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Empowering Our Children - Michelle Sobel

Throughout our Autism journey I have had to learn, a lot.

I needed to learn about this developmental disorder called Autism and the way it would impact my son for the rest of his and all our natural lives…to learn about what help I can access for my son…to learn how my son learns…to learn if those teaching my son understand him and what they can do to encourage his participation and learning. I’ve had to learn how to motivate him, and most importantly how to empower him regardless of the obstacles.

Since I’ve started blogging I’ve never advertised anyone or anything - I’ve just covered our journey as honestly and openly as I can in order to promote tolerance, understanding and acceptance. I don’t know everything about Autism and what’s out there. I just know everything about my sons Autism and his needs.

Image: Michelle and her son Daniel participating in arts and crafts.

My daughters partner (Gal), has recently joined a company (Spendable) that has created the worlds first debit card and an app to meet the payment needs of people with a disability. I didn’t know this even existed nor how could it even work for a young man like my Daniel, who also has an Intellectual disability.

The chances that Daniel would ever use a debit card would be negligible, so I investigated. I’m sharing this in case someone out there would be interested; in case it helps them, just like I read and research and decide for our son.

Firstly the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia recognizes and supports this initiative and covers it financially.

Secondly it’s not just a card for the user but also for the support workers that assist that individual. All the cards are linked and the parent has the power and controls the funding. The parent has an app and controls the amount of funds for each card from $0 to what ever amount is needed.

What this means is that if I was brave enough to send Daniel with a carer to a restaurant for example, and if he could understand the concept of a card, I could allocate twenty dollars for each card. One for the carer to cover his/her petrol costs for example, and one for Daniel to pay for his meal. Now Daniel does not understand money, but what Daniel is able to learn is that after his meal he would need to open his wallet, take out his card and walk to the counter and tap his card on the Eftpos machine with his carers guidance. It would mean that he will learn a new appropriate skill to add to his independence, and I can monitor each financial transaction for Daniel and any of his carers on this app. At the minute I’m very protective of Daniel and he’s always with me, us, but… one day when our daughter would guide Daniel, I know trusted carers will be part of the picture .

I have also found out that the carer can upload an image through this app to show me where they are and what restaurant or shops they are visiting to ease my worry, and for an overprotective mother like myself, I can have control over where they go and what shops are acceptable for Daniel to visit and purchase what I choose for him. The fact that the parent or guardian has the ultimate control when it comes to this debit card eases my mind that he would not be taken advantage of. Everything is accounted for easily.

Of course there are varying degrees of disability and function and some higher functioning individuals would have greater control over their own finances. Spendable recognises this, and has a range of features that can be switched on and off depending on the individuals needs.

This information is in its simplistic form and if you’d like to find out more about this card and app, request a demo and chat to the team, because empowering those that need extra help should always be encouraged and supported.

Request a demo here:

To learn more about Daniel and Michelle's journey check out the Autismistic Blog on Facebook:

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