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Bryan G. wrote:

Hi, guys —

If a Catholic parent has a special needs child in school who:

  • has learning and other disabilities (examples: Autism (including Asperger's Syndrome), ADHD, Down Syndrome, etc.) and
  • has a 504 plan or an IEP in school with mandatory accommodations (including resource room, speech pathology, etc.) . . .

    • Can CCD be 100% taught at home by the parents (including classes required for the Sacrament of First Confession and First Communion and Confirmation)?

To my knowledge, religious organizations and parishes are exempt from FAPE, Section 504, and the Americans With Disabilities Act and are not required by law to honor any IEP, 504 plan, or accommodate any special needs.

Bryan G.

  { Can CCD be taught 100% at home by the parents if their child has a learning or other disability? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Byran —

According to Canon law, parents are responsible for the education of their children, including the religious education of their children. CCD serves at the pleasure of the parents.

Consequently, if you are knowledgeable enough to teach your children the religious education they need to know, in theory there should be no problem with them receiving the sacraments without attending CCD but you will have to convince your pastor that you have adequately prepared your child(ren) for the sacraments. He is likely to be reluctant but remind him of your canonical rights (You may wish to consult a canon lawyer).

I recommend working with him by sharing your concerns and needs. If you get no satisfaction from him, go to the bishop.

If that doesn't work, you can appeal to the Papal Nuncio in Washington D.C.


Bob replied:


Most CCD programs do make special accommodations inasmuch as they work with parents to provide materials to utilize at home, but there are a few special events in preparation that usually require all participants to be there.

I would consult with your parish to find out what options are available.


Bob Kirby

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