On October 19, Dr. Dana Reinecke presented “10 Things to Know Before You Leave Home (And How to Learn Them)” at Transitions’ “Strategies to Build Independence for Students with Autism, ADHD and Other Learning Differences” conference. Her presentation covered basic skills that are more challenging for young adults with autism and other learning differences and strategies their support network can use to prepare them to perform those essential tasks on their own. We would like to share what we learned from Dr. Reinecke in this series of posts.
5. Bill Paying
If a young adult expects to live on their own, they must learn how to pay their own bills. Skills needed in this area include paying bills on time, writing checks, keeping track of checks written in registers, addressing and mailing envelopes, paying bills online and budgeting for known expenses.
Self-management requires observing and evaluating one’s own behavior and adjusting their environments as needed to get things done. Self-management is an essential skill because it can be applied in virtually any situation.
Self-monitoring – observing, recording and evaluating one’s own actions, usually to see a pattern or prevent certain behaviors from happening. Diets are a good example of a practice that requires self-monitoring.
Self-prompting – setting up prompts for yourself, such as sticky notes, alerts on phones and laying out things the night before so they aren’t forgotten.
Self-reinforcement – rewarding yourself for reaching goals.
Objective 1: Budgeting
Budgeting requires self-monitoring in the form of recording all expenses in a ledger. When used properly, this should curb overspending and prevent the individual from forgetting about paying essential bills.
Objective 2: Pay bills on time
Self-prompting is the best way to remember to pay bills on time. Have the individual write when bills are due on their calendars or set reminders on their phones. This is a simple, reliable way for young adults to become more independent.