Catechists Leader Resources

cartoon with Jesus and 4 children saying "Let these little ones come unto me." with title Jesus original child advocate.

Father Mark giving homily in front of alter with sign language interpreter on the side.

ASL Faith Formation Resources

ASL YOUCAT is a national project to translate the Youth Catechism (YOUCAT) into American Sign Language (ASL) in order to help evangelize our Deaf brothers and sisters in Christ who do not know Catholicism. This is the first time a Catholic Catechism as been translated into ASL!

ASL YOUCAT resources from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas including promotional and introductory videos

Deaf Catholic Mom includes YouTube videos posted by a catholic mom of 7 or 8 children from Kansas.  It includes videos of prayers & spiritual reflections in ASL. 

Father MD's Kitchen Table is a website by Father Mike Depcik a deaf Priest from the Archdiocese of Detroit.  It includes homilies, saints information, prayers: Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Chaplet of Divine Mercy all in ASL

Hands of Grace: The Catholic Sacraments in American Sign Languageis an innovative program that features video presentations by Father Séan Loomis teaching in ASL, as well as a workbook that is specifically designed with a visual emphasis to provide a better, dynamic learning experience for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. 

My First Euchartist from NCOD is an online program that you can add into your Religious Education Program for the Deaf. This online resource consists of six lesson plans to incorporate your First Eucharist curriculum for Deaf children, the hearing children will also benefit from it as they can be exposed to ASL and Deafness

NCOD Strengthened in Faith Confirmation Sacramental Preparation in ASL (DVD) study program from the National Catholic Office for the Deaf and Our Sunday Visitor.

Our Daily Hopeis produced by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Deaf Catholic Ministry and is a daily videolog in ASL.

Religious Signs for Families is an app from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is a delightful and engaging way to learn ASL using religious words that are not often found in other ASL apps. The goal of the app is to help families with young Deaf children and Deaf couples with young children to foster prayer in the home.  This app provides a way for families to connect while learning religious signs and to bond to one another and God as they pray in ASL.  Users extend beyond the family unit because this app is perfect for anyone who wants to learn and use ASL to pray. 

Bibles and other resources 

Catechism of the Seen Sacraments by Kevin and Mary O'Neill

The Catholic Children's Bible, Revised

Catechist Training Resources

Blest Are We:  Children with Special Needs Teaching Tips from NCPD

Creating Learning Environments Using Universal Design:  Presentation from ADW Special Needs Ministries and Catechesis available on You Tube.

Strategic Components for Successfully Working with Individuals with ASD from NCPD

Tools for Teaching Children with Disabilities

Disability Book Resources 

List of Books available to check out from the diocese pastoral center, contact Patty Origer, 515-237-5073 or email poriger@dmdiocese.org

Finding God Adaptive Program from Loyola 

Adaptive Finding God is the foremost program of its kind, offering faith formation for children with special needs that is adaptable to a variety of settings and situations.  Adaptive Finding God can be used in conjunction with  the Finding God grade-level books or as a stand-alone program for parishes, schools and at home. (Copy available for review through Des Moines Diocese Disability Ministry)

McGuire Memorial Awakening Spiritual Dimensions I & II

McGuire Memorial Awakening Spiritual Dimensions: Catechesis and Prayer Services with Persons with Severe Disabilities offers a program and method whereby persons with severe intellectual and physical disabilities and their catechists are given the tools to awaken the Spirit of God within them and learn about the love of God for them. The book begins with the purpose and methods used in the program to allow its participants to evoke and awaken the love and presence of God during a time of catechesis and prayer. It is a sensory-based program of learning allowing the person with a disability to experience a sense of the sacred by way of sight, sounds, aroma, and symbols. The sessions are brief and composed of prayer, scripture, a lesson and a simple written activity.

Awakening Spiritual Dimensions I (paperback or E-book)

Awakening Spiritual Dimensions II:  Order from Capuchin College via mail or email (recommended donation of $45):

Fr. Bill Gillum, OFM Cap., M. ED

Capuchin College

4121 Harewood Rd., NE

Washington, D.C. 20017

or email Father Bill Gillum

National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities

Recommended Catechetical Publisher Resources

Catechetical Resources

Every Family is Unique:  Some have Greater Needs, presentation by Charleen Katra, Executive Director from NCPD to CLADD leaders on September 22, 2020

Adapted Faith Formation Lessons produced by the NCPD Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 

Religious Education programs, Individualized Religious Education Plan and Registration Form Examples

Access and Inclusion Models for  parish religious education programs.

Individualized Education Plan Example 1

Individualized Education Plan Example 2

Sacraments:  Gifts for All from University of Dayton

Sacramental Preparation Books:  A rich reference for teachers when preparing students with challenging needs for Eucharist. This book has Scripture stories using pictures and minimum wording to illustrate the heart of Christ’s message. Also included are hints for effectively reaching students, questions to consider, concept words, visual, auditory and kinesthetic activities, and a resource list of supplemental publications related to these topics. Materials can be duplicated.

Sensory/Fidget Tools

Allow Movement- Some children need to rock or move in order to focus or stay calm; allow this to happen! God put the wiggles there! 

Every person’s brain is different.  Not right or wrong, just different.  Some people have great difficulty with sight, touch, movement, etc.  People with autism often struggle with sensory input.  They may need to wear headphones, sunglasses or carry a small soother (Fidget), or flap their hands, called “stimming” to try to block out sights and sounds.  Doing so helps control anxious feelings.  Walking around, spinning in a chair or chewing on items can also be ways to calm themselves down.

Sensory and Fidget Tool Resource listing possible examples and expectation sheet is available.

For a variety of resource examples to utilize check out or order a Traveling Sensory Kit from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Teaching the Mass video

The Diocese of Wichita has recorded a Teaching the Mass video that is a great introduction to the Mass for individuals with disabilities or for anyone being introduced to the Mass for the first time.

Youth Leader Resources

Confirmation Sacramental Preparation Program in ASL is a program to inspire and engage parishioners preparing for Confirmation with this comprehensive new study program from the National Catholic Office for the Deaf and Our Sunday Visitor. The 12 video lessons of this 3-DVD set and manual bring the Sacrament of Confirmation to life, as Mary, St. Peter, and the saints walk the Confirmands through the Sacrament and show them how to put their faith into action — in Sign Language, spoken and captioned in English.

This program has also been utilized for an adaptive program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Ending the Silence is a 50 minute presentation from NAMI Iowa designed to help young people and educators learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness, how to recognize the early warning signs and the importance of acknowledging those warning signs.

Helping Teens with Anxiety, Stress and Depression by Roy Petitfils

Increasing Awareness in the Classroom and with Youth Groups  includes a pack of information that provides suggestions for planning and implementing a disability awareness unit in your classroom, club, youth group, school or school district. Several additional new or alternate ideas are provided for each section. Resources are enclosed, including: a list of web-based resources, a children’s book list (available for download from the Disability Awareness Month CD), two coloring books (available for download from the CD), communication tips, language guidelines, accessibility survey, celebrity quiz, sign language alphabet, sign language riddles, Braille alphabet and Braille secret code activity.

Health Basics –A New Youth Prevention Education ProgramMental Wellness Basics is a new online education program developed by EVERFI, the education technology partner we already work with to bring the successful Prescription Drug Safety Program to Iowa and Illinois schools.  In the Des Moines Area North, Roosevelt, Ankeny and Walnut creek schools have utilized it.  It is an online course.

Mental Illness Awareness resources from the Diocese of Dubuque.  From the website: "Below you will continue to find the resources originally posted as well as new ones as they become available, the links to the live stream and workshop recordings that are posted on the Diocese of Davenport YouTube channel, and the PowerPoint slides from all MIAW programs. You can still order St. Dymphna and St. John of God, patron saints of mental illness, prayer cards that are described below. You will also find news on our follow up to MIAW - Mental Health Awareness Month coming up in May, 2021 - as it becomes available." 

So keep visiting this page for continual resourcing on mental health. Sts. Dymphna and John of God, pray for us.

Say It Out Loud -  From NAMI, a downloadable, free discussion guide, videos and fact sheets for youth leaders who want to introduce the subject of mental illness to their youth groups.  To download the tools and get more information, click here.

It is raising awareness by sharing information and starting conversations about mental health and is key in reducing stigma and increasing the likelihood that teens will seek mental health care when they need it. NAMI created Say it Out Loud to get teens talking about mental health.  Say it Out Loud gives adults the tools they need to hold conversations about mental health with teens.

The Little Book of Big Emotions by Erika Hunter (note - limited availability - may need to purchase a used copy).