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First Communion without attending classes?

(8 Posts)
Pyjamaface Tue 24-Jan-17 21:46:49

DS(7) is at the very start of assessment for possible ADHD/ASD.

A couple of weeks ago he started his classes in order to take his first communion in June this year. The person taking the classes used to be the deputy head at DS school before they moved on to another school. I spoke to her before the first class and told her about DS and how he struggles with certain behaviours (sitting still, general hyperactivity etc). I thought all was fine and felt reassured that she would be familiar with DS and that she would have techniques for dealing with him and helping him settle.

The first week when DP collected DS, the teacher said he needs to learn to behave, DP explained again re assessment and offered to stay with him the following week for the class. This offer was rejected. Second week, DS was very quiet and later told us that she said if he couldn't behave then maybe he should not come next week. I know children like to spin things to put them in the best possible light, but DS is genuinely upset. Also DS is the worst liar I have ever met, whatever thought is in his head will come out of his mouth and the story has stayed the same since Sunday.

I am going to speak to the teacher again on Sunday and offer to stay but frankly, I am angry and upset. If she refuses to have him for the classes as he can't 'behave' or I withdraw him as she is not, IMO, setting a stellar example of Gods love then what options do we have for his first communion? Can we study at home for it and then just attend for the communion mass?

I don't want to cause a massive fuss, I am not out to have the teacher stopped from taking the classes as she is giving up her own time to take them and has done for a few years. I have never had any problems taking DS to mass , the priest and congregation are nothing but welcoming and tolerant BUT I am unwilling to let DS feel bullied and unwelcome in the classes

wobblywonderwoman Tue 24-Jan-17 21:50:54

Can you talk to the head teacher in private.

I think you gave been very fair in offering to stay to support your son at classes and they should have taken you up on that.

Is the nee teacher inexperienced?

mirokarikovo Tue 24-Jan-17 22:03:09

He needs to learn the meaning and significance of the communion, but there is no need for that to be delivered in a class setting with other children. If he will be better able to cope with 1:1 learning then find a way for him to have that. Might your priest be able to help?

Pastaagain78 Tue 24-Jan-17 22:07:17

If they won't let you stay with him in the class, which seems a very reasonable suggestion of yours, I would talk to the priest.

Alternatively, you could delay it for a year or so if it was too much for him. I delayed my DS first communion until The following year and he coped much better. Good luck, they really should let you stay!

Pyjamaface Tue 24-Jan-17 22:20:15

Thank you. I don't think I made it clear in the OP but the teacher left the school but still runs the classes at the church so it is not a new teacher taking the classes.

I get he can be disruptive, he is wildly enthusiastic about everything. He will ask questions, tell stories he thinks are relative to what is being discussed. He is also extremely eager to please, tries so hard to do what is asked of him but cannot sit still and quietly for an hour at a time (reports from school all say the same) which I think is what she expects/wants from him.

I am reluctant to talk to the priest as I do not want her to 'get in trouble' as I am aware that she is volunteering ( a fact she has pointed out to us twice now) but our faith is not being presented well by her IMO

Bollard Tue 24-Jan-17 22:39:43

There are probably catechists in your parish who are willing to provide 1:1 preparation. Just speak to the parish priest or parish secretary and see what they can suggest.

It's not getting the volunteer into trouble. There's a lot of complex material to cover in a short period of time, often in a less than ideal environment. What would be a manageable challenge in a classroom can be much more difficult, even when the volunteer happens to be a teacher.

Lots of sacramental preparation goes on outside the more formal channels.

mirokarikovo Wed 25-Jan-17 08:01:29

I don't think it would be getting the volunteer into trouble to ask for alternative provision.

When someone with additional needs is in a mainstream school, it is within the teacher's job description to provide an appropriate education - with additional resources and support.

I'm this situation the teacher is a volunteer and has no additional resources - you offered yourself as support but that wasn't deemed appropriate for whatever reason. So it's not surprising or any negative reflection that the situation isn't going to work for your DS.

Fink Wed 25-Jan-17 11:42:28

We offer one-to-one classes in our parish, and support parents who prefer to do their own catechesis at home (for children with SN who wouldn't manage the class) if the parents are well-formed themselves.

Personally I would speak to the catechist one more time (and keep a record), then to the priest if it's not resolved. It's not getting the catechist in trouble, just saying that the current situation isn't working because of ds's condition.

Canonically, the priest is required to make sure children are properly prepared and have an appropriate understanding of the sacrament, he's not required to have that delivered through group catechism classes for every child. If he thinks you and dh are well educated in the faith he should allow you to take the course book and teach ds at home, with support from the parish if you ask. Obviously he won't do that if you haven't been practising for long, he doesn't know you etc. but I would give it a go if that's what you would like.

Alternatively, if you really want him to attend the classes and get to know the other children in the group, I'd tell the priest about the offer to stay with ds and suggest that is taken up.

It sounds like maybe the catechist doesn't know/believe he had SN and thinks he's just acting up ... if she's already left the school and the assessment is only just starting could that be a possibility? I'd go armed with some sort of medical note to reinforce the point.

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