Special Needs children and our Faith


I am a mother of two Sons with special needs. They have Autism. I was just wondering if there was anywhere in the scriptures or the writings of the saints passages and wisdom to encourage me and my family in our walk of faith and dealing with Special needs.
any suggestions are appreciated!
God love you!
Maria Rose


there are several saints who struggled with physical and mental disabilities, and lived at times when they were persecuted because of them. St. Joseph Labre and St. Margaret Castello come to mind.

I will offer something from my own area of expertise. All children have a right to approach the sacraments at the age designated by their bishop. All children without exception should be baptized and confirmed. A child whose disability may threaten to shorten lifespan should be confirmed as soon as possible, especially if facing surgery, health crisis etc. As far as first communion, what is required is physical capacity to receive (swallow etc.), and understanding according to his capability of the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread and wine, knowledge according to his capacity of who Jesus is and desire to receive Jesus. This knowledge can be expressed non-verbally to those who care for him and can interpret this. The US bishops have a letter on this topic, if your parish gives you a hard time you might want to suggest they read it.

Whether or not your child participates in RE classes depends on the child and the resources of the parish, certainly homeschooling is always an option. If the child can otherwise benefit from association with other children he should participate for that reason. If his condition is such that for whatever reason a classroom setting is not a good idea, then he can be homeschooled in whatever manner you find successfuly for his other training.

Depending on the severity of the autism, the child may never reach a point where he has the use of reason to the extent of recognizing sin and being capable of wilfully sinning. Or he may never reach the stage of being able to receive Eucharist becaues of behavioral or other physical issues. That will be discerned with the parents and those who care for him, and his condition may change over time. But there is no reason to delay baptism and confirmation. These children can benefit fully from the sacraments, because in them the Holy Spirit works in ways beyond the intellect, emotions etc. to a depth we cannot appreciate or even understand.


Hi puzzleannie,
My children are all baptised and my oldest son received his First Holy Communion. My other two start preparation in the fall. I was just wondering about scripture passages or saints that may have written on the subject.
God bless.:slight_smile:


The Lord does not ask us to close our eyes in the face of infirmity. It is very real, and we must have a clear knowledge of it. He asks us to look more deeply, to believe that in these suffering bodies beats not only human life with all its dignity and its rights but also by virtue of baptism, the divine life, the marvelous life of the children of God. If to the external eyes of men you appear weak and infirm, before God you are great and luminious in your existence.

There is yet another important reality that Jesus reveals to us

In human society, powerful, cultivated people occupy the positions of authority and are more visible; in the Kingdom of God, on the other hand, the opposite happens, the first and the greatest, Jesus tells us, are the children the weak the poor the suffering. The ways of God are disturbing to mankind. St Paul says: “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”

This truth which leaves us bewildered, becomes comprehensible if we look at the example of Jesus. Jesus was not content with revealing to us the mystery of suffering. He gave us the most convincing answer by taking our weaknesses upon himself, becoming the Man of sorrow who is acquainted with suffering.

when we ask God, then: Why must this innocent suffer? God, in turn, asks us a question: Do you not see me in your brother who suffers? And what will you do for me and for Him?

Pope John Paul II
at Rome Institute Don Guanella

this was quoted from the book “The private prayers of PJPII The loving heart”

It has help me alot with my mother who is suffering the whole book is short talks he has given on suffering. You should get It.

And if you know it or not you are very blesses.


I couldn’t find this to make another observation because I was looking in the wrong forum. These children with special needs can be saints and in fact some of the saints I have met through my work have been such children. They are also fantastic evangelizers, even and especially the non-verbal ones. If I find out any more on saints will post. God bless you and your family.


One more

Be assured that you are not alone. God is never far from those who suffer. If you know how to find him, then you will experience him. The highest value in human life is nearness to God. Now, suffering, even if it seems intolerable, puts us in the best position to assess the poverty of earthly goods and discover the ineffable riches of God. And then suffering is transformed into an element of strength and a source of joy.

Thus whoeve3r learns to suffer in the love of God is not alienated from life but helps enrich the world!

You see: I have come among you to remind you of this, and I would like to say it again to all the sick people of the world. I have come to ask for the contribution of your prayers and the precious offering of your daily cross, to help the world of men become more human and more Christian.

I have come to say also to those who take such loving care of you in various capacities, that their work too though often ignored, is written indelibly in the book of God. Nothing will go unrewarded.

Treviso June 16, 1985


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