Why This Is More Than Just a Fork to 1 Mom Whose Boy Has Autism

When Chrissy’s son, 8-year-old Greyson, walked into the kitchen – all on his own – and retrieved a fork for his mom, it was a monumental moment.
Although this helpful gesture is something that many parents take for granted, for this mom who has two boys with autism, his action represents just how far he’s come over the past six years. “Oh if you could see the replay of his life and see all the work that has been laid down for YEARS to make this happen,” Chrissy wrote on her Facebook page, Life With Greyson + Parker.
Chrissy credits Applied Behavior Analysis with her child’s progress and admits that she had just as much learning to do as Greyson when it came to ABA. “‘What is ABA?’ You Google in fear, late at night when they tell you your child has autism and they recommend this intervention. It sounds vague and scary,” she wrote.
She quickly learned that ABA is based on the science of learning and behavior. The therapy uses “general laws” about how behavior works to help increase desired behaviors and reduce behaviors that interfere with learning or are harmful. “But ABA has also given us a life,” she wrote. “My husband and I can go places with our two boys with autism, and we can do things that before felt impossible. We aren’t perfectly well behaved all the time (not even close!), but we can do it.”
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To show just how far Greyson has come, Chrissy explained that at 2 years old, he had to learn in categories and only first understood what a “fork” was from practicing with both the real item and flash cards. “Painstakingly, day after day for weeks,” she wrote. “First receptively (the understanding of language – ‘Hand me fork’) and then from a field of three. Then expressively (spoken word- ‘What is it?’ ‘Fork.’)”
From there, he had to master the different rooms in their house. After repeatedly practicing where the kitchen or the playroom is, he then had to connect what he’d previously learned and be able to find specific items in each room. “Over and over and over. Repetition,” she wrote. “Taking data every single time to look for what’s working and if need be, where WE need to alter the environment to make it click for him.”
Greyson then had to learn how to follow directions, first one step, and then two steps like asking him to go to his room and get his shoes. “It’s SO HARD for him to keep more than one step in his mind at a time,” she wrote.
However, on this night, Chrissy just needed a fork and simply didn’t feel like getting up for “the 800th time.” So out of sheer hopefulness, she turned to Greyson. “I said, ‘Go get mom fork.’ (We don’t waste ‘please’ or ‘thanks’ with him. We are only working on functional at this stage of life),” she wrote.
Chrissy watched and described feeling like everything was in slow motion as her child stood, walked into the kitchen, and paused. “I hold my breath. I watch him intently as he opens the utensil drawer. I can see his wheels turning,” she wrote. “He walks back into the family room and lays this down in front of me like it’s no big deal. But to me, it is everything.” #baby #babyproducts