Getting to Know the Person – Adapted for Youth Ministry

Getting to know the person

Contact Information:  home, email

When speaking with individual and/or parents

Present an overall attitude of openness and a desire to be supportive.

Let them know that in order to provide as positive an experience as possible, certain information is very important.

The goal is to support a meaninful experience of inclusion and participation in your parish youth/young adult ministry and the full life of the Church.  I have deleted asking about diagnosis for a few reasons.  One, we want to connect as people, not to a diagnostic label.  Second, the diagnosis isn’t necessarily helpful.  While it can help set your expectations, ultimately, the person is unique with his/her own gifts, interests and vulnerabilities like all of us.  We as Church need to become better and valuing the individual rather than trying to change him/her.  HOWEVER, this does not mean having no expectations.  Individuals with disabilities can and do learn and grow, but it’s only within the context of a supportive community.

The questions are to help you learn information about the individual, but use it as a guide to a conversation.  Therefore, adjust the language as appropriate based on who you are talking with, the individual or the parents.

  1. What kind of experience do you want – what level of inclusion?
  2. What are your/his/her special interests?
  3. What are your/his/her special gifts?
  4. Challenges?
  5. Do you/s/he have particular or potential interests in Mass or Catholic traditions?  (for example, really enjoys music, ritual, singing, etc)
  6. How would you describe your/his/her social relationships or friendships?
  7. Are you comfortable being around people?
  8. What makes you/him/her uncomfortable with other people?
  9. What kind of actions/activities make you/him/her feel more comfortable in these situations?
  10. What methods of communication are used?
  11. What have been effective learning strategies?
  12. What are good motivators?
  13. Are there any challenging behaviors?
  14. What are possible triggers of challenging behavior?
  15. What are helpful responses to challenging behavior?
  16. What is helpful for holding his/her attention?
  17. Does s/he have any diet or environmental issues?
  18. Does s/he have any medical issues to be aware of?
  19. Do you have any other children?  How do they relate to each other?
  20. Is there anything else you would like to share?