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Autistic children receiving their First Holy Communion?

To the Catholic moms with Autistic children, I wanted to know if any of you had your children receive their First Holy Communion with their CCD class--ceremony and all, or if you were able to arrange a "private" course of instruction and ceremony?

I have contacted my church, but I have not heard back yet, and wanted to know if you were able to make any special accommodations?

I think it is important for my son to receive all of his sacraments, but I fear he will not comprehend or will be confused with all of the meta-physical teachings (he is very literal), and I KNOW he will have an issue with actually receiving Communion--getting dressed up, and eating the Communion Wafer (sensory issues), and is likely to throw a fit--which would be very embarrassing, frustrating, and disruptive to all.

I am hoping our Church will be open to making special accommodations, but I'd appreciate any information you may have in the meantime!


Asked by LoriKeet at 3:02 PM on Aug. 2, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (8)
  • They should make accommodations for you - here's a blog from a Catholic Mom who's child made her First Communion. It contains some tips that might be helpful for you:



    Answer by eringobrough at 3:40 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • I will hope they make special arrangements for you. I don't know if they can make substitutions to something more sensory pleasing as far as the wafers or not. You know him best so if you think he can handle doing this with his class go for it, but don't force him into the situation or you're asking for a meltdown. I have three autistic kids (too much hassle to change the screen name) so I do know what you're up against. I wish you luck. We did our son(s) dedications in a small contolled group. They did just fine.

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 3:09 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • I would talk to the priest and discuss what options there are. I'm sure they will be able to make some sort of accommodations. I love the church that my husband goes to (and where the kids take religious ed) because the sacraments are very personal. You prepare as a family and not as a class. Then, when your child is ready they receive their First HolyCommunion either with a group of kids if they decide to do it together, or on their own. Anyway, just talk to the priest and to the CCD director and see what you can do. I don't have an autistic child, but my youngest is 7 and has severe ADHD and I know she's not ready yet. I know she just won't understand or have the patience to go through all that right now. That's why I glad I don't have to feel rushed to do it.


    Answer by anime_mom619 at 3:44 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • My son has Aspergers and made his first communion with his class. What i liked was they had a workshop one day instead of regular class. They made things and got to try the host. 9it wasn't blessed yet so it was ok to have.) All the kids tried it so he wasn't fely different. Surpringly he didn't mind it. I think it' takes blah. maybe your son could try it before ahnd. I aslo don't know what level autism he has. that can make a difference. Good luck.

    Answer by Shell89 at 4:42 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • Our church does a "dry-run" with unconsecrated host so the kids know what to expect. I think someone spit it out years ago, so they take no chances now. If your son isn't ready, don't rush him. You can be any age and receive the sacrament. It's better for him if he's ready.
    I have a friend who's son has celiac disease (can't eat wheat). He can't take the host, and they won't let him substitute any other kind of host. He can't receive Communion. Don't get your hopes up that the church will accomodate any special requests, but try anyway. I'm sure you're used to advocating for your son.

    Answer by RedRowan at 8:25 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • RedRowan, while some churches don't accommodate many do. I am gluten free and so is my daughter and our church does have gluten free hosts (though I don't take communion any more). You do have to be very proactive, but many times it will pay off in the end. Many churches are now aware of things like autism and celiac disease, etc and are finding ways to accommodate. It depends on the diocese and the priest at each church though.


    Answer by anime_mom619 at 9:46 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • "I think it is important for my son to receive all of his sacraments, but I fear he will not comprehend or will be confused with all of the meta-physical teachings (he is very literal)"

    Yup :) I have Asperger's.....and I can tell you, the things that they couldn't explain to me literally and logically were the things that drove me to realize I was atheist :) "Just have faith" didn't work for me.

    Answer by metalcowgirl34 at 10:19 PM on Aug. 2, 2009

  • What metal said applies to me, too.

    I have a friend who is catholic, and her HF Asperger's kid does fairly well, and her church seems pretty willing to work with him. Hopefully, your church will do likewise.

    Answer by roachiesmom at 11:32 PM on Aug. 2, 2009