A reader wrote me this morning asking about how her daughter with autism could possibly make communion or be confirmed in the Catholic faith. I've done quite a bit of research on this subject for a book I'm writing.
The good news is that there are quite a few resources available to you and your parish to help your child prepare for communion and confirmation. The bad news is that those resources are not well-disseminated, so it may be up to you, the parent, to find and share them.
Overall, the suggestion is that you start with your local parish - but if the religious education director is not receptive to your child, or feels he/she has no resources to support your needs, it makes sense to proceed to the diocesan level. Call and ask for the person in charge of special needs ministry. That individual should be able to provide you not only with written and possibly video or visual resources, but also with suggestions for parishes and services that will accomodate your child and your family.
There are quite a few resources on the web; a few places to check out:
- http://www.familyvillage.wisc.edu/worship.htm (a page filled with links for all denominations)
If you're a Catholic family with a child on the autism spectrum, share your experiences, hints and tips for success. What works? What doesn't? Where should parents go for the best possible support?