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Tips for Teachers to Explain Money to Students in Special Education

written by: jenniferterry • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 6/6/2012

Teaching money is an abstract concept that has many "what ifs" to the task. Teaching these concepts to students with disabilities can be hard to do. They need a lot of reinforcement and modified lesson plans. This is a resource to create a study guide to teach children about money.

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    Teaching functional study skills to students with disabilities can have the most meaningful impact to children once they become adults. Financial management is one of the hardest skills to teach because it is an abstract concept. Building a study guide to help reinforce concepts can really improve outcomes for learning money skills.

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    Building the Study Guide

    Build a study guide for a student to use in the classroom and to carry home for reinforcement study. To do this you will need the following tools:

    What you'll need -- Plain paper, 3 ring binder, catalog pictures, reproduction of money clearly marked "reproduction", laminating film, glue, and Velcro.

    Steps for Creating the Guide

    • Punch holes in plain paper.
    • Cut out pictures from catalog or sales paper.
    • Glue one picture to one page. Continue until all pictures are used.
    • On each picture page write the price of the item. Depending on the child's cognitive level and goal you may choose to use only the whole dollar at the beginning.
    • Laminate the pages.
    • Put Velcro at the bottom of the pages.
    • Laminate the money.
    • Put Velcro on the back of the money.

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    Using the Guide

    Have actual items set up in the resource room. Display the items like a store. Grocery items may be easier to set up than other products. The child will use the book and can remove the money. They will look at the book and be interested In the pictures because you will use items the child likes. Begin by allowing the child to hold the money while they look at the pictures.

    Next the child can read the price of each item. Then encourage the child to match the dollar amount with the item by placing it on the Velcro. You will need to have a strip of Velcro long enough to accommodate multiple dollars in cases where more than one bill will be used (for example, $3 items).

    Later you can have the dollars already on the page for the child to remove and "make change".

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    Money Made Easy

    By creating a modified lesson that's fun and functional, your student's study guide can make learning money skills a lesson goal that is obtainable and measurable for students with special needs.