Sacramental and Religious Preparation Classes for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sacramental and Religious Education Preparation classes for children and teens with an autism spectrum disorder are conducted from September through April. Although students from Our Lady of Grace participate, children from other parishes in our Diocese are also active participants.
Faith Mentors (or teachers) are local high school aged students and grandparents, who prepare and teach faith lessons one-on-one with each of the autistic children. The intent is to prepare the children to enter and participate in our Church as adult members once Confirmed, as fully as they are capable. Prior to the start of the program, Faith Mentors prepare and learn about what autism is and is not. Our program has demonstrated that high school students, when properly trained and prepared, make excellent teachers as well as outstanding Catholic role models for their students.
Classes meet every Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. in the school library. Each autistic student has at least one Faith Mentor and they work together in an independent work space in the school. At least one parent is required to be present with their child to both observe their child’s progress in the program and to meet and work with other parents whose children are in the program. This specialized program follows a specific curriculum approved by the USCCB. With the weekly program materials, Faith Mentors may use social stories, crafts, or a board game for their student to follow depending upon how their student learns or processes new information.
All children touched by autism (PDD, NOS, Autism, and Asperger’s Syndrome) are welcome and invited to join the program with their parent. Any high school aged student who is interested in learning first hand and helping young children with an autism spectrum disorder to learn more about God and our Catholic religion is welcome.
All of God’s children are precious and loved by our Lord. Here at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church Deacon Dr. Larry Sutton has pioneered our Sacramental and Religious Preparation Classes for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Opportunities for children and families to attend and for youth to serve are coordinated by Deacon Larry.Contact: Deacon Larry 412-429-7070, firstname.lastname@example.org.