The understanding of money and how it’s used in exchange for goods and services is one of the most fundamental skills necessary for independence. That’s why it’s a crucial skill that parents and teachers need to pass on to children. The use of money teaches kids so much more than the value of coins and paper. Kids can learn patience, delayed gratification and hard work all through the lessons about the value and exchange of money. Money also teaches children how to be grateful for the things they have and to value the things that they must work for. While many schools do incorporate learning about money into early childhood learning, teaching kids the value of money is just important at home. For some kids, it’s absolutely essential.
Money And Autism
For kids with autism, the use of money and the exchange of currency is not as much of a priority in their early development. While kids with autism spend a lot of time in lessons and therapies, historically many of them have concentrated on communication, literacy and behavior. Many have not incorporated lessons about money into these programs and it’s pretty evident why professionals concentrate on the skills listed above instead of finances. Yet, in a study by the University of Missouri in which students and young people with autism between the ages of 16 and 25 were interviewed about their financial skills, researchers found that these individuals were very frustrated by their financial skills and understanding. In order to support independence and growth for individuals with autism, the exchange of money and financial skills must become part of future curriculums as well as a concentration in the home.
Why Are Money-Use And Exchange Important?
Some people perpetuate the attitude that there is no need for kids with autism, down’s syndrome or other special needs to learn about personal finances because they may always be dependant on family or caregivers. However, if you want your child to foster their own independence and to accomplish things like purchasing their own groceries or clothes, opening a bank account, or even possibly having an apartment through programs like IDLA from Lexington Services, it’s important that they learn how to recognize and use money. The proper use of money will also boost their self-worth and the understanding of their identity as well, especially if they have the opportunity to use money to purchase clothing and other things that reflect that personality. A child may be able to direct you to their favorite item to have you buy it, but it will be more satisfying for them if they have the opportunity to make purchases and decisions on their own.
How To Teach Kids About Money
One thing to remember when it comes to money is that currency and the exchange of coins and bills is highly conceptual. Kids with autism tend to struggle with conceptual ideas, finding the concrete things easier to understand. However, it’s clear that kids with autism are hungry to learn more about financial independence, so early intervention and creativity are the key to teaching kids about money. If you support the independence of your child or you’re a teacher that wants to incorporate lessons about money and finance into your lessons, here are some of the benchmarks you need to visit with them:
- Explain Money – The most basic lesson that must be fundamentally understood is what money is, where it comes from and how it’s used. Yes, exact values are important here, but it’s also important that they understand your use of money, the concept of your limited income and how you must make careful decisions with your money to keep from running out. It’s important that young people understand the finite nature of money.
- Practice At Home – Children with autism benefit highly from visual demonstrations and practiced routines, so get creative with your learning. Perhaps you can set up a grocery store in your house and allow your child practice paying for items for dinner.
- Have Your Child Pay – This is the easiest to teach loved ones about the exchange of money for things that they want or enjoy. This may be difficult at first for kids with autism, but it will also help them develop the social understanding that comes with the exchange of cash.
- Give Them An Allowance – A weekly allowance introduces your child to the concept of budgeting and the need for savings. Reinforce the idea that this money is theirs to make purchases, but they will only be given the weekly amount. Encourage them to create a goal or find something they want to buy and then help them save their money for that item.
- Set Up A Bank Account – Set up a bank account for your child as early as you can once they have started to understand money so they have a lot of time to learn how to use a bank. Find hours to visit the bank where there are not many visitors and the bank will be quiet. There are also many banks like the Regions Bank that are autism friendly destinations.
- Help Them Find A Job – If your child is a bit more independent, helping them find a job is the biggest step forward in the pursuit of their own autonomy. Look for job opportunities that are mindful of your child’s disability and that are accessible for them. Make sure to check the Autism Speaks website to look for open opportunities.
As with all things, make sure to practice patience with your child when teaching them about money. You want them to master this skill, so your understanding guidance will be imperative.
No matter where your child is in the process of learning, Lexington Services can help them build their understanding and skill sets. We are an Arizona state recognized DDD Service provider and we work with people in-center or in their home or community. For more information about the services we offer, contact our main office by calling 480-900-1009 today.
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