Autism and The Importance of Financial Independence
Having financial independence is a very important factor to a healthy and self-sustainable life. This applies to everybody. The failure to manage one’s finances can cause a number of issues ranging from a decline in financial savings to more severe problems including the inability to take care of one’s basic needs. This can cause high stress and self-deprivation.
In many people with autism, managing money is a greater challenge than for those without autism. This is often linked to the challenges autistic people have in making decisions. A study suggested that making decisions involving changes in routine, interactions with others, and quick-thinking are particularly challenging for those with autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It has been widely reported that people with ASD struggle with social interaction as well as verbal and non-verbal communication. Decisions that involve money often require social interaction, communication, rational thought, and often occur in situations that are not routine. The study also reported that the process of making decisions can be exhausting and overwhelming for people with ASD, and these feelings can lead to anxiety.
These factors all contribute to the difficulty, and perhaps the reluctance, people with autism have in managing their finances.
Other contributing factors may include a lack of understanding of the value of money as well as the importance of deadlines in paying for certain things such as the house bills. Without a comprehensive understanding of the value of money, these people are at risk of developing unhealthy spending habits.
The difficulties people with autism face with managing their finances have widespread consequences. Without the ability to self-manage their money, people with autism would have to depend on family members to make their financial decisions for them. As a child, this may not be a huge problem. However, as one grows into adulthood, the need to be independent is prominent. It becomes no longer feasible for autistic people to completely rely on someone to make their financial decisions if they want to be able to live independently. As time passes, it may no longer be possible for them to rely on their financial caretakers due to factors such as growing age and death of the caretaker.
Another problem that may arise is the possibility of being manipulated by others. The lack of social understanding that many of those with autism have can make them vulnerable to scams and other forms of financial manipulation. Having the ability to manage their own finances can help protect them from such exploitation.