Observing my nine-year-old son fixated on a record going round and round on a turntable, I knew there was so much more of him waiting to break through his blank stare. There were love and intelligence that somehow could be unleashed. Discovering how to draw out these inner qualities was a journey of faith and perseverance for my husband Joel and me. Thank God, there were wonderful, dedicated people who joined us on our journey: my mother and father, tutors, and many of our friends.
Thirty-eight years ago, when I was pregnant with Micah, I started Unity classes with Rev. Margarette Meyer in San Jose, California. I learned about them from Daily Word, Unity Magazine and the Silent Unity prayer ministry, and they became an important part of my spiritual growth that I continue today. With my introduction to Unity, my life became one of prayer and meditation that gave me the strength to be there for my son.
Early on, we noticed that Micah could not hold his head up quite right, and he seemed to have a lazy eye, which was constantly off center. He never crawled, just scooted, but began to walk at thirteen months. By age three, he could say only a few words, never forming a sentence, and his behavior became like that of a “terrible two.”
Joel and I took Micah to one doctor after another: none could diagnose what was wrong. They said he had minimum brain dysfunction, was legally blind in the left eye, and had poor vision in his right eye. Yet his IQ was in the normal range for his age.
Although Micah wasn’t diagnosed with autism until he was eighteen, there had been early indicators. When Micah was nine, he attended a special school. An aide told us that she believed there were indications that Micah might be autistic. He would fixate on a spinning object or knock down the same toy over and over. He wouldn’t listen to anyone.
I felt so frustrated because there seemed to be no answer as to how we could help Micah. Rev. Meyer encouraged me to search within my own soul for strength: “You know that you know the truth about Micah.” She encouraged me to give life the light touch, which meant: bring all into the light of God.
She told me to smile when the doctors said things such as “Micah will never learn to read,” or “If he does, he won’t understand what he reads.” She said, “Never let a word of negativity about Micah take up residence in your mind. Let it flow over your head and past you. Rely on your inner spirit, for it is pure and one with the Truth.”
In 1980, when Micah was nine, we moved to Munich, Germany, where we found a wonderful tutor. Ermgard Pick was our saving grace. She told us about a patterning program one of her students had gone through. This boy had had a quarter of his brain removed and was in a state of nonawareness until he went through this patterning program. He improved so much that he was able to attend special education classes and walk using a walker.
Joel and I drove to Verona, Italy, to learn more about this program. During the week we were there, Micah was evaluated by a team that included a neurologist, family counselor, therapist, physical therapist, and an occupational therapist. Joel and I were trained in the program. They sent us home with a regimen of exercises and a special diet for Micah. Joel was more than skeptical about the program actually working.
Having only been in a foreign country a short time, we needed to find volunteers to help us carry out this program. Even before we started, however, special equipment had to be built. My dad, who was a carpenter, flew over from the States and built the equipment, exactly to specifications: a patterning table and overhanging ladder. Then my mom came to help us for several months.
Micah had an international group helping him: German, French, Welch, American, Portuguese. It took five people, one at each limb and one working at Micah’s head. We would move his body as if he were swimming in a basic crawl pattern. This exercised his eyes and body at the same time, telling the brain to make a new connection.
Moving Forward on Faith
Thanks to what I had learned from Unity, I moved forward on faith. Joel thought the program was a bit hokey until one day he noticed that Micah was improving. Joel came running from Micah’s room, shouting “It works! It works!”
Micah did everything we asked of him— wearing Velcro on his feet as he walked on a pad, he learned to lift his feet so that he would walk, not shuffle. He used the overhead ladder, gaining two inches in his chest and the ability to breathe deeply.
Micah got progressively better and better. We were amazed at how fast his vision and breathing improved. His vocabulary increased by leaps and bounds, and he talked in a stream of words.
As we were riding in our car one day, I said, “Oh, Micah, look at that beautiful rainbow!” He looked and said, “That’s not a rainbow. That’s a sunbow.” “Yes, you’re right, Micah, you’re right. That is a sunbow.”
We did two sessions five hours a day, six days a week. After ten months, we were told that Micah had come as far as he probably would with the program.
The next step was to involve Micah in sports activities—basketball, swimming, tennis—or to learn to play a musical instrument. When we moved from Munich to Hong Kong, Micah began tennis and swimming. These kinds of activities would continue to reinforce the connection between his body and brain.
We moved to Washington State in 2004. A few years earlier, Micah received a gift he had wanted for a long time: a tiny fluffy dog. Little did we know what a gift from God Micah’s dog Jack would actually turn out to be.
Micah had had epileptic seizures for years, so we kept a monitor in his bedroom. On the third night after we brought Jack home, the dog paced back and forth, back and forth. I knew he was uneasy about something. After a while, we went to bed but later were awak¬ened by Micah’s moaning: he was having a grand mal seizure. We felt sure that Jack’s pacing earlier in the evening had been his sensing that the seizure was about to happen.
Jack has developed that gift over the years. He sleeps on our bed now, and when Micah has a seizure during the night, Jack will fly off the bed and run to Micah. If he doesn’t wake us up when he bounces off our bed, Jack returns and barks until we do wake up. When we go to our son, we find Jack licking his ear, which seems to bring Micah around more quickly. Another blessing is that Micah’s seizures have become less and less frequent.
Micah is now thirty-seven years old. He reads, understands what he reads, and loves to share his knowledge with others. His favorite interest is cars: he has read all the brochures of the different makes. Micah knows the year, type of engine, and the special features of every car.
Our life with Micah has been an adventure in faith. Joel and I start each day anew, hoping for improvements, but happy with the status quo. We continue to love him and know that God’s goodness provides our every need and opens the way for us when there seems to be no way. We know that we know the truth: Micah’s spirit was, is, and will forever be perfect and whole.