Three Ways to Reduce Teacher Talk

Here are a few easy ways to simplify your communication in the classroom. [Find more ways to reduce teacher talk in The Adaptive Teacher.] Awareness and effort: Listen to yourself while giving instructions, and become more aware of the amount of verbiage you use. Ask yourself, How can I say this in fewer words? You’ll be amazed at how many extra, needless words are in your instructions. Become more comfortable with silence: Catechists and teachers […]

Best Practices for Creating a Welcoming Learning Environment

Create a welcoming learning environment in your parish or school with “an attitude that aims to receive and treat everyone in the same warm, friendly, and generous way” (Charleen Katra). Download a free poster of 20 best practices excerpted from The Adaptive Teacher: Faith-Based Strategies to Reach and Teach Learners with Disabilities by John E. Barone and Charleen Katra. Post this in the faculty lounge or another gathering space to remind teachers and catechists of […]

Becoming an Adaptive Teacher/Catechist and Including Those with Disabilities

Whenever I go out to eat with a group of people, I quickly scan the seating arrangements at the table and select a location that will be acceptable to me. No, I’m not looking for a place of honor at the head of the table! I’m looking for a location that will enable me to most effectively hear and enter into the conversation taking place. Why? Because I am hearing impaired. I have profound hearing loss in […]

An Example of Excellence in Special Needs Faith Formation

Here’s a good news story! While many parishes are making strides in offering quality faith formation for young people with special needs, one parish stands out as an example of excellence. St. Rose of Lima Parish in Gaithersburg, Maryland, was recently honored as the recipient of the Opening Doors Award, presented by the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) in partnership with Loyola Press. With the award comes a check for $1000 and a plaque. St. Rose of […]

Shepherd’s Flock: One Parish’s Experience with Adaptive Catechesis

Certainly, everyone in catechetical ministry understands that all students—including those with special needs—are called to witness the Gospel. Every parish has children whose needs may not be adequately met in the typical classroom approach to faith formation, and my parish is no different. For more than a decade, our Shepherd’s Flock program has been ministering to students with learning challenges. Some are on the autism spectrum; others have Down syndrome or other genetic disorders. The […]

Loyola Press Opening Doors Award

CatechistsJourney.com ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the Finding God Adaptive faith formation program. The Loyola Press Opening Doors Award honors a parish community that demonstrates a spirit of belonging and engagement practices that facilitate the meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of their parish community. Resources like Adaptive Finding God help welcome all of God’s children into the life of the Church; we want to hear about your […]

Special Needs Ministry on Both Sides of the Border

It’s hard to ignore the enthusiasm that radiates from Kathy Hagan, a retired school teacher working in Catholic religious education for 30 years. Hagan is involved in Confirmation preparation and special needs ministry at St. Luke Catholic Church in Irving, Texas. St. Luke’s is a vibrant community with parishioners from Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Vietnam. English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Filipino are spoken in the pews and classrooms. There is one more language—that of […]

Filming for Adaptive Finding God Video – A Star Is Born (And It’s Not Me!)

Last weekend, I had the distinct privilege of spending the day filming for a training DVD for the new Adaptive Finding God Program which will be available in January, 2015! This resource is the foremost program of its kind, offering faith formation for children with special needs, adaptable to a variety of settings and situations. For more information about the Adaptive Finding God Program, click here. Here is the truck from the film crew…they needed […]

Special Needs: Adaptive Kits for First Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Now CONFIRMATION!

One of the challenges we face in catechesis is reaching out to those with special needs to help them encounter Christ in a meaningful way. Loyola Press is proud to be contributing resources to this effort, namely, the Adaptive Kits for First Eucharist and Reconciliation. Now we have proudly added a kit for Confirmation! The Adaptive Confirmation Preparation Kit was designed to help individuals with autism and other special needs enter fully into the faith experience, […]

Everyone Has a Right to Faith Formation

This is a guest post by David and Mercedes Rizzo. Around the time of our daughter’s fourth birthday, she was diagnosed with autism. We refer to this period as when the autism bomb dropped. When faced with a diagnosis like that many thoughts flood the mind. One of the thoughts we had was how would Danielle be able to make her First Holy Communion and her other sacraments? We were fortunate that a parish close […]

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