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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Schellander

Budgeting for diverse learners

Money management plays an important role in facilitating independence in young adults with ASD, and this increased independence is proven to be a predictor of future success in post-secondary education and in the adult workforce. Research also suggests that the ability to manage personal finances in adolescents with disabilities not only has the potential to increase independence, but also improve mental well-being and future income.

Setting up a Bank Account

Setting up a bank account can be intimidating for many people, and this anxiety can be

amplified in individuals who may have difficulties adjusting to new social settings.

Bring someone you trust along.

This can make the process of setting up a bank account easier. Try and pick someone who has been through the process before so that they can help explain things that may be unclear, offer advice about the many options, provide prompts for questions to ask, and provide moral support.

Seek Out ASD-friendly Banks

There are some banks that have begun creating ASD friendly spaces and processes within their organisations. An example is Beyond Bank, which implements strategies like specifically educating employees about ASD and training them on how to appropriately communicate with all clients. with a staged roll-out of “disability-friendly” branches across its national network.

Online Banking

If there aren’t any banks near that are specifically ASD friendly or if transport is an obstacle to banking in person, online banking is an another option. Many banks allow customers to set up and manage checking and savings accounts online. Online banking can also help to reduce the social impacts of in-person banking.


Even without any formal education on money management, budgeting skills can be learned at any time through planned practice at home or by using resources available online. There is an enormity of educational videos and briefs online that give step by step instructions and advice on budgeting.

Utilise Visual Aids for Budgeting

The use of visual supports to aid individuals with ASD in learning and memory has been well documented in the literature. For this reason, it could be valuable to use one of the many free budgeting apps available online that integrate visual aids.

Apps like EveryDollar can consider personal financial goals (pay off debt, save for a car, travel more, etc.) in addition to income and expenses whilst incorporating visuals.

Many budgeting apps can be connected to a bank account, so expenses are automatically entered

Other apps that incorporate visuals and break budgeting into easy steps are Intuit Mint Budget Tracker & Planner and Autism Speaks Financial Planning App.

Be Careful with Credit

Credit cards can be an easy trap making you fall behind on credit card payments and accumulate debt. People are likely to spend more when they use a credit card than they would with a debit card because they cannot physically see the money leave their hand or their bank account. This may be especially true for those who rely on visual cues to make sense of money management.

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