was no day that passed that my son would not scream, cry, grab, bite and pull you out of frustration to communicate especially when he wanted something extremely bad (like cereal) and could not get it. He was unable to tell me what he wanted or even yet, how he was feeling or what he was feeling. Once he started therapy he began to realize that there were other ways to communicate, more effective ways. Cereal not only was his ultimate favorite food on the list, but it became a staple in our house in purposes of having him learn how to speak to us via modified sign language, picture icons, and also an augmented communication device.
Rece is a unique little boy, and communicates a little differently than a good handful of his peers. Understanding this uniqueness of Rece allows us and others to better assess his needs. I have written Rece Wants Cereal just for that purpose. I want others to think about and accept differences in others (especially those who are on the Autism Spectrum). This book targets children, families, providers, and those facing autism in some capacity. It provides and promotes awareness to those on the spectrum in a way that can be easily understood by children (and adults). If a child can understand and appreciate another’s difference in their childhood just imagine how they will act as an adult!