Answering the Call: Financial Education for Persons with Disabilities
By Jade Cox
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the government, various organizations, and businesses teamed together to focus on the areas of entrepreneurship and financial literacy. A new curriculum resulted which primes students with tools for making sound personal financial decisions and lays the foundation for successful entrepreneurship. While various reports and research data have shown that financial literacy and entrepreneurial education will benefit all students, there is an increased need for persons with disabilities to participate in appropriately designed curriculum.
In a presentation at the Third Annual Financial Literacy Leadership Conference, Dr. Michael Morris echoed the conference theme that no group in America is more in need and more deserving of economic recovery. Disturbing statistics show that persons with disabilities are three times more likely than others to live at or below the poverty line. It is imperative that they be empowered with new knowledge, choices, and supports. A well designed curriculum, coupled with accessible resources, can provide youth with disabilities the skills to build a stable and healthy future.
In keeping with the above sentiments, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, compiled a literature review addressing the topic of financial literacy for this population. The review highlights the importance of equipping students with disabilities with financial knowledge and awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities as they prepare to leave high school. The need is crucial due to the barriers they encounter as they transition into the workforce, post-secondary education, and independent living.
Other responses have included tools for parents and guideposts for state and local administrators and policy makers. And, not only have leaders within special education been heavily involved in creating an inclusive curriculum, but so have those within the deaf and blind communities.
Organizations providing advocacy and training for individuals with sensory disabilities also work with local, state, and federal agencies as a means to increase the entrepreneurial opportunities for these individuals. Examples of such efforts for persons who are blind or visually impaired are the Blind Entrepreneurial Alliance and TCS Consulting. Additionally, groups like Global Deaf Women and the National Deaf Business Institute are promoting and advancing entrepreneurial and financial literacy within the deaf community. Emphasis is also placed on increasing the opportunities for business owners with sensory disabilities to network at various trade shows and conferences.
About the Author
Jade Cox serves as the Educational Specialist at DCMP and has eight years of experience as an educator. Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding titles in our catalog or the media selection process.