Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Labels (01/05/04)
TITLE: Shattered Dreams?
By Corinne Smelker
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I knew she was right, but this is my baby! Autism? Not my child! Is that every parent’s nightmare? It was mine. My heart sank as I realized she had voiced my worst fear. “What if I can’t handle it?”
“Perhaps he’s just a late bloomer. After all, he’s our fifth child right? And my fourth child in three years, maybe he isn’t getting the attention he needs?” These thoughts raced through my mind as I drove home rehearsing my speech to Terry.
However, ever since Carson was 10 months old, we noticed his interaction with us had diminished, as had his eye contact, and he was aggressive. Terry and I decided to get him examined. But, the answers were the same. “He could be a late bloomer.” and “Children all develop differently.” We let it slide for a while, after all Carson was only a year old.
Eventually when Carson was 18 months old, my doctor took me seriously, especially when I explained how he had to watch the same video repeatedly. How at dinnertime the fan captivated him. How he would lean against the washer for hours at a time feeling the vibrations. How he sucked his shirts until they had holes…
“I think it’s best to send him to the MIND (Michigan Institute for Neurological Disorders) Clinic,” the doctor said. After a battery of tests, observations and MRI’s, we heard the dreaded label, “Autism”.
Carson was two and a half when we received the neurologist’s report on Tuesday, September 18th 2002. He already attended a class for Autistic children, and we read voraciously about Autism, trying to figure out how to serve Carson’s needs.
Most of all, we prayed. There were times we doubted, and struggled through days of tears. Yet through those times, we would constantly say, “God, You can heal our son, we believe it, help us in our unbelief.”
On Friday, September 22nd 2002, we went to visit another church. We knew a special out-of-town speaker was ministering. He is not only a preacher but has a prophetic ministry.
“Teach us to Pray” was the sermon that night — I’ll never forget it! During ministry time he turned to us and said, “...one of your children is a concern for you; you are concerned about one of your kids; you worry about your child. And God says ‘It’s OK. I’m going to take care of all those things, every disability, every handicap, I’ll take care of it all, I’ll take care of it — I will do it, it’s not your concern, it’s my kid too. I’ll take care of them.’ That’s God’s promise to you.”
I sat there in shock — not sure whether to laugh or cry! A man who didn’t know us spoke right into the midst of the situation!
From then on, we were living with a different child. He’d only had one word, “Mama” up to that point. By Christmas, his vocabulary expanded to 20! The first time he said, “Juice please” we phoned all our friends, acquaintances and even perfect strangers to tell them the good news. By his third birthday, Carson spoke in full sentences, and had the linguistic abilities of a two year old.
This summer, our family relocated from Michigan to Texas. Based on Carson’s school reports he qualified for a special class of children with developmental delays.
One morning in September 2003, the phone rang.
“Hello, Smelker’s,” I answered.
“Mrs. Smelker, this is Carson’s teacher. Can we have Carson retested?
“Why, what’s wrong?” I asked, squeezing the phone cord in apprehension.
“Well, he is doing so well, we’re not sure whether he fits the label he was given.”
I put the phone down and shouted for joy! God was undertaking on Carson’s behalf!
On October 17th 2003, Terry and I met with the staff who worked Carson.
“Mr. and Mrs. Smelker we find no sign of Autism in Carson. He is a perfectly normal, highly intelligent boy. He can’t stay in this program! We suggest you enroll him in a regular pre-school.”
I’m not sure how, I’m not sure why, but God chose to heal our son. Now, when I look into Carson’s big, blue eyes, I see the healing power of Jesus. Carson is nothing short of a miracle, and no label is too big for God to overcome.