Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. As a spectrum disorder, ASD impacts individuals differently and to varying degrees. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 36 children have autism. Over a third of children with autism experience intellectual disabilities.
Many parents of children with autism worry about what could happen if they can no longer provide care and financial support. Improving financial literacy is essential for many with autism in gaining independence and preparing for adulthood.
Money management is a significant barrier and source of stress for young people with autism and their families, the Adult Autism Center of Lifetime Learning reports. Childhood therapies and interventions typically focus on reading and verbal literacy, social skills, and behaviors without much emphasis on money management – even though many with autism struggle with overspending and can feel overwhelmed about budgeting, using bank accounts, and saving.
While many young people with ASD desire financial independence, research suggests that they tend to be less financially literate than others, and few young adults with autism have personal bank accounts, per Autism at-a-Glance.
Learning about money has long-term benefits for children and young adults with ASD. When individuals with autism gain money management skills, they are more likely to have success at school and work. Financial literacy can also improve mental well-being and future income for some young adults on the spectrum.
Financial education can take different forms depending on the age and abilities of the child or young adult. Beginning financial education at an early age can help children with autism develop financial literacy in adulthood. The basics of financial education involve counting and recognizing money. Once students have grasped these concepts, they can move on to more complex topics, such as writing checks and budgeting.
The following strategies could support individuals with autism:
Another challenge many with autism face is peer pressure. Others might attempt to take financial advantage of those with ASD because they have trouble understanding social cues. For this reason, the Adult Autism Center of Lifetime Learning recommends that individuals with autism protect themselves by learning to recognize and avoid peer pressure.
Numerous resources are available to foster financial literacy for young adults with autism:
Financial education is essential yet often overlooked for those with autism. Children with autism can benefit from learning about finances early so they are prepared to navigate money matters as adults. Caregivers can play an important role in helping young people with autism gain financial literacy.
Parents can also help their children by setting up financial plans. For instance, they can learn about government benefits available to their children and establish trust funds to provide for them.
Speaking with Ashley Day can be the first step toward securing a child’s future.