Communion is such a sacred part of the Christian tradition, and one of the most difficult to grasp! For children who struggle with abstract language, mastering higher-level concepts and sequencing, this sacrament can prove difficulty. In addition, sitting still and remaining quiet are awfully difficult requirements for some children with special needs.
A young man named Brendan Rizzo has some personal knowledge of how hard this can be: his sister, Danielle, has autism. Brendan developed this kit as part of his Eagle Scout project, and Loyola Press published it. The kit contains a short picture book called I Receive Communion, a picture schedule for mass, picture cards for communication, three puzzles to reinforce the concepts and symbols associated with communion, a card explaining “Who Is Jesus?” and a Helper’s Guide.
Here are some reasons to love this resource:
- Fabulous visuals. Many children with and without disabilities are able to better process information visually.
- The I Receive Communion book is written is in a straightforward manner, allowing children to know what to expect.
- The Picture Missal, which provides a schedule for mass, will help children learn the order of worship, as well as calm any anxiety about “how much longer” they’ll need to sit; the pictures very clearly show all components of the service.
- The communication cards will make it easy for students who need a break or a reminder to be successful during the worship time.
- The tools help people with disabilities meet the requirements necessary in the Catholic Church to receive the sacrament of communion; this is a very important milestone for families who observe the Catholic traditions
- At the back of the Helper’s Guide are two pages of helpful tips for supporting students with disabilities at church.
- This kit can be modified for use in a variety of denominations!
The best reason to love this resource is the heart of the student who made it. In The Helper’s Guide, you’ll learn this: “Brendan noticed that during the Eucharists celebration, the priest says the words, ‘Take this, all of you, and eat of it.’ Brendan wants Danielle and other children like her to be part of that ‘all.'”
If you know a family or church program that could benefit from this tool, please visit the Loyola Press website to learn more!