A few months back I got Spiritually Able: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching the Faith to Children with Special Needs by David and Mercedes Rizzo. They gave me a personally signed copy at an event. The Rizzos, along with their non-autistic son, are the creators of the adaptive sacramental preparation kits, so I was interested.
The book is relatively hands-on giving examples from their life with a non-verbal autistic daughter, Danielle. Most of the book is dedicated to practical matters such as how to get a child to understand Mass, to be able to sit through Mass and to receive the sacraments. In the end, they also mention self-care and taking care of the marriage when they get stretched.
Overall, there explanations I think would be helpful for most parents who have children who struggle with these things. Much of it would not be necessary for other autistics like myself who were perfectly fine mainstreamed for sacramental preparation, etc.
One line stood out to me: “Danielle’s autism has been our greatest challenge in life, but it has also been one of our greatest blessings.” I think this is an important thing to realize. I’m sure sometimes autistic or other special needs kids are more difficult to parent than other kids. However, there is a grace to see beyond that and actually see the blessing in this. God gives certain children to certain parents in order to bless both the parent and the child.
The one thing I find missing is a deeper sense of prayer and direct connection to God. I have noticed this throughout books on autism and Christianity, hence why I am pushing forward to make a book on this topic.
Overall, I would recommend this book. Nothing it said absolutely amazed me, but I think it succeeded in providing a guide for parents to help raise their children with different struggles from other kids.
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