Chrissy, from California, US, who blogs at Life with Greyson and Parker, explained that the moment represented just how far eight-year-old Greyson had come.
The mum credited his progress to using Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), a therapy to increase desired behaviours and reduce behaviours that harm learning.
Research shows that ABA can be effective for children with autism when used intensively (30-40 hours per week).
Speaking about the fork, Chrissy wrote on Facebook on Monday 3 July: “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 continued: “ABA has given us life.
“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.”
The mum went through the process of how long it took her son to process firstly, what a fork is, secondly, what it was used for, and thirdly, how to get it.
“At two years old, he was taught categories,” she explained. “Real-life items and then pictures that he had to sort.
“He learned ‘fork’ from the real item, and also from flash cards. First receptively (‘hand me fork’) and then expressively (‘What is it?’ ‘Fork’.)
“Then he had to learn rooms in our house. Over and over and over again (‘Go to kitchen’, ‘Where is family room?’) Over and over and over. Repetition.
“And then following directions, and then two-step directions. It’s so hard for him to keep more than one step in his mind at a time.”
The night she wrote the post, Chrissy said she needed a fork for her dinner, but didn’t want to get up “for the 800th time”.
“So with hope in my heart, I turned to him and said: ‘Go get mum fork’,” she wrote.
“And in slow motion, he goes to the kitchen and pauses. I hold my breath. I watch him intently as he opens the utensil drawer.
“I can see his wheels turning. 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.”
“Tonight I handed my four-year-old his dinner plate and he said ‘thank you’ in exchange,” one mum wrote. “I almost cried. I’ve been saying: ‘Say thank you’ as I hand him stuff since he was two.”
Another wrote: “This is amazing and has brought tears to my eyes! I remember when my daughter first started to understand her ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’ and I was so happy for her. Keep going, you’re doing an amazing job.”