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Children with Autism-Suggestions for Catechesis

Attend/Participate in Mass; Preparation for First Eucharist and First Reconciliation Suggestions for a child with Autism learning our Catholic faith

Getting to know Jesus – Developing a relationship with Jesus

Who is Jesus?

  • Mary will have a baby, the one everyone is waiting for, Jesus the son of God.

  • John points to Jesus, that he is special and will bring people together.

  • The Baptism of Jesus

What did Jesus teach?

  • Jesus taught that God loves everyone

  • Jesus taught how to pray.

  • Jesus teaches we should be kind to other people.

What did Jesus do?  Jesus brought people together by:

  • feeding people;  healing people; loving people 

  • The Lord’s Supper – a way to remember and be with Jesus

Introduction to Church as family

Introduction to Sacrament

  • Baptism: we become part of Church family

  • Reconciliation:  when we make unloving choices, we hurt our relationship with God and other people.

  • Eucharist: Jesus is present in the Host.  When we receive Communion, Jesus is with us in a special way.  Jesus wants us to be nice to other people. 

Introduction to Prayer

  • Places, why and ways – picture book of

  • Adapted Prayers of the Church

  • Signs and movements to use in prayer in place of expressive language

The Mass, the basic structure

Behaviors for “Participating in Mass”

  1. Amen

  2. Making the Sign of the Cross

    1. Blesses self with holy water making Sign of the Cross

    2. Makes the “Gospel Sign of the Cross”

  3. Walks into Church

  4. Bow (showing reverence)* 

    1. Before entering pew when arrive, facing the altar

    2. Upon exiting pew at the end of Mass

  5. Posturing:  Sitting, Standing, Kneeling, Genuflecting

  6. Share Sign of Peace

  7. Put Envelope in Basket

  8. Participates in Communion

    1. Be able to discriminate between the Host and ordinary food 

    2. Steps listed in task acquisition schedule  

Stories to Include:

  • The Annunciation: the Angel Gabriel announcing Jesus' birth to Mary (Lk 1:26-38)

  • John the Baptist introducing Jesus to his followers (John 1:35-42)

  • Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:10-11)

  • Intro to what Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-28)

  • Jesus Heals Peter's Mother-in-law and many others (Mark 1:20-39)

  • Four friends carry their friend through the roof to get to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12)

  • Feeding stories (Mk 6:30-44; 8:1-10)

  • Jesus teaches us to pray (Mt 6:9-13)

  • The Last Supper (Luke 22:19)

  • The Early Church Gathers (Acts)


* Postures showing reverence vary by purpose and context.  When going to church to participate in the Mass, it is recommended to bow to the altar, because in the Mass we are remembering Jesus’ death and also celebrating Eucharist.  When coming into church for quiet prayer, it is recommended you genuflect toward the Tabernacle if it is visible.  As always, the local custom prevails.  (PRAISE Resource, Newark Archdiocese)

Contact Us

Anne Masters, Ph.D., FAAIDD
Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities
Phone: 973-497-4309       
Anne.Masters@rcan.org

The Archdiocese of Newark
171 Clifton Avenue
P.O. 9500
Newark, NJ  071074

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