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  #1  
Old Nov 25, '10, 9:58 pm
jen81677 jen81677 is offline
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Question Religious education for special needs child

Hi Everyone!

Here is my situation. I have a son with various learning and developmental disabilities. He attended religious education classes through second grade and received First Communion. I was very disappointed in their method of teaching. Part of his disability is that he doesn't understand what is being told to him (he is in all special ed classes at school) and at that time, he couldn't really read yet...just knew the alphabet and such.

Over the past years, his learning skills have improved but he is still on a mid/upper elementary learning level. After his completion of second grade CCD, per the agreement of our priest, I chose not to continue his religious education. The priest agreed that due to his disabilities he was not learning anything, he wasn't absorbing it...the teachers were basically making him memorize things just to take a test and pass him on. He recommended that when my son was at a more advanced level, to look into religious education for him...what form would depend on how old he was when I felt the time was right.

I have recently heard that there is a program called Sp.R.Ed (Special Religious Education) and would be interested in getting information about it. However, I am having trouble getting information from our Archdiocese. I was just wondering if anyone has heard of this program. The churches in our area do not offer it. I am curious if this is a program that I could "homeschool" him with.

The one and only year that he actually absorbed something (little that it was) was the one year that taught his class (1st grade)...I think what helped was that I insisted on a second teacher because there was another child in our class that was a little slower as well (I had to point this out to the principal). The other teacher and I would switch off and take turns going around the room to give the kids more attention.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Be Blessed!
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  #2  
Old Nov 26, '10, 9:14 am
FCEGM FCEGM is offline
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Join Date: January 15, 2005
Posts: 6,022
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Religious education for special needs child

Quote:
Originally Posted by jen81677 View Post
Hi Everyone!

Here is my situation. I have a son with various learning and developmental disabilities. He attended religious education classes through second grade and received First Communion. I was very disappointed in their method of teaching. Part of his disability is that he doesn't understand what is being told to him (he is in all special ed classes at school) and at that time, he couldn't really read yet...just knew the alphabet and such.

Over the past years, his learning skills have improved but he is still on a mid/upper elementary learning level. After his completion of second grade CCD, per the agreement of our priest, I chose not to continue his religious education. The priest agreed that due to his disabilities he was not learning anything, he wasn't absorbing it...the teachers were basically making him memorize things just to take a test and pass him on. He recommended that when my son was at a more advanced level, to look into religious education for him...what form would depend on how old he was when I felt the time was right.

I have recently heard that there is a program called Sp.R.Ed (Special Religious Education) and would be interested in getting information about it. However, I am having trouble getting information from our Archdiocese. I was just wondering if anyone has heard of this program. The churches in our area do not offer it. I am curious if this is a program that I could "homeschool" him with.

The one and only year that he actually absorbed something (little that it was) was the one year that taught his class (1st grade)...I think what helped was that I insisted on a second teacher because there was another child in our class that was a little slower as well (I had to point this out to the principal). The other teacher and I would switch off and take turns going around the room to give the kids more attention.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Be Blessed!
jen, my daughter (37 yrs. old with Down syndrome) participates in the SPRED program at our parish. It's an excellent program and she absolutely loves attending the sessions. Each participant has his or her personal "friend" who assists in the instruction. The participants are grouped according to age. Our pastor is greatly supportive of SPRED. The program was started in the Archdiocese of Chicago; this link will lead you to more information:

http://www.spred.org/

The program at our parish was the first in the Diocese of Charlotte, but can now be found at some other parishes in the diocese.
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  #3  
Old Nov 26, '10, 3:07 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Join Date: September 7, 2004
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Default Re: Religious education for special needs child

bear in mind those who helped your child prepare for first communion are probably volunteers, parents like yourself, doing the best they could. I strongly advise parents of special needs children to provide whatever extra support their child receives in the school classroom for CCD as well, or to be there themselves, especially if there is a need for extra interpretation, translation etc. as it is simply beyond the capabilities of one catechist, unless we are fortunate to have a volunteer with special ed background.

that being said, the Archdiocese of Chicago website has a link to Spred and it is excellent, and there are resources for home schooling

may I make my plea to all parents who do have special abilities in dealing with special needs children, gained by caring for their own, to consider volunteering as catechists or classroom aides in their own parish RE programs, you are desperately needed, especially your compassion and sensitivity to those needs.
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  #4  
Old Nov 26, '10, 8:33 pm
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HAnne HAnne is offline
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Join Date: October 23, 2010
Posts: 244
Religion: Catholic - RCIA
Default Re: Religious education for special needs child

If you don't have access to SpREd in your area, I would highly recommend some of the great homeschooling materials out there for religious education. I have a son who is both gifted and special needs and they have been a real blessing for our family.

Pope John Paul II himself recognized that we, as parents, are the primary educators of our children in his 1994 Letter to Families. If she learned best from you in the first place for her religious education, please don't be afraid to continue her religious education at home and ask for help when needed from someone at your parish.
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