“Mom, can we go to the movies today?” my son asks me as we are heading home.
“Can we go on Monday?” I ask in response.
“Yes!” the munchkin tells me excited he gets to go to the movies.
Two years ago the answer would’ve been no and not just because he was easily overstimulated by the loud sounds of a movie theater. At the time despite working two jobs I still couldn’t afford to take the munchkin out to the movies.
What does personal finance have to do with autism?, you ask.
When the munchkin was very small (between the ages of 3 and 5 years old) I would sometimes have him with me while running errands (I was still married at the time). This included trips to the ATM to get money for things we needed. He would watch me insert my debit card into a slot on the machine, punch a few buttons, and money would come out of another slot. I would then get my card back and we would be on our way.
It wasn’t long before I started finding slips of paper sticking out between the slots on the floor vent (the heating/cooling vents were in the floor and not the ceiling like our current dwelling). There was paper sticking between sofa cushions, the TV and side of TV stand. Basically anywhere that naturally formed a “slot” the munchkin would tear rectangular shaped papers and put them in.
It took a several months for me to figure out what was going on and once I did I told the munchkin (who was nonverbal at the time) “That’s not how you make money. No money is going to come back out”. He just looked at me.
I stopped finding paper in “slots”.
As any parent of a child with autism knows, there is more to self expression than what’s verbalized. The munchkin was already forming concepts in his mind on how to acquire money by watching me.
The munchkins activities (food, travel, going to the movies, and swimming) are all part of the family budget. At school he has been working on learning to add money and count back change. Going forward I will work with giving him an allowance so he can learn how to save for things he wants.
Please comment down below:
Do you talk to your munchkin about money? If not, do you budget your munchkins activities?