Breaking The Money Management Barrier For People With Autism
A diagnosis of autism will often mean a greater level of consideration as to how to approach day-to-day concepts that many people take for granted. One example of this is money management, which has been identified by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia as being a major source of anxiety and a significant barrier to personal independence when it comes to young adults diagnosed with autism. Establishing strategies to meet the challenge posed by money management is therefore important, and can be addressed both psychologically and with the help of anxiety-lessening devices such as tapper tools.
Banking can be a confusing and sometimes chaotic experience, even for those that don’t have the symptoms commonly associated with autism. The alternative, to not be banked at all, can be disastrous for onwards financial progression and everything that entails. ‘The unbanked’ encompasses up to 80 million American households, with the result being a lack of access to credit (including mortgages), no access to interest rates, and speculation by credit agencies as to their funding and income. Someone with a diagnosis of autism may experience symptoms associated with banking that makes being unbanked a reality for them. According to American Banker, several institutions are meeting this challenge through creating autism-friendly banks, which provide tools to avoid sensory overload, such as calm rooms, tactile feedback devices that work in a similar vein to EDMR equipment, and employees who are trained to be sensitive and helpful towards those who are having difficulty while in-branch.
Dealing with change
As outlined by the UK’s autistic spectrum advocacy charity Autism.org.uk, it can be difficult for some autistic people to meet and adapt to change. With the naturally volatile nature of finances, this can create a situation where gains, losses or money, can cause adverse symptoms that worsen a condition. In the short-term, it can be beneficial for people diagnosed with autism to have a tactile pulser or bilateral tapping device to help deal with symptoms when they arise. Long-term, it can be beneficial to hone in on products that are less volatile and provide steady gains - savings accounts with low-risk profiles, for instance.
In America, people diagnosed with autism and other people who are considered disabled in legal terms are often disadvantaged by having too many savings. According to CNBC, having money in basic savings or investment accounts can lead to the family being denied important Supplemental Security Income. This has changed, and since 2014 a specific savings account sponsored by the ABLE act means that families and individuals can save up to $15,000 a year without risking payments. The creation and proliferation of these products will be crucial in helping those diagnosed with autism to secure and develop their financial prospects.
Financial management can be difficult for people diagnosed with autism. The number of changes involved in financial planning and the need to access unfamiliar places can cause sensory overload. By using autism-positive services, tactile feedback to help quell symptoms, and new savings accounts, those diagnosed with autism can effectively secure their financial future.
*This blog post was written by Lucy Wyndam.