Communion is a beautiful time of year and it is extra exciting to celebrate it with an extra special child. However, there is a lot of work, maybe a little bit extra to be organised by the parents.
I have a few suggestions that worked for me:
Communication with the child’s school teacher and special needs assistant is crucial. Ask whether you can attend a church rehearsal. See who is sitting next to your child at rehearsal hopefully, it will be a child your son or daughter knows well.
Where are the parents sitting? David sat in the last row of children, and we sat behind him in the first row of parents. So, I could keep an eye on him, with David I had to look at the alter at all times so as not to distract him. This kept him focused so I didn’t fuss over him in the church.
Ask how your child is going up to receive communion, David, went with the school teacher (great idea)
Photography – I had the photographer come to the house before we went to mass and take photos.
Get yourself ready first.
If you have other children, ask one of your family members to come down early and get them ready if possible as David has two younger siblings (twins)
Cut down on drinks before the church in case your child (sibling or yourself !! have to use the bathroom) if you do, don’t panic there is always one in the church Sacristy.
If your child uses a wheelchair or walker, ask, can you drive your child in as near to the door as possible, if this is the case, make sure you get there early and leave nearly last so as not to be in the way of other families.
We then went back to the school that was so well organised all children were given a white plastic apron and enjoyed their cake and of course group photographs etc.
We had a big party afterwards in our home where David was very comfortable. Now, this is a great idea only if you can do it and it works for you. Hate to say this but … if you have any close family members ask them to stay in your house and clean it (when you are in the church !! ) I had nieces that were given that job (it was my sisters’ idea) and have the food ready (which if possible could be done the night before) and put it out on the tables etc.
It’s about your child, so just think about it for a moment? What does your child like to do? Or go?
Does your child like to be in a restaurant for a few hours and will they sit there? If so, please make sure you have brought your child there before, so they are used to the environment, bathrooms, noise, etc.
David does not like bouncy castles etc, but if your child likes this could it be brought to your garden?
Don’t panic, if anything goes wrong, just try to sort it out as best you can, stay calm.
If your child falls or spills something on their clothes let them off its all part of the day.
I feel it’s a significant milestone for parents and their child and a day to celebrate with the people who have been there for your child’s journey. Enjoy.