A (Financial) Lesson Learned is a Lesson Earned: Practical Tips for Parents of Kids with Special Needs

This article is written by Elisa Ortiz. All content provided is for informational purposes only. Check with financial institutions in your area before making choices suggested in this article.

While money isn’t everything, the old adage that “money makes the world go ‘round” is true to an extent. Despite this, children don’t get taught about finances in school. It’s almost unfathomable that mathematics lessons in schools largely forsake personal finance as a vehicle for teaching.

Whether or not we like it, money and our ability to secure credit bears a big influence on how happy we are. A bad credit rating from unpaid bills can heap massive influence on our day-to-day existence and can limit or increase our options when it comes to seeking the lifestyles that we want.

The financial system is unavoidable, and every child can benefit from being introduced to it. Wealth, or the lack thereof, is statistically linked to our health, our life expectancy, the areas we will live, and even levels of depression. A child is never too young to start learning the age-appropriate basics.

Educating your child about money and the value of it, is worthwhile for everyone. It can be a great practical lesson for parents of kids with special needs. Some kids on the Autism spectrum or with ADHD can be prone to problems in delaying gratification. Relatively short-term, simple lessons about squirreling away money might help them to better understand that gains and rewards can be longer-term and larger, as opposed to instant and fleeting.

Gap in the Market

While there is certainly a gap in school curricula, it presents parents with an opportunity to get more involved with their children’s education—and that’s never a bad thing. Kids respond better to people that they know well and trust, which can be especially true of kids with special needs.

Nobody understands your child as well as you do as a parent, so grasp the opportunity to make learning about personal finances fun. It’s a lesson that will impact on their lives immeasurably, and as with a lot of things, habits learned when young are habits that stick. In a world that’s commercially-driven, the value of money is perhaps only equaled by the value in understanding it.

State of Independence

For kids with special needs, a good understanding of finances can be empowering and it’s a great way to increase their potential to be more independent down the line. The sales industry is constructed to take advantage of those that understand the system less, and preys on people that have less fiscal discipline. Giving your child the knowledge to negotiate the retail environment, with all its deliberate temptations and marketing strategies, is almost as important these days as teaching them to cross the road safely.

For kids with special needs, a good understanding of finances can be empowering and it’s a great way to increase their potential to be more independent down the line

Independence can be a precious commodity for kids growing up with special needs. There can also be more hurdles on the track to confidence for these kids. They can be at a distinct disadvantage when they rely on the educational system alone. Some lessons can be easier taught in a loving environment like the home, where fears about failure subside.

Confidence can be a frustratingly difficult place to reach for any child. As a parent, confidence is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, and it influences so many areas of their life. A confident kid is a happier kid, a more communicative kid, and a kid that learns more readily and easily.

Rewarding Pursuit

Good money management, whether it be at pocket money or investments, is by definition, a rewarding pursuit. It’s well suited to be a fun learning activity with real and apparent consequences of actions. Few things instill memorable lessons like physical rewards. For instance, saving half of their pocket money can very quickly open a child’s eyes to the benefits of financial planning and being frugal.

These early reward-based lessons are events that we never forget, and best of all, money and saving is very relative. Five dollars saved by an eight-year-old that buys a new toy, is just as significant to them as a well-planned pension fund is to a person at retirement.

Have Fun With It

This article will hopefully help you as a parent that wants to use teaching finance as an aide to give your child confidence, impart to them that financial health is proportional to their independence and happiness, and just to have some fun with learning.

Personal finances are a great opportunity to teach them about the value of making good decisions and the rewards to be gained from being responsible and savvy, and can illustrate that, as our Mothers and Fathers taught us, patience is indeed a virtue. If you’re having trouble with where to even begin, check out a guide to credit or other important financial topics.

About the Author

Elisa Ortiz started her career as a paralegal but has since developed a passion for understanding credit and personal finance which she now shares through the content she creates.

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