For the next 40 days, I’m posting on my Facebook page a brief word of encouragement for people living with autism (in themselves or their families).
Because our God is with us, concrete thinking is not a barrier to faith.
Because our God is with us, we can ask God for help.
But how do we teach these truths? Like all lasting things, as simply and as concretely as possible.
That’s why I’m offering these free printables for you to download and use this Advent (and hereafter) to encourage prayers.
Using the simplified prayer board is easy.
Print out the cards. Cut them out. Use them to pray.
The raised hand is “help.” The ear is “listen” or “hear.” The two hands together are “more.” The red palm is “stop.” The starting page is labeled and includes: like, don’t like, thank you, please, and safe.
Point to these in combination with the images of Jesus and the Theotokos to express thanks, like or dislike, say please, ask for or express safety, ask for help, ask God to help you hear wisdom on the right way to go, to give more of something, to stop something unwanted.
If you’re a parent or teacher, model this simple way of praying for your children/students by pointing/moving the cards and speaking simple prayers out loud as you do so. In this way, you will communicate to your concrete thinker a way to prayer that they can access even if they have cognitive challenges.
Like emotions, images are processed pre-cognitively. That means you can feel and see something before you even think about it. It also means that children who have complex challenges can still pray with their hearts and – using aided language assistance – with their minds.
Download the images above by dragging them to your desktop, or click on the links for the PDF versions.
Don’t forget to follow my 40 Days of Hope With Autism series on my Facebook Page.
I’m writing a book about the theology of welcoming families with special needs into the church. Make sure to follow this blog in order to receive news and access free printables and curricula to help your child with communication challenges enter into the faith.