Read the article 'Opening God's mercy to all children' and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. After reading the article ‘Opening God’s mercy to all children’, do you think children with disabilities can have a relationship with God? For instance how do you think a child with autism could develop an understanding of God?
2. If you have children in your school with disabilities how do you deal with them on a day to day basis? Do you try to ignore them because you are not sure how to talk to them? How did Jesus deal with people with disabilities?
3. Michele Jones says ‘We try and keep a positive focus. Rather than looking at things you’ve done wrong that you need to repent for, we look at the process of making good choices.’ Do you think that looking at the positive instead of the negative when examining our consciences would help us be more open to receive the mercy of God?
4. There are seven corporal works of mercy. Two of them are to ‘comfort the sick’ and ‘give drink to the thirsty’. Do you think that the way we deal with people who have disabilities fit into these categories. If not what would you suggest as an eighth corporal work of mercy?
1. At St Lucy’s they have a number of children with autism – some verbal, some non-verbal. In small groups research what autism is and then make up a program on how you think children with this disability could experience the mercy of God. Read out your groups ideas and record them on the whiteboard. After a class discussion record the best ideas on a poster which you could give to your REC to help her when children with this disability come to your school.
2. In the article, St Lucy’s students make their first confession with the use of picture cards on a visual board or iPad. If these students use visual aids to come to some understanding of the mercy of God create an AP for the iPad or a Youtube video that would help the student and teacher to come to a better understanding of the mercy of God.
3. If you have a school in your area that caters for children with moderate or severe disabilities, organise for students to attend or volunteer to help through their Community Service program.
For younger students
1. Read the article to the students and ask them what they feel about it? Ask them if they know anyone with a disability? How is that person treated by people? Ask them how they think the sacraments could be made meaningful for all children with disabilities.
2. Make a copy of this poster ‘The Corporal Works of Mercy’ and put it up in the front of the class. (Source: http://looktohimandberadiant.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/corporal-works-of-mercy-teaching-tools.html).
Ask students to draw up a picture of an ‘Eighth’ Corporal work of Mercy which would be particularly aimed at children with a disability. They will need to explain their drawing to the rest of the class.