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Old Apr 9, '12, 2:47 pm
momcrom momcrom is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

Thanks for the information! I will definitely take a closer look and try to get some additional info.
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Old Apr 9, '12, 3:12 pm
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Kathryn Ann Kathryn Ann is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

Does your diocese have a Faith Inclusion Network or something like it? Ours does and it's wonderful. Anyone who is challenged in any way can call our FIN representative and ask about the program called "That All May Worship." This includes people of any age who are autistic, people using canes, wheelchairs, with oxygen tanks, etc, and it's all about making everyone welcome. Please check with your parish priest first and see if he directs you to the diocese where you live. They may have similar programs there. If they don't already have these in place, who knows? You may be the one to start the conversation and help many others!
Best wishes!
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Old Apr 9, '12, 5:25 pm
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Allegra Allegra is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

Your son may be too old for this, however, I have a friend who didn't feel that her autistic daughter could make it through her PSR lessons and didn't know what to do. (The lessons were too long and the teachers were volunteers and they weren't very good with her, having no training whatsoever. )She ended up finding out that her daughter's classroom aide at her school was Catholic and taught a PSR class at a different parish that was especially for students with special needs. Since the teacher was a specialist in teaching students on the spectrum, she knew exactly how to gear the lessons to her daughter and so she was able to make her first communion with her class. Now, my friend's daughter was on the more severe end of the spectrum and it sounds like a much different case from your son's, however, you might contact your diocese and see if there isn't already some sort of ministry for kids with autism in your area. (particularly for autistic teens.)
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Old Apr 12, '12, 5:51 am
momcrom momcrom is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

Thanks for all of the suggestions and support!
I think I may also speak to my pastor and see if he has any ideas for me.

Please keep us in your prayers. Thank you
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Old Apr 12, '12, 12:36 pm
Gena Gena is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

I've been reading here for a while, but just joined the forum today.

I want to thank you for this thread. I have an (almost) 8 year old son with Autism and it is difficult to find resources for raising an autistic child in the Catholic faith. My son is preparing to make his First Holy Communion in a few weeks and we have been working very hard with him to get him ready.

We started off having him in the regular Sunday School class, but this year we switched him to home study because he was having a lot of difficulties in mainstream environments (mainstreaming at school did not work out either). Our Religious Education Director has helped me to find and adapt materials to fit his needs and challenges.

At this stage, my son is very excited about the faith and enjoys going to Mass. He is starting to join in the responses and the hymns. But it's helpful to see what issues and challenges might come up at later stages. It is especially good to get the perspective of individuals with Autism.

Again, thank you for this thread.

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Old Apr 12, '12, 12:50 pm
Lovemyfaith Lovemyfaith is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

At my parish we have a pretty big daily Mass attendance. For the past few weeks, maybe months, I have noticed what appears to be several autistic children at daily Mass. Each child is accompanied by a teacher (I don't know exactly the relationship but since I have seen the same child with different adults I don't think the accompanying adult is a parent). The children do not sit together. It seems like there is some method of instruction going on, perhaps just getting the children to follow what the members of the congregation are doing (stand, kneel, etc). Maybe the quiet participation in Mass helps the children. I would never think to ask what is going on, in so much as I wouldn't want anyone to ask me what I was doing there.

I consider it a blessing to see these children at Mass. For whatever reason they are there, their very presence blesses all of us at the Mass.
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Old Jan 25, '13, 7:50 pm
puffmomma4198 puffmomma4198 is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

I understand totally what you are going through and saw this in my own parish so I started a program just for children with Special Nedds. It started 10 years ago with 2 chioldren now we are up to 40 children and young adults.
Our children transition slowly into the Mass routine but it something I encourage .[ BTW] I still am their only Catechist.
It's a lobor of love but when they are able to receive Sacraments at their own pace it's a gift from Heaven!
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Old Jan 25, '13, 10:18 pm
shadowlily shadowlily is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

I'm 13 and have autism (Asperger Syndrome) so maybe I can give a suggestion.
I'm assuming from what you've written that your son is HFA and has normal intelligence. I'm just going to say what might help me although of course for him it might be different.
Instead of trying to argue with him about why he should go to Mass every Sunday, have a conversation with him about the facts about it. Basically, if he trusts you and would want to answer you, ask him what he believes. Why doesn't he think it's necessary to go every Sunday? Ask him that and listen to what he says. If it's just something like, it's stressful, he's tired, he doesn't want to go, then ask him if he really believes in Catholicism and that the Church teaches that it's an obligation.
A lot of teenagers doubt their faith; that's definitely not an autism thing. Personally though, I really don't want to experience how badly my mom would react if I told her I don't believe in Catholicism anymore, so if she asked me I wouldn't tell her. If you have a good relationship, however, I would very strongly suggest really having a conversation with him about what he believes. At his age I'm sure he's thought about it.
Of course, he might not be doubting his faith or anything; he might just not want to go, but still.
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Old Jan 27, '13, 8:35 am
Monicad Monicad is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

Our brothers and sisters with disAbilities need to have their faith nourished! The most important thing I can offer you as a parent of a child with a disAbility is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many parents have walked this road, Jesus Christ knows and loves you and your child and knows exactly what you are going through. Know that your journey may bring heartaches at times and at other times much joy and most of all opportunities to grow in grace and virtue.

Some places to look for resources: National Catholic Partnership on DisAbility (this is a branch of the USCCB)

Also the National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry (NAFIM)

On their websites you can find adapted curriculum, resources, books, DVD's and links to other resources. Please be assured of my prayers, God bless you.
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Old Jul 30, '13, 7:33 am
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: Raising an Autistic child in the Catholic faith

I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to chime in and say thanks for the insights shared. My son has ASD. He's only 4 right now, so much of the road lies in front of us still.
Joe (Average Joe Catholic)

The Catechesis of the Popes
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
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