Monday, September 26, 2011

Preparing Child with Autism for Sacraments

The Rizzo family of Marlton, N.J., had to work harder than most to prepare their daughter Danielle for first Communion. Dave and Mercedes knew Danielle would never quite understand the sacrament the way other children did because she has autism.
“It was very important to us that she made her sacraments around the same age as the other children,” said Mercedes. “At the same time, it was important that she was really ready.”
The only available catechetical materials were very verbal and included complex concepts that could never properly be conveyed to someone with autism. “They weren’t geared towards children like Danielle who are not verbal,” explained Dave. “She required something very concrete like she used in other areas of learning. Children with autism and similar disabilities are very pictoral in the way they think. Their understanding is visual, not language-based.”

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