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.