Cornelius is the firstborn of Marc and Sophia. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old. Sophia shares how God has worked beautifully in his life, showing the world that Cornelius is not defined by his “special needs” but as a child “special in God’s eyes”.
by Sophia Ng
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Cornelius is our firstborn. Looking after him as a baby was a joy as he slept through the night after his first month and was contented to play independently. However, at 18 months old, Cornelius hardly blabbered unlike toddlers of that age. It was then that a Sunday school teacher advised us to bring him for an assessment.
“Your son may be on the spectrum for autism.” Upon hearing this diagnosis from the child psychologist, worrisome thoughts on whether Cornelius would be able to fend for himself as he grows up crept into our minds.
The early growing up years with Cornelius was challenging but rewarding. There were “ups” when Cornelius made his first sentence and when he first called us “papa and mama”. There were “downs” when we struggled to dress him up for winter as it deviated from the normal clothing he wore. Everything for Cornelius had to be a routine. We endured the stares of disdain by strangers when he threw massive tantrums or screamed in public because he could not communicate what he wanted or when triggered by the sound of the hand dryers in the toilets. Nevertheless, we saw God’s love and mercy on the family through these trying situations. Cornelius was able to develop at his own pace in Germany. He went to a normal school and was well liked by his teachers and peers. By all regards, he was a happy and loving boy.
We are also very thankful to the COR Sunday School teachers, specifically Lee Lee, Brenda and Jerome who lovingly spent time to teach Cornelius and ensuring that he participates in the activities with their support.
Through it all, we learnt that Cornelius is indeed special—special in God’s eyes.
Sophia is happily married to Marc Liew and they have 2 beautiful children, Cornelius, 10 and Chloe, 2. They attend the Sunday Worship Service and have been with COR since 2005.
This article first appeared in Issue 17, November 2017 CHORUS Magazine.