It has taken some time, but we have been able to manage keeping Connor in his seat through a whole mass now. It didn't help that our former pastor felt that when you come to God's house, you should not be checking the time - neither did he. Consequently, what normally goes for an hour would take an extra 30 or 45 minutes more - not so good when you have a very antsy autistic kid who isn't really paying attention to the sermon anyway. The music, singing, candles & all that was fine, but when it got to the sermon, either Lee or I would have to take Connor out for a walk/play/run break.
He's now 10 years old. He gets a blessing at communion, since he hasn't been able to sit through religious education classes or sacramental preparation classes. He was baptized as a baby, because that's more our rite than his - we are promising to raise him with our beliefs in our church. Communion in our church means you are accepting Christ into yourself, and you need to understand and believe in that to participate. There is also the sacrament of reconciliation prior to First Communion, and that also should be understood as a way to ask forgiveness.
Those kinds of concepts were a little too far beyond what Connor could comprehend before. In the last year, however, he has shown more understanding about himself and others in the world, and has been able to accept the death of my dad and understand something about that as well.
Today was our first day in class. I have him in the second grade for religious ed, because it's much more visual and presented at a level he will understand better. The sacramental preparation class usually requires at least a year in religious education, but they are waiving that for Connor so that he can get First Reconciliation and First Communion in the same year. :)
He did very well today in class with me. He seemed to get most of what was going on, because he was able to choose the correct answers at the multiple choice at the end. He also reads more quickly than the rest of the class - heh. It's the comprehension that we're working on!
I had him do some running & jumping jacks before we went in for Mass after the hour-long class. He did very well through Mass as well. Good job, Connor!