As a parent of a child with an intellectual disability, I think about money a lot. The same way I think about time, and reading. Yes, money, time and reading.
I’m not talking about my money and time (though they worry me too). For my child with an intellectual disability, money, time and reading are the three key factors that can determine whether she is able to have a job, or not.
Money represents something else. The value of the paper, or the ‘cash’ in your account isn’t easy to comprehend. Especially when your learning profile shows that abstract thought is weak.
Sometimes this feels like lonely work when everyone else has kids who just ‘get’ what money is. How currency works. What time is. And why they both matter. It is also really hard to figure out how to teach something that you just ‘know’ to someone who just doesn’t get it.
If you haven’t heard of MagnusCards, you really need to check them out. It’s a free app that helps people with cognitive disabilities thrive and gain independence. It’s all done through storytelling with a character called Magus. With Magnus as your guide, you collect digital decks. Each one teaches you how to handle everyday activities with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, told visually, in writing and in audio.
With CIBC Card Decks in the MagnusCards app, learning money is broken down into simple steps. They cover learning about money, banking and money management. For someone with an intellectual disability, money is presented in a straightforward and friendly manner.
A tool like this, supported by CIBC, helps those with disabilities like Alma live more independently and will allow her to contribute more fully to society. And it’s not just for people with Williams Syndrome. It’s useful for those with autism, ADHD, acquired brain injury, Down syndrome, other intellectual disabilities and even dementia. The ability to pay for something with your money, use a debit card, cash a check and use a bank machine is vitally important. With this app, CIBC is supporting more than decks. They are supporting me in helping to give my daughter skills that will make an extraordinary difference in her lifetime. She’s too young to use a bank machine now, but the steps and language have taught me how I can describe the process for her when she is curious.
We still have to master reading, time but I’m feeling confident that money will be one thing she can master, thanks to CIBC MagnusCard decks. There are countless other decks in the app too, from health to shopping to using transit and more. It sounds silly to say, I am profoundly grateful that resources like this exist. There are so many things that parents of kids with disabilities and special needs have to manage. Innovations like this help us feel like we don’t do it alone.
MagnusCards is free to use. Just download the app, register and add the CIBC decks to your “My Cards” folder. It’s really very fast and simple as can be. And who knows? Maybe an independent future for Alma and those like her is closer than we think.