Specialized Approaches

The Office of Evangelization and Worship utilizes a variety of programs and adaptive materials to offer people with disabilities specialized catechetical programs when appropriate. For example, SPRED (Special Religious Development) continues to grow and provide an environment in which persons with developmental and cognitive disabilities can experience ongoing faith formation, as well as positive integration into the liturgical and community life of the Church. Special annual events like the Archdiocesan SPRED Mass, dinner dances, and weekend retreats offer persons with disabilities special opportunities to experience Christ in a larger community of peers.

SPRED: Special Religious Development

SPRED logoSPRED Chicago: click HERE to visit website (Materials for parish groups are ordered each year through the Archdiocese of Indianapolis)

SPRED is a method and curriculum for religious education, designed for children and adults with developmental disabilities.  Parish groups are formed by chronological age.  In each session there are three parts.  In the preparation time, each person is welcomed, and invited to enter into the community by choosing a quiet activity which is modeled by a catechist, in order to prepare for the catechesis.  Catechesis is symbolic and both age and developmentally appropriate.  Finally the session is gradually brought to a close with the sharing of a meal. 

To learn more about SPRED in our Archdiocese, click HERE

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Program to Improve Catholic Religious Education for Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Program to Improve Catholic Religious Education for Children and Adults with Intellectual DisabilitiesRCL Benziger: Click HERE to view website

Versatile and comprehensive curriculum for catechesis.  Designed for children and adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilites.  Consists of 220 lesson plans, including preparation for First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation.  Lessons build on each other, and are divided into four sections, or levels: Foundational, Relational, Discipleship and Mission.

Pflaum Gospel Weeklies Faith Formation

Pflaum Gospel Weeklies Faith FormationPflaum: click HERE to visit website

This program consists of a faith formation handbook- What the Church Believes and Teaches- plus 32 weekly liturgy-based lessons.  While not specifically designed for students with special needs, this program comes in various reading levels from Pre-K through 8th grade, with pictures to help visual learners and activities to implement outside the bible study to transfer the teachings into actions in the community.  The sessions are broken into three parts, sharing faith stories, listening to the Gospel, and building Christian community.  These shorter, focused sessions help keep the learner's attention and allow opportunity for short breaks and movement if needed, and so can support students with learning disabilities, Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, or social emotional needs.

Confirmation with First Eucharist

Confirmation with First Eucharist

Pflaum: click HERE to visit website

This is a "restored order" resource for sacramental preparation, which means it is written at about a second or third grade level. This curriculum includes hands on activities, family focus posters and FAQ's, as well as interactive online games. This curriculum presents lots of options for visual learners, and keeping attention!

Adaptive Sacramental Preparation Kits for Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation

Adaptive Sacramental Preparation Kits for Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation

Loyola Press: Click HERE to visit the website

Designed primarily for individuals with autism, but useful for learners with other special needs as well.  For those who need strong visual support, these kits include many tools, such as flip books, picture cards and stories, and puzzles to communicate concepts and help meet the particular requirements for receiving the sacrament, also to familiarize the student with what will happen in the rite itself, to help relieve anxiety.  


Finding God Adaptive Curriculum for Grades 1-8

picture of learning tools

Also from Loyola Press. You will find that this program is flexible enough to be used at home, one on one, and in group settings.  It is able to function on two different instruction levels: hands on, and adapted grade level (as well as a combination of the two), which means that especially if you happen to already be using Loyola's Finding God series, this integrates very well! Included are lesson cards which provide options and modifications so you can find what is best for the child.  It also comes with some wonderful learning tools that even your typically developing students will love using.

Click HERE to visit the website

Circle of Grace logo

Circle of Grace Adaptations

Available for grades K-6, this guideline provides suggestions for adapting the Circle of Grace lessons for learners with special needs.

Click HERE to view and download the adaptation guide!

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