Getting to know the Individual

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Getting to Know the Individual with Special Needs
A Guide for Catechists

As the catechist: Guidelines for speaking with individual and/or parents 

  • Present an overall attitude of openness and a desire to be supportive.
  • Let them know that in order to provide as positive an experience as possible, certain information is very important.
  • The goal is to support a meaningful experience of inclusion and participation in your parish youth ministry and the full life of the Church.
  • The questions are to help you learn the information, and use it as a guide to a conversation.  Therefore, adjust the language as appropriate based on who you are talking with, the individual or the parents.

As the catechist: Topics to explore that helps get to know the individual, their needs, their goals

  • What kind of experience do you want – what level of inclusion?
  • What are your/his/her special interests?
  • What are your/his/her special gifts?
  • What are some of the challenges you have faced?
  • What is your/your son/daughter’s diagnosis?
  • Does she/he have particular or potential interests in Mass or Catholic traditions?  (for example, really enjoys music, ritual, singing, etc)
  • How would you describe your/his/her social relationships or friendships?
  • What methods of communication are used?
  • What have been effective learning strategies?
  • What are good motivators?
  • Are there any challenging behaviors?
  • What are possible triggers of challenging behavior?
  • What are helpful responses to challenging behavior?
  • What is helpful for holding his/her attention?
  • Does s/he have any diet or environmental issues?
  • Does s/he have any medical issues to be aware of?
  • Do you have any other children?  How do they relate to each other?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?