Monday, March 12, 2012

first reconciliation, and autism

One of the characteristics of autism is that Jack has trouble understanding abstract concepts. This makes preparation for his first penance difficult. I'm glad he will be an older second grader and we still have another year to work on this. His first communion is different. That's much easier. Because he's so literal, he has no trouble wrapping himself around the Eucharist. If momma says, and Father says, and his PSR teacher says, that the bread and wine become Jesus' body and blood...if indeed the Bible says "this IS my body" and "this IS my blood"...then so it is. The difficulties with first communion prep will be in semantics...getting him to walk down the ailse and actually receive appropriately, without making any comments about how gross the wine is.

But teaching forgiveness, sorrow for sin, penance,,,that's more difficult. For Jack, "sin" is when you do something that makes other people mad. And "forgiveness" is being nice to someone after they make *you* mad. So Henry will do something that annoys Jack, and Jack will say, "HEY!" and then, "Oh, it's ok Henry", and pat Henry's head, and then say to me, "Mom, I forgave Henry!" and Henry will toddle on, completely unaware of what happened.

His understanding seems to be on about the same level as Tess's. Lately she will come up to me and say, in her high-pitched little girly voice, "I sorry! I sorry Mommy!" and I'll say, "Why are you sorry?" "No!" she says, "You say, 'it's ok!'" And she'll start over patiently, like a teacher with a not-too-bright student..."I sorry Mommy!" "It's ok," I sigh. "Tess, why are you sorry?" But she's gone. And eventually I find what she was sorry about...a puddle on the floor by the toilet, a dumped bowl of cat food, or maybe cat food in the toilet.

Anyway, not too long ago a friend pointed me towards this...a resource for preparing autistic kids for the sacraments. We are ordering this with our homeschool book order for next school year. But there is nothing for first confession out there that I've found. That will take far more preparation and gives me far more willies...not only do we have these concepts of "sin" and "forgiveness" to work out, but he will have to have an actual one-on-one conversation with the priest! And not about legos or star wars either! Sigh.

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