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Paying for things

If you have a physical and communication disability you may not physically be able to get and open your wallet, take out money, lift up and count the change given to you and put the change back into your wallet. The following suggestions have been made by people who have communication disabilities.


  • Use a wallet with separate compartments that zip or snap shut
  • If you carry a bag on the back of your chair, do not put items of high value in it
  • Keep your wallet and other valuables close to your body and secured to your chair
  • Keep bus tickets, money, and credit cards in separate compartments or separate wallets
  • Only carry the amount of money that is needed
  • Ensure your money is organized in your wallet. Keep $5 bills together, $10’s together etc.
  • Shop at the same stores so you can build relationships with shop owners and cashiers
  • Know how much you have before going shopping. Have the amount written down or programmed into your device if you are worried that you will forget
  • Make sure you get a receipt for everything
  • Maintain or have attendants maintain a record of your purchases
  • Watch cashier/attendants carefully
  • Do the math in your head before you get your change or use the calculator in your device to check your receipt before you leave the store
  • Consider a rear view mirror to see people accessing bags at the back of your chair
  • Prepare ahead. Program devices or displays with appropriate vocabulary
  • Make a small communication display about handling your money and keep it in your wallet/pouch/purse. Tell the person to read out the instructions before they take out your money.

Useful phrases

  • Please do everything in front of me
  • I want to see what is happening
  • Can you please put my change in a separate pouch/section of my wallet
  • Please put the receipt in the envelope
  • Please go slower
  • Please count the change out loud
  • Please give me the receipt
  • Please go over the receipt slowly
  • Please unzip the bag on the [location]
  • Please get my wallet [location]
  • Please take out the money and show it to me
  • I have a problem with how you are doing that
  • I’d like to see the manager
  • Please record that expense in my account notebook and put the receipt in the envelope
  • Can you assist me with my accounts?
  • I want to keep track of my money.

Picture Display

Paying for things

Practice Scenarios

You may want to practice communicating in the following situations. Ask someone you trust to assist and give you feedback.

  1. Your attendant has done some shopping for you. You want to start keeping track of your expenses. What could you say and do?
  2. There is a new cashier at your local corner shop. How will you direct her to assist you in paying for your items?
  3. You are concerned that you may not have received the correct change. What can you say or do?
  4. You cannot see what the cashier is taking out of your wallet. What can you say or do?