Tips for Teaching Your Children with Disabilities About Money

Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

They say that money isn’t everything, but if you want your kids to grow and live financially responsible lives, then they must know the basics.

Lessons about spending and saving money are paramount for all children, and kids with disabilities are no exception.

It is important to build a strong foundation as you teach lessons about earning money and using it wisely, and although it may take some patience, these are lessons that can be taught to any child.

Heed these tips for fun and educational ways to teach your kids about money.

Tips for Teaching Your Children with Disabilities About Money
Image Source: Unsplash

  • Teaching the Basics

    Before getting into discussions about money, it is essential to remember that depending on your child’s needs, you may need to spend more time along with plenty of patience, and repetition will likely be necessary. Stay positive and have a plan already in place so you and your child can stay focused on the goal. At the same time, stay flexible. If a certain lesson isn’t working how you hoped, adjust and try a different tactic.

    The best way to begin is with the basics of money and how it is spent, and don’t be afraid to start early so they can they have time to form good money behaviors and build on them. Start with coin identification with real coins. Tell them about each coin, which is the smallest and which are worth the most and then start asking educational questions, such as how many dimes go into a dollar, and how many quarters would one need to get three dollars, and other pertinent questions.

    After that, bring out the bills and start teaching them about the specifics of each piece of paper currency. Tell them how you handle money and transport it in a wallet or purse. Take it one step further and give them their own wallet or purse. This can help remind them of the importance of keeping it in a safe place. If you need additional assistance with these early phases, use workbooks and other online resources like apps that teach kids how to count money.

    Depending on the disability, different teaching habits may be required. For instance, those with Down Syndrome are usually visual learners, so when you are talking about adding things together, use brightly colored numbers or count items as you put them into your grocery cart. Kids with dyslexia learn better when they are able to touch and feel what they are counting, so literally adding up the coins or their favorite toys can help them to understand.

  • Budgeting

    Now that they understand the basics, move on to budgeting and put it into practice at home.

    If they are old enough and able to do chores around the house, assign a few, and then pay them for their efforts. Now that they have money in their pockets, you can talk to them about how much they have, what they want to buy, and if they have met or have fallen short of their goal.

    Spend a fair amount of time teaching them about why we need to budget and what else they will need money for other than toys and candy. You can do this by setting up several jars and putting labels on them for spending, saving, and bills and have them decide how they will split up their earnings. This way, they start to learn between active and passive income.

    As another lesson, go to a store and show how this money is spent by buying something and involving your child in the steps. First, have them watch as you present an item to the cashier, and when you are given a price, how you offer the money to pay. Then, the next time you go to the store, have your child present the money themselves until finally, they are comfortable enough to do the entire transaction on their own while you supervise. Eventually, you can let them go to the store alone and watch with pride as they put their lessons to work.

    Depending on the disability, you will want to keep things simple and then build from there. For those with autism and similar disabilities, trust in the process and be patient and allow them to fail as that is a part of learning. Before you head to the store, those with autism may benefit from role-playing, where you play the cashier and your child plays the customer as you put pretend price stickers on their toys.

  • Preparing for the Future

    Depending on your child’s unique needs, there may be a time where they will want to join the workforce in some capacity. Although you and your child may feel some concern about how they will fare out in the world, remember that every individual has the right to have a job and that having responsibilities outside of the home can be very fulfilling.

    There are also many services available for those with disabilities that parents or guardians can take advantage of. For example, people with autism can get assistance with polishing their resume, finding the best careers, and utilizing financial assistance opportunities. It is important to teach the kids that while working does give them money to spend and save, working also gives them a purpose in life, which no amount of money can buy.

    Young adults with disabilities have many different choices for work, whether it be part-time, full time, or volunteer work. Teach them that every job is important, every job is instrumental, and when they do their best, they are making a difference. Remember that there are also assistance programs and companies that go out of their way to hire those with disabilities. Monster has published a long list of these businesses.

    These lessons about money are not only a foundation for an understanding of finances, but they are also a way for your kids to understand what life may be like when you are not around anymore. As a parent, you will want to set up a will or otherwise provide an inheritance so your kids have something to live off of and be cared for, especially if they cannot work as often as others. But along with that, you want to be sure to teach them how to use that money responsibly. You can do this by having conversations and teaching the lessons we discussed previously, and by simply leading by example as you are responsible with your own spending.

In the end, teaching proper lessons about money is crucial. Start instructing them when they are young, and any kid can grow up to be a financially responsible adult.

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