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Teaching money to kids with special needs

Managing money is an important life skill. By teaching money to kids early on, you can prepare them to become self-dependent. Some of the financial skills that all individuals need to learn are saving up for buying something that they want, writing down everyday expenses, calculating monthly expenses and savings, and trying to manage expenses within the given budget. 

teaching money to kids

The ABCs of money

For children to learn to manage money, they must be familiar with basic mathematical skills such as number concepts, counting, addition, subtraction, etc.

Here’s how you can teach the ABCs of money concept –  Use real coins instead of the play money to make the abstract concept of money / finance, simpler to understand. Show them the coins and notes and teach them in the following hierarchy:

  • Financial building blocks

You can teach the coins and currency bills/notes that are in circulation today. Show them the coins and notes and teach them how the financial building block works.  

For example:

Two 10 Rupees = 20 Rupees

Two 20 Dollars and one 10 Dollars = 50 Dollars

  • Play a game 

Children learn better with interactive games. You can teach money concept and basic financial skills to your child through role-playing games 

Pretend you are the shopkeeper and have the child play the customer. After a while, switch roles and play the game. This variation in ‘roles’ helps the child grasp the concept of buying, selling, change amount, due amount, billing, details of the purchase receipt, etc. For older children, you can play games like money exchange or monopoly to make the learning process more fun and interactive. 

  • ‘Piggybank’ money

No matter what the child’s age, teach them to save money on a regular basis. It can be the weekly allowance that you give your child the money that they get from you or elders in the family during their birthday and other festive occasions.  Encourage them to save it up to buy their favourite things. 

  • Social stories

Social stories help to break down a task or social situation into discrete, easy-to-understand steps. Therefore, they can be a handy tool for teaching money to kids. You can explain how to go shopping, when to shop, things to have in the purse, etc. using social stories.

  • Using AAC to Discuss Money

Create a set of commonly used vocabulary related to money in their AAC systems. While they accompany you in shopping, model language on their AAC systems while asking for change, or calculating prices. Encourage them to use AAC to request the bill or ask for how much they are supposed to pay. 

child shopping with Avaz AAC
Using AAC in a mock store


Hope you liked this blog about teaching money to kids with special needs. Leave your suggestions and feedback in the comment section below.

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2 thoughts on “Teaching money to kids with special needs”

  1. Mam ,Really nice and helpful
    Can you please elaborate more on shopping concept like money is valuable, we have to bring return money from shopkeeper.we have to keep money safely. .handling notes with care etc…

    1. Glad you found the blog helpful, Dr.Sangita. We’ll soon share a blog that elaborates how to teach money concept to children.

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