When the Program is Right

It just dawned on me that my daughter now uses a fork when she eats. I’m not exactly sure how long this has been happening but I noticed it the other day while I was watching her eat dinner. This is a big thing. For years and years she would hold her fork in one hand and use her other hand to pick up her food and eat. For years and years not a dinner would go by that one of us didn’t say, “Use your fork.” We tried working on it when she was younger but nothing ever seemed to help. I think finally we just gave up.

So how did this happen all of a sudden? It certainly wasn’t us. I’m going to go with my gut on this one and give the credit to the program she is currently in at school. I chalk it up to the fact that they are always eating together either out in the community or in their “practice apartment” at school. Maybe she sees her peers using a fork. Perhaps she would rather use her hand but knows it’s “inappropriate”. Maybe she just got so used to using her fork at school she now uses it at home. Whatever the case is we’ll take it.

To most people it might not seem like something to celebrate but using a fork is a really big deal. And that’s why we know she is in the right program. These “big deal” things are happening. Things like rinsing her dish off in the sink and folding her clothes are happening more and more at home. These moments come unexpectedly and catch us off guard. We stop what we are doing and watch her. She doesn’t even realize that she is doing them, she just does them. Sometimes you don’t realize how far your child has come until you start noticing all of the little things that they have accomplished.

Finding the right program for your child will leave you awake at night wondering if you made the right decision. But when the program is right you know it. When the program is right all of those trivial little things like using a fork start to happen. Your child might not be writing essays or doing algebra but if they are learning and mastering skills specific to their needs the program is right.

There have been times when my daughter was in a wrong program. Those days were hell on earth. Only a parent that has been through it can understand it. Its those wrong placements however that make you more determined to make sure your child is in the right place. I have learned to work hard with my daughter’s teachers to make sure she is making progress and that there is constant communication between us. If your school is not communicating with you perhaps you should look more closely into your child’s program.

We are fortunate that my daughter is in the right placement for the moment.This eating with a fork lets us know. Eating with a fork at home wasn’t even a goal we were working on. I credit it to being in the right program at the right time. It’s doing the same mundane little tasks that often go unnoticed every day that eventually turn into big things. It takes a long time and a tremendous amount of patience for things to start to happen especially at home. When the program is right however, the consistency, expectations, and whole team effort, day after day, month after month, year after year reap results.

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