Certificate in Special Needs


This certificate program is designed for adults in schools, parishes, or dioceses who are already teaching and ministering in special needs, or preparing to embark on such a ministry.


  1. There are two levels in the Special Needs certificate program. Each level has a separate application and fee. You do not need to take both levels, however you must apply for level one before applying for level two.
  2. For the level for which you are applying, click on the registration link below, complete your application and pay the $20.00 / $35.00 (VLCFF partner / non-partner) fee for the program. Note, to see the registration link below you must be a registered VLCFF user, and logged in.
  3. Complete the required courses for your level (one or two).
    Please note:
    • Normal course fees apply.
    • You are responsible for self-registering for all courses.
  4. Up to two courses taken with a diocese may be applied toward the Certificate in Special Needs Faith Formation.
    • The Diocesan Catechetical Leader is required to submit a letter to the VLCFF Curriculum Design Specialist, indicating the course(s) are equivalent to 2.5 CEUs (25 clock hours of work) and met the equivalent VLCFF course objectives.
  5. As you complete each course in the program, you will receive a course completion certificate. Upon completion of an entire level of courses, you will be eligble to receive a Certificate of Completion in Special Needs Faith Formation (level one or level two).
  6. It is your responsibility to keep track of your progress in the program: Keep track of the courses you have taken, and when you have finished the program (level one or two), contact Richard Drabik with your request for your certificate of completion.

Level I Courses

  1. Disabilities in Parish Life: An Overview (SN-1)
  2. Fundamentals in Deaf Faith Formation (SN-2)
  3. Creative Methodologies: ADHD in Parish Life - Pastoral Implications (SN-3)
  4. Autism in Faith Formation (SN-4)
  5. Faith Formation for Adults with Special Needs (SN-5)

Level II Courses

  1. Veteran and Military Family Outreach
  2. Bioethical Issues Including Care for the Aging and Support for Families
  3. Disabilities Ministry across the Life Span: Prenatal Diagnosis – End of Life Care
  4. Chronic Illness: Mental Illness, Grief, Trauma Supports, Counselling
  5. Moral Injury: Co-Occurring Disorders, When our Pain Blocks God's Joy


For required texts, please refer to the Course Catalog and note the descriptions for each course.


If you are new to the VLCFF, please complete a user profile (in the Become a New Student page, click the link to create your profile). You must be logged in to see the registration link.