Loyola Press Develops the Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit for Children with Autism and Other Special Needs

Share Article

A family's commitment to education and faith has become a new way to teach the Catholic sacraments to children with autism and special learning needs. The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit from Loyola Press is based on the real-life story of Danielle, a young girl with autism and her parent's desire that she might fully participate in her faith.

Like so many ventures that ultimately enrich the lives of many, the Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit began humbly—as a result of Brendan Rizzo’s Eagle Scout project. His younger sister, Danielle, is a child with autism; and with Danielle as his “soul inspiration,” Brendan organized the development of a special needs library at his parish for his Eagle Scout project. His parents, David and Mercedes Rizzo, then helped him develop a series of learning tools, which are featured in this kit, to be used by children preparing to celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit contains eight pieces to enable children with autism and other special needs to participate fully in their faith, including picture cards to use during Mass that remind children of participatory behavior and a matching puzzle that helps the child distinguish between the Eucharist and ordinary food. This kit includes social stories and picture exchange communication system (PECS) strategies. The learning tools in this kit have been successfully used by Danielle and many children like her to fully experience their faith and become prepared to receive the Eucharist.

Here are what users of the Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit have to say:

The kit is a valuable tool that provides a child with autism an opportunity for a successful First Holy Communion.”
—Lisa Borges, Executive Director, The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc

“These materials are well-thought-out and prepared, reflecting an understanding of the needs of children with autism and other developmental disabilities with respect to learning and sensory processing. These materials would be very useful for anyone preparing a child with learning challenges to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”
—Diane L. Williams, Ph.d., CCC-SLP

“Being a mother of a son with autism, I have lived the challenges of trying to catechize him in order for him to receive the sacraments and better participate in the Liturgy of the Mass. The Rizzos have created a beautiful missal and activities that teach and supplement our Catholic faith in a beautiful and enriching way for children with learning disabilities.”
—Michaelann Martin, mother of 8, speaker, and co-author of The Catholic Parent Book of Feasts and Family Matters

To order the Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit (ISBN: 978-0-8294-3580-1), please call 800-621-1008 or visit LoyolaPress.com/special-needs.

  •     1 kit         $59.95 each
  •     2-5 kits     $49.99 each
  •     6-10 kits    $39.99 each

For more information on the Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit can be found at the Loyola Press website http://www.loyolapress.com/special-needs

About David and Mercedes Rizzo
David Rizzo is a physical therapist who works with children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. He is the author and presenter of a professional rehabilitation seminar entitled "Autism: Where neuroscience meets clinical practice." David and his wife Mercedes have four children, one of whom, Danielle, has autism and is non-verbal. Dave and Mercedes developed picture-based materials and activities to explain the sacraments to Danielle to help prepare her for Holy Communion. This work was featured on the Diocese of Trenton television program The Catholic Corner, and in the Our Sunday Visitor magazine, and is the inspiration of the Adaptive First Eucharist Kit published by Loyola Press.

Videos of David and Mercedes Rizzo are available at: http://www.youtube.com/user/LoyolaPress

About Loyola Press
Loyola Press publishes books and other print and online resources for faith formation, classroom curriculum, and spirituality support. As a Jesuit Ministry, Loyola Press strives to help you find God in all things and develop a deep, personal relationship with Christ.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Carrie Freyer
Loyola Press
773-281-1818 325
Email >
Visit website