Transition Skills: Utility Bills

Bills are hard to explain, and hard to understand for someone who has never paid them. For Annie, who once informed a therapist that people get money by “finding it on the ground”, understanding bills means also understanding how money works.

This will be a long process for us. We decided to start with utilities, since there’s a very tangible effect to not paying utility bills.

We began with my highly unexpert diagram (see below) of what utilities we must pay for in order to keep the house running. We talked about what we lose if we don’t pay for:

  • wifi
  • water
  • sewage
  • electricty
  • gas
  • trash (our city covers trash with our taxes, but we are going to learn about it anyway, since many places don’t)

The discussion went something like this:

Me: “What happens if we don’t pay the electric bill?”

A: “It gets very boring in here”

Fair enough. We also covered briefly, where the money comes from (not from finding it on the ground)

We are going to talk about automatic bill pay at a later date. Money in general is an enormous topic that will require many, many sessions.

This reminds me to say something about chunking. If your student has chunking as an IEP accommodation, you understand that it means breaking an assignment into small, manageable pieces. This is good advice for your transition skills training. You and your student are the best people to decide how small or large to make your pieces, so please don’t feel you have to cover topics in the same way Annie and I are.

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