An interpersonal relationship is always a mystery, all the more so when that relationship is between God and the child with special needs. We believe that there is a deep bond between God and the child which produces in the child the desire to draw nearer to God. The catechist’s role is to prepare the environment and to give selected presentations from scripture and liturgy that “call forth” the child’s response rather than “pours in” information. The catechist listens with the child and together they ask, “God, who are you? How do you love us?” Catechists receive in-depth training in to how best serve the spiritual needs of every child.
The Atrium (or prepared environment) is one of the elements that helps the relationship between God and the child to flourish. The atrium can be compared to a retreat house facilitating recollection and silence. The atrium is a place of meaningful work through which the child can have a conversation with God. This environment has shown a great capacity to serve many children with various disabilities.
The materials in the atrium are often three-dimensional wood representations of a particular scripture or are items that represent what can be found in Baptism or Eucharist. They are attractively displayed and invite the children to explore and deepen their experience of the presentation at their own rhythm and with in their own capacities and abilities. The most important characteristic of the materials is their close link to the biblical and liturgical sources. The shelves might include maps of Israel and miniature environments representing the elements of the parables or the historical events from the infancy or paschal narratives that have been shown to satisfy the spiritual needs of the child. The model altar and its articles convey the centrality of the Eucharist. The Baptismal font and other liturgical items initiate the child into the liturgical life of the church. The materials help make the child to more deeply enter into reflection and prayer at their own pace and rhythm.
All children deserve an opportunity to discover our faith and build a relationship with God. Loyola Press supports families by making faith formation available to children with autism and other special challenges.
Meaningful catechesis:Adaptive Finding God provides catechists, teachers, and parents with the tools and guidance to offer meaningful catechesis and sacrament preparation for all children.
Multisensory learning: Loyola Learning Tools™ enhance lessons by serving children’s different strengths and abilities.
Builds on strengths: Our programs respect children and those who serve them by recognizing and building on each child’s gifts and providing support to build on strengths.
Based on the pastoral statement from our Bishops, teachers of religion and catechists are encouraged to differentiate catechesis based on the needs of the individual learner especially persons with disabilities. RCL Benziger is committed to providing catechetical resources to support the ongoing faith formation of the People of God.
Blest Are We Faith in Action edition for grades K-8 supports the catechist throughout the entire program year through the teacher/catechist guide by,
All Are Welcome, an article that identifies ways to engage the learner with disabilities and their families to accommodate needs, respecting each person, and assessing the needs, while also providing additional resources
Lesson Planning in every grade, for every chapter throughout the series that identifies ways to address special needs for that lesson
Special Needs and Multiple Intelligences Teaching Tips are available for each chapter to assist the catechist in differentiating lessons
Blest Are We Faith and Word and Be My Disciples for grades 1-8 both address ways to address the special needs of children throughout the catechist guides
Both the Blest Are We and Be My Disciples series are available as eBooks for additional digital support. Through our partnership with several braille publishing companies, our textbooks are also available in braille.
Our catechetical resources, especially for children, are visually rich in both images and design helping the learner to process the knowledge and experiences of the Catholic faith through visuals and color before the text. This can assist in the learning process and the retention of new concepts in faith formation. There are a range of activities as part of the print resources and digitally to assist both the learner and the catechist in processing key concepts so that the learner may grow in the knowledge of the faith while he/she continues to grow in his/her relationship with God.
We Believe Catholic Identity Edition for Parishes and Schools
The proven and comprehensive catechetical program presenting sound lessons while integrating prayer, liturgy, retreats, Catholic identity and social teaching. Including:
Adaptive support that meets the needs of diverse learners and those with special needs included in each chapter
A FREE comprehensive 63-page Diverse Learners Index, addressing the needs of diverse learners
Sacraments: Gifts for All Resource Binder
A rich reference for teachers to use when preparing students with disabilities for Eucharist. This book has Scripture stories using pictures and minimum wording to illustrate the heart of Christ's message. Also included are hints for effectively reaching students, questions to consider, concept words, visual, auditory and kinesthetic activities, and a resource list of supplemental publications related to these topics
Student edition Catechetical resources include "All About Mass" and "Who is Jesus." Both of these resources are available in Spanish.