I was born with a severe hearing impairment on my left ear. But it wasn’t until I was three years old when my parents realised I couldn’t speak.
Normally, kids will start babbling at around two, but I had no words. It was more grunting sounds. That’s when they discovered my speech disability.
My parents brought me to every doctor, speech therapist and specialist available. They all came to the same conclusion along the lines of: “Your son will never be able to speak. Get ready to take care of him for the rest of his life.”
As there was nothing else my parents could do, they decided to pray for me every day.
They also had to teach me themselves. They had to start from scratch because I couldn’t even count from one to five.
And when I couldn’t reply to simple questions, they made me memorise the answers. But I would give the wrong answer at times. For example, when people asked “what’s your name”, I would say “I’m four years old”.
I had dyslexia as well. I would see letters inverted like a mirror. And it was inverted in all four directions!
Being rejected from primary school was probably one of my lowest points in my life. Since I could not read or speak, it was very difficult to get accepted into a primary school.
My mum had to homeschool me. Using the Bible and a ruler, she taught me to read word by word and line by line because if I saw too many words at one time, it would get jumbled up in my mind.
In fact, my mum told me that she learnt how to read and write inverted letters while teaching me!
It wasn’t in full sentences, but small words day by day.
When my dad brought me to the same speech therapist who said that I would never do well, she actually told my father: “Mr Ng, this is not your son. The boy you brought a few years ago cannot talk. This one cannot stop talking!”
I was finally accepted into a primary school, one year later than my peers. Even then the principal felt that I wouldn’t be able to cope.
For almost a year, I only went for English classes. My mum would bring me to school and sit in the canteen to wait for the class to be over. Then she would bring me home and work on what the teacher taught me.
True enough, the learning curve was steep because the minute my English teacher turned her back, I couldn’t read her lips and wouldn’t know what she just said.
I spoke slowly and didn’t get most of the instructions because I was still learning how to speak. The friends in primary school didn’t understand, so I was mostly isolated.
Whenever my parents tried to send me for tuition classes, the other parents would come together and tell the teacher to send me out otherwise they would withdraw their children from the class.
But my parents never gave up.
They would pray for me to be healed, speak about my condition positively and declare God’s goodness and faithfulness.
My dad also ingrained in me the importance of scripture. He gave me and my sister Bible memory verses, and I started reciting them when I was able to speak.
One particular verse that I clung onto was from Mark 11:23 (NASB).
It was only in secondary school when I realised what God had done for me. I began to know more about God, and I felt loved by Him.
By then, I had mostly overcome my dyslexia and started to socialise better. I also started to break records.
I came in second in the whole cohort and the first in history and geography. I believe I was able to obtain these awards by meditating on Bible verses and believing in God’s word.
At the end of secondary 4, I was even awarded the model student award in my cohort!
Eventually, I went on to junior college and obtained a scholarship in my second year of university while studying civil engineering.
I went on to become a design engineer at a consultancy, and had to give presentations to clients and coordinate projects.
I was also awarded a scholarship and recently started my PhD studies in January.
By God’s grace, He has healed me.
These days, I have overcome my speech disability. You wouldn’t be able to tell that I was once a kid who could not talk.
I also no longer struggle with dyslexia on a day-to-day basis unless I’m stressed. During those moments, I would then have to focus in order to read the words properly.
The only disability I still have is my hearing impairment. Currently, I’m primarily using my right ear to hear.
If there is one thing I have learnt, it is about doing your best and letting God do the rest. One can only do so much through human means.
If it was not for my family’s support and God, I would not be the person I am today.