When my son, Nicholas, was about three he asked us why monks got married? We were completely confused, explaining that monks do not marry, they live a cloistered celibate life. He became agitated and loudly insisted that WE said they did. We asked Nick to explain himself and he explained to us that every night, we say, “Blessed art thou a Monk’s Woman.!”
For us, that was a good lesson in how easily any child can misunderstand what is said. Our little girl, Anya, has a mild form of autism. She takes things very literally and clichés, metaphors, even some examples are lost on her. It can have some funny repercussions….. Don’t ever ask her to hop into the car or she will remind you of a little bunny!
When working with children with disabilities, it is helpful to remember to say exactly what you mean and mean exactly what you say. Abstract concepts, such as, “God is everywhere,” may be almost impossible for them to grasp. Baby Jesus in a manager is a much easier thing for them to hang onto.
An awareness of this will change the dynamics of your classroom. It is difficult to change the way we speak to accommodate a few children, but it will also deepen our own faith as we search for better ways to communicate the faith to these kids. God bless.