Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Self-feeding is coming along

Andy will be three in one month. Andy will not pick up a piece of food and put it in his mouth. He also will not pick up his water cup on his own. However, if I put his hands on his water cup with straw, he will then lift it off his tray and take a drink. Also, self-feeding with a fork is coming along nicely. If I hand him a fork with food on it, he will grab the fork, and put it into his mouth.

Perhaps Andy thinking, "I would like a drink", then reaching out to grab the cup takes too much brain processing right now. If the cup is in his hands, he will pull it up to his mouth. Several months ago, he would only lower his head a little to get the straw into his mouth while I held it at his mouth. I also had to put his hands on the cup first, then put my hands over his hands, and lift the cup with straw up to his mouth about 1,000 times. This is called hand-over-hand training. It involves muscle memory of a certain action due to performing it over and over again.

For a long time, Andy would not maintain a grasp on his cup more than half a second. He would immediately let it go, and forget about it. The same was true with the fork. He would pick it up, but then immediately drop it. We returned to the fork time and time again, but he just wasn't ready. Recently, I started seeing him grab onto the fork and hold it for 20 seconds or so. I started pressing the issue again with hand-over-hand fork holding. It seemed to be registering this time, around 34 months old. This time it was different, because he was actually attempting to guide the fork into his mouth. He is also maintaining his grasp long enough to get the fork into his mouth. He will either put the fork back on the tray, or throw it on the floor.

Next, we will have to work on getting him to pick up the water, or the fork, off of the tray himself. I expect this will take months as well. Andy finally seemed ready to grab things when handed to him. I just think his brain was ready to do this. I don't really attribute it to any length of occupational therapy, because we've been at this for well over a year and a half now. I honestly just think his brain was ready on its own time.

At first I was surprised that Andy's fine motor is starting to come along more quickly than his gross motor has been. I thought he would need to be near walking, in order to start self-feeding. However, I see small 3-6 month old babies eating crackers in their car seats all the time at mom-to-mom sales. These babies are nowhere near walking, but could be crawling.

I do commonly hear that speech comes along with walking, and it does seem to be the case time and time again. All I can hope for now, is for Andy's brain to be able to handle more and more processing of thoughts, and execution of actions each day. I am also very very grateful that he is putting forks with food on them in his mouth. So, so grateful.


  1. I to have a child with developmental delays. I noticed something different when he was 4 months old and he is now almost 6. I understand this roller coaster you are riding. My son crawled at 12 months walked at 2 years and said words at 4 but really talked at 5. He is still significantly delayed. He is a twin his sister is "normal" I have 2 other children who all developed normally. My son also had exotropia however he had surgery at 16 months to correct this. My best advice is go with your gut, don't be afraid to ask or insist. I often say to doctors "This may sound crazy but..." You know him the best. Push him when he needs to be pushed but let loose when he needs a break.....The most frustrating thing for me is there is no book for this, your doctor can't say well this is what your child has and here is how to fix it. No you are going step by step figuring out or trying to figure things out never knowing if or when you ever will. You are not alone and it was refreshing fo me to see I am not alone. You seem to be doin a great job!