Everyone needs to know how to manage their money and people with Down syndrome are no exception. Most find this very challenging. Woodbine House has recently published a book, Managing my money: Banking and budgeting basics by Natalie Hale, to make learning these skills easier.
The book is designed to be used by a teacher or parent together with a student. The teacher notes are at the start of each chapter and the student pages follow in a larger type. Much thought has been put into making the book simple and as visually and conceptually conducive to learning as possible. There are many colourful illustrations to break up the text. The spiral binding makes it easy turn the page back to focus only on the concept on one page. The tasks have broken down into small components. The ledgers have used colour-coding with a standard, although enlarged, format that is used throughout.
A CD is included which allows printing of these visually understandable forms.
The first part teaches about keeping records. Envelopes are used for incoming money (plus) and receipts of expenditures (minus) and then these are recorded on the ledger sheets.
The second part looks at budgeting and understanding needs, wants and savings.
The third part discusses how to keep a cheque account. This is probably the least useful section for Australians. It is possibly not necessary for people with Down syndrome to learn how to use a cheque account. These days most bills can be paid online, purchases are made with cash from an ATM or with a debit card. There is a short lesson on debit cards, but more of this would have been better.
At first glance, the book looks a little overwhelming. But the author gives plenty of instructions for using it and advice for how to expand each section to provide plenty of practice and repetition to understand each concept before moving on. The only other problem for Australians is that the dates are taught in month/day format, so that would have to be changed before using it so that it wouldn't be confusing. Despite these quibbles, I think the book is a great resource which has addressed the learning needs of people with Down syndrome. Money management skills are extremely useful in increasing one's independence, so this is a great help towards attaining those skills.
Contents, excerpts and other information at Woodbine House website.
If you'd like to borrow this book or anything else, please call us or email.