Before autism entered my life, I thought children either spoke, or didn’t speak. They either understood, or they didn’t, but the fact is that there are about a million miniscule steps between a non-verbal and a fully verbal child.
If a child can recite entire movies verbatim, but understands none of it, is that speech? If she can meaningfully use a handful of single words, is that speech? Or if he, like my son, can effectively use a mixture of words and simple phrases to convey basic wants and needs, but not to gather information or express ideas, is that speech? This is the dilemma of the spectrum parent.
I remember sitting in a fourth-row pew shortly after Luke’s diagnosis at age two. Back then, the lows where very, very low, but the highs were limitless. I’ll shamefully admit that I was doing a little daydreaming at church that Sunday – living out a beautiful fantasy in my mind. It went something like this:
It was Luke’s five-year birthday week. Confidently, with tears of joy streaming, I strode with my husband to the podium at the front of the church, and shared testimony of how God had healed my son. As a finale, Luke joined us at the altar, demonstrating his abilities by answering questions and being just as typical as any five-year-old boy.
Indeed, I did believe that with a couple of years of intensive therapy, we might be able to walk away unscathed, and close the chapter of autism in our lives.
A couple of weeks ago at my church, Tom shared a personal story. He and his wife recently embarked on a ski trip after weeks of careful planning. It was no sooner than they got to their destination, that Tom fell ill. Many prayers were lifted up for Tom’s healing and he was healed – the day he arrived home.
Whatever the challenges we face, God promises that all of His people will be healed. It may happen miraculously in the very moment we ask. It may happen gradually over time. Or, it may happen the day we arrive home, and when you really think about it, is that any less of a miracle?