Special Needs

“It is the task of the local Churches to be open to the reception and ordinary presence of persons with disabilities within programs of catechesis, working for a culture of inclusion against the logic of the disposable.”

(Directory for Catechesis 271, emphasis original)

Appropriate adaptations can make parish catechetical programs more accessible for people with special needs. These adaptations include flexible formats, adaptive materials and support systems that are organic to the needs of the person or people involved.

Possible formats for instruction fall on a scale of services from full inclusion in the parish catechetical program without any adaptations to individual plans that meet the needs of the student: 

  • Typical Classroom while a student participates with peers without extra help or adaptions
  • Classroom Supports where a student participates with adapted material, a catechist aide or adapted material
  • Learning Support Classroom where a student participates in small group learning with adapted curriculum
  • Individualized instruction where a student is catechized independently, joining larger activities such as prayer and liturgies as the student is able 

Adaptive materials can be used to assist students with special needs and are available from a variety of sources noted in the Resources tab on this page. For a list of curricula that offer adaptive options, go to https://ncpd.org/catecheticalpublishers.

Support systems will vary based on individual needs. Parish catechetical leaders should work with families to identify support systems that can make parish formation programs more accessible.

For more information about formats, adaptive materials and support systems, go to https://ncpd.org/program-type/catechesis