New Book: Spiritually Able – Teaching The Faith to Kids With Special Needs

I actually won something! Spiritually Able: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching the Faith to Children with Special Needs by David and Mercedes Rizzo.

Confession, I haven’t read it all, but I did read through the Introduction and it gave me some things to think about: it shares the experiences of a family raising a severely autistic child, and it takes seriously the need to bring the Faith to all people, using whatever means necessary.

As St Francis said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; use words if necessary.”

I don’t doubt that many of the techniques could be very helpful in general for Catechists and Religious Education teachers; the main idea is keep trying, try different tactics and adapt to the level and abilities of the child.

When I think about my own year teaching Religious Education to seventh grade boys, this could have really helped. They weren’t special needs, but and after a full day of regular school, another hour session of book learning was a tall order. As you know may have guessed from my blog and articles, book learning is sort of my thing. So that’s what I focused on, but it only suited about two of the students.

I really could have adapted the curriculum more; the Bible really is exciting, it is the story of our human family in faith.

Anyway, so if you know anyone with special needs, or if you have a kid, or you teach the faith at all or are considering it, this book would definitely widen your perspective.

And the pro-life message underlying all this, that these kids are valuable both in themselves, to their families and to God, permeates the text. It is the inherent worth of all human beings, no matter how different, that gives teaching its worth.

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