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