by Kathy Labosh
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. Profiles in Catholicism
The movement to include all in our school system is certainly emphasized in this book. First of all, we need to understand groups that are left out of the conversation. This book provides us with a greater understanding of all who come to fellowship with us and we must provide opportunities for each person’s meaningful participation. All people are designed for spiritual connectedness.
Ensuring that individuals with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are fully integrated into their faith community is not only important to the individual and family but to the faith community.
This book’s easy-to-use lessons and multisensory approach are just right for teaching children with ASD. The practical tips will help congregations engage all children with opportunities to grow in faith.
The lessons can be adjusted to accommodate varying degrees of cognitive disabilities. The contemplative questions for parents and caregivers are a wonderful guide that can facilitate fellowship and help family members express underlying sentiments that often remain unspoken.
In the first year, Kathy Labosh started during the Christmas season, so her first class was called “Happy Birthday Jesus”. She had decorations, a cake and small presents for the children. One of the helpers brought in the forgotten candles for the cake. It was the perfect candle for the cake. she felt God’s blessing on the project and knew that God would make up for any weaknesses. There was uncertainty about the future but God was in her loving embrace. God was going to be there for her no matter what! The families of children with developmental disabilities need the faith community around them, but there are many challenges. They are unable to bring their entire families for regular church functions because of their child’s anxiety or behavior issues. They can feel judged by others who think autism is a discipline problem. Many marriages are tested by the strain. These families need to hear that God loves them and that His people are here to support them. Unfortunately, their isolation makes them nearly invisible to those around them and they often suffer alone.
Part two of the book includes fifteen Bible lessons for children. Each lesson features specific directions for circle time and group activity. Also, each lesson is accompanied by a Scripture study for the parents. Specific instructions regarding ability-appropriate Bibles and preparing packets for packet time are included. There are lessons on creation, Adam names the animals, temptation, Joseph and his dreams, the burning bush, and Passover and the Red Sea. These lessons are laid out in detail so that each catechist can teach with ease. Pages 101-103 have great resources for anyone teaching.
This is a great resource for all involved in teaching and specifically those teaching children who show ASD with all its benefits.