Catechesis for Children with Special Needs
Ever since we were founded by Fr. James Zatalava in 2004, CatechismClass.com has been serving adults and children with special needs. Not everyone learns at the same pace or in the same way. Not all religious education can be taught in the same way and at the same pace. Students with autism, dyslexia, or even physical disabilities cannot always follow the same outlines and schedules as those without such challenges.
The Benefits of Online Special Needs Religious Education:
- Those with certain learning disabilities need to learn at a slower pace. And there is nothing wrong with this. Such students need to have formation built around this. Online education allows students to study at their own pace without the stigma of taking too long.
- Those with autism also need to have a religious education program that is incorporated into their own schedule and routine. In-person religious education programs are ordinarily not designed to allow children with autism ease at this. Thankfully, online education allows them to learn in their own environment and on their own schedule. Parents of children with autism will attest to the importance of this.
- Those with learning challenges like dyslexia need programs that are adapted to their needs so that they may learn at their pace, without intimidation from peers, and in a way that ensures they are learning the same truths in a way and manner that works for them. Our online RCIC course for instance is utilized by many adults with learning disabilities who are not able to take part in the standard Adult Faith Formation Program.
Christ desires for all mankind to come to the knowledge of the Truth and the Sacraments of salvation which are found in the Catholic Church. Our mission is to become “all things to all men” in the words of St. Paul, so that we may save as many souls as possible. Online education, such as the courses put together by our organization, have made it possible over the years for hundreds of special needs children to receive their Sacraments and to further their own faith formation. Whether you are looking for online RCIA or children’s catechesis for doctrinal formation or for Sacramental Preparation, our courses have been used by a number of special needs students.
Explore our course offerings and if you are looking for resources for anyone with special needs, please reach out directly to us. We are happy to help point you to the best resources for the given situation.
Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, June 16, 1995:
8. Through the sacrament of baptism the faithful are incorporated into Christ and into his Church. They are formed into God's people and obtain forgiveness of all their sins. They become a new creation and are called, rightly, the children of God. (Rite of Christian Initiation, General Introduction, n. 1).
9. Because it is the sacrament of universal salvation, baptism is to be made available to all who freely ask for it, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving it. Baptism may be deferred only when there is no reason for hoping that the person will be brought up in the Catholic religion (Canon 868, sect. 1, n. 2). Disability, of itself, is never a reason for deferring baptism. Persons who lack the use of reason are to be baptized provided at least one parent or guardian consents to it (Canons 868, sect. 1, n. 1 and 852).
10. So that baptism may be seen as a sacrament of the Church's faith and of admittance into the people of God, it should be celebrated ordinarily in the parish church on a Sunday or, if possible, at the Easter Vigil (Canons 856 and 857). The Church, made present in the local community, has an important role to play in the baptism of all of its members. Before and after the celebration of the sacrament, the baptized have the right to the love and help of the community (Cf. Rite of Baptism for Children, nn. 4, 10).
11. Either personally or through others, the pastor is to see to it that the parents of an infant who is disabled, or those who take the place of the parents, are properly instructed as to the meaning of the sacrament of baptism and the obligations attached to it. If possible, either the pastor or a member of the parish community should visit with the family, offering them the strength and support of the community which rejoices at the gift of new life, and which promises to nurture the faith of its newest member. It is recommended that preparation programs for baptism gather several families together so that they may commonly be formed by pastoral direction and prayer, and so that they may be strengthened by mutual support (Canon 851, n. 2).
12. If the person to be baptized is of catechetical age, the Rite of Christian Initiation may be adapted according to need (Cf. canons 851, n. 1 and 852, sect. 1).
13. A sponsor is to be chosen who will assist the newly baptized in Christian initiation. Sponsors have a special role in fostering the faith life of the baptized person. As such, they are to be chosen and prepared accordingly. Persons with disabilities may be sponsors for these sacraments of initiation.