Catechesis for Persons with Disabilities: Serving Children with Special Needs

Authored by Sr. M. Johanna Paruch in Issue #2.4 of The Catechetical Review

In this issue, we specifically look at catechesis for children from four to thirteen years old. In the next issue of The Catechetical Review we will include high school age students with adults.

Children

In all our discussions regarding persons with disabilities, we continuously repeat that our attitude must be that of Christ. In essence that means that we must love. Jesus loved children: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Mt 19:14). He also tells us, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”(Mt 18:3).

We can anticipate having children with many different disabilities in our catechetical programs. The most common disability will be some sort of cognitive difficulty or challenges in reading comprehension. Many of us will see a child who is somewhere on the autism spectrum. Volunteer catechists who have received little training in addressing these special needs may balk at having such a child in their class because they feel ill prepared for such a challenge. This is understandable. Yet Jesus tells us to let the children come. He included no limits or qualifications. Consequently, we should make sure all catechists receive basic training in catechesis for children with special needs. Fundamentally, however, catechists must possess great love for the Lord and great love for the children.

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This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

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