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Pure Friendship for Individuals with Special Needs
Becca Eisenberg

5 Ways to Teach Money Management to Older Children with Special Needs

Do you have an older child with special needs that you are trying to teach money management?  As your child gets older, learning more about money management and budgeting can increase independence, expand vocabulary and improve literacy and problem-solving skills. Here are 5 tips for teaching money management to a teen or young adult with special needs.

1. Use Workbooks!

There are many workbooks out there that are excellent for teaching money management, time telling skills, problem-solving and budgeting for older children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities. Some excellent resources include the Explore Math Series and Life Skills Academics: Math. These books are valuable to have as a resource guide at home, school or day habilitation program. They are easily reproducible, and there are a variety of activities within the books that target problem-solving, math skills, expanding vocabulary, and much more. I like that the workbooks focus on activities that relate math to functional activities such as daily living, school, work, etc.

2. Give your child a budget and go out in the community

Nothing beats real life experience! Give your child a set amount of money when going out to a particular store, restaurant, etc. This is an ideal activity to do around the holidays that should be planned ahead of time. Discuss how much money is within your child’s budget, what you want to buy, etc. After the activity, review the experience and discuss how much change you received back, if any. This can lead to important discussions regarding math and problem-solving skills.

3. Use appropriate apps and online resources

There are some excellent apps available to work on money management. One app that I often use is called Dollars and Cents by Attainment Company. This app teaches a person how to count coins, spend money and make change. There is also a lite version available to try before purchasing. Another popular app is called Next Dollar Up, which helps teach the concept of buying and selling within a real life setting. There are also many free resources out there such as ¢ents and $ensibility developed by Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation in conjunction with Widener University 2013

4. Help teach your child key terms and important sight words

Words such as “budget” , “expenses” , “checking account”, “savings”, “expenses”, “total amount”, “ATM”, “cash only”, “credit card” and “cashier” should be known by sight and definition. Within the workbooks I mentioned above; there are many more key terms that are discussed within the activities.

5. Play board games!

There are a variety of board games out there that teach money management that have been popular for many years, including Monopoly, Life and Payday. There are also games out there developed specifically for a child or adolescent with special needs such as Budget Town and Budget City by Attainment Company. I hope you find these tips helpful. Please comment with your own!

WRITTEN ON December 04, 2014 BY:

Becca Eisenberg