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Budgeting Skills and Learning Disability

A subject like budgeting has many nuances. For the individual who has a learning disability, it’s potentially far more complicated.  We need to be careful of our assumptions. It’s important that we don’t assume that the individual with a disability isn’t capable of managing their budget and finances successfully. At the same time, we don’t want to “throw them into the deep end” and give them a task that is beyond their skill set.

The complexity of how we teach a skill like budgeting will depend, in large part, on the level of functioning the learner is capable of, as well as the age of the learner. Older individuals may require a more in-depth understanding of the topic than a younger learner.

Here are some things to consider when discussing or teaching budgeting to a person with a learning disability:

  • First, discuss the importance of a budget. You needn’t jump into a formal lesson quickly. Define what a budget it, establish some financial goals and take time to discuss why these things are important to the learner. If these items are properly addressed, it is likely that the learner will be excited to move forward with the process.
  • Don’t make it complicated. Tailor your expectations to the learning level of the individual and avoid intricate detail. Focus on the most important parts of the budgeting process (tracking income and expenses) first.
  • Avoid technologically complicated tracking processes. Sometimes a paper and pencil is your best tool! There are excellent resources available that can provide a basic budget work sheet geared towards a lower learning level. I like how this template is basic, customizable, colorful/appealing and easy to understand

Simple Budget Template

  • Make the numbers apply to the learner’s real life. Keep goal discussions going so they know what they are working toward. Emphasize keeping pay stubs and receipts.
  • Have regular check in sessions where you can keep tabs on the process and offer feedback. Help correct errors if they happen.
  • Offer plenty of encouragement. Keep the learner on track and build their confidence by praising progress!

Here  are some excellent  resources available to help individuals with a learning disability learn about money.

Helping young people with learning disabilities to understand money

Dollars and sense: Financial skills for teens with learning disabilities

Practical Money Skills For Life Lessons: Special Needs

functioning the learner is as well as the learner’s age, with older learners requiring a more in-depth understanding of the topic.Read more :
functioning the learner is as well as the learner’s age, with older learners requiring a more in-depth understanding of the topic.Read more :

2 Responses to Budgeting Skills and Learning Disability

  1. Kathleen says:

    I’m 64 years old with VERY VERY late diagnosis autism.It’s not that I Wouldn’t get help,it’s that I Couldn’t get help.A lot of damage has been done and I’m starting over.
    MY question is
    ¿How do I find somebody to teach and help me with budgeting?

    • Tracy East says:

      Kathleen – this is a great question! I would suggest contacting a non-profit credit counseling agency near you who will likely have community-based free educational classes you can attend. It may be more beneficial for you to attend an in-person session than to have a consultation over the phone. Let us know if we can assist you in any way!

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