Thursday, April 16, 2015

22 free things, services and grants for kids with special needs


Enjoy! And feel free to share other great free things for kids with special needs in the comments.

Free lifetime pass to national parks, wildlife refuges and many national forests

This is a free pass to more than 2000 recreation sites for U.S. citizens or permanent residents of any age who have a permanent disability; they can be accompanied by three fellow passengers in the car. Admission isn't always free—it may just be discounted—so check the site you're planning to visit. The application is here; there's a $10 processing fee plus documentation is required.

Free iPads and apps

The HollyRod Foundation's Gift of Voice program provides tablets pre-loaded with apps and games to children with autism in need. Small Steps in Speech funds supplemental treatments and therapies not covered by insurance for children with language and speech disorder; Danny's Wish provides iPads to kids with autism. The itaalk Autism Foundation has an App Facilitator Program that provides kids with disabilities of all kinds with up to $250 in free apps per calendar year.

Free bikes

Variety gifts bikes to kids with special needs through local chapters, find your chapter here.

Free customized songs

The non-profit Songs of Love Foundation creates custom songs for kids and teens facing medical, physical and emotional challenges. They'll create professionally-produced lyrics featuring the child's name and references his or her favorite stuff, with a performer singing it.

Free photo shoot

Families of kids with special needs who are stretched thin with medical or therapy bills may apply for a Smiles for Katie Family Photo Grant, through Special Kids Photography of America (SKPA) to receive a free photo shoot and 8 x 10 photo. The grant is named after a four-year-old with Down syndrome, Katie, who passed away while on vacation with her family. You can apply for the grant only if work with an SKPA photographer. Details and the application are here.

Free books

The National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped offers free braille and audio materials—via postage-free mail—to people who have visual or physical impairments that prevent them from reading or using standard print materials. They also have musical scores in braille and large print.

Free plane trip rehearsals

The Arc's Wings for Autism—a national program—allows individuals with autism (along with their families) to "rehearse" a plane flight, complete with obtaining boarding passes, going through security and boarding a plane. Find upcoming program locations here.

GRANTS AND FUNDING PROGRAMS FOR KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Danielle's Foundation: Offers grants for kids with cerebral palsy that can be used for therapies, equipment and other benefits. To request a grant, call 800-511-2283.

Firsthand Foundation: Provides grants that cover treatment, equipment, vehicle modifications and displacement expenses for families of kids who have to travel during treatment.

Hannah's Helping Hands: Offers quality of life and summer camp grants for families that care for children and adults with special needs in Florida, Indiana, Rhode Island and New York.

The Lindsay Foundation: Provides assistance with purchasing rehabilitative equipment, seating systems, strollers, transport chairs, therapies and medical procedures for children under age 18.

The Prayer Child Foundation: Provides financial assistance to children eighteen years old and younger with physical and emotional challenges. Submit a request here.

Small Steps in Speech: Awards speech therapy grants to individuals up to age 22.

UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation: Offers grants for kids 16 years old or younger who are already covered by a commercial health plan and require medical services/items that go above and beyond the coverage offered.

Variety - The Children's Charity offers grants to pay for equipment, products and services for kids with special needs. Check with your local chapter.

GRANT PROGRAMS FOR KIDS WITH AUTISM

ACT Today! Has a grant program for assessments, treatments and life support for children with autism, plus an Act Today! SOS grant for immediate and imperative needs.

Autism Speaks Cares: Has an annual technology grant for kids with autism, plus an Autism Speaks Cares Grant for financial support for individuals with autism and their families during times of crisis or unplanned hardships (including natural disasters, death or critical illness in the immediate family, or loss of home or job).

DREAM FULFILLMENT PROGRAMS FOR KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

While amazing organizations like Make-A-Wish AmericaKids Wish Network and Children's Wish Foundation International exist to fulfill dreams of children with terminal and life-threatening illness, there are a couple of nonprofits that also grant wishes for children with chronic illness or with physical challenges:

Dream Factory

Sunshine Foundation

For an extensive list of sports, travel and leisure activities for people of all ages with disability, check out disability.gov

If any links no longer work, please email lovethatmax@gmail.com


51 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing these special needs resources. The plane trip rehearsals looks very useful.

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  2. These are great! You could add that Blendtec and Vitamix both give discounts on their fancy blenders for individuals with feeding tubes, to enable them to get real food nutrition instead of commercial formula. Also many zoos do DreamNight that is free admission and other things for people with special needs and a guest.

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  3. I'd just like to add a couple of things for Canadian readers:

    1) Easter Seals has an incontinence supplies grant program, where they provide money for buying diapers/pull-ups.

    2) The Registered Disability Savings Program, where you can sock away money for your child and the government will give you grants, up to $70,000 over a beneficiary's lifetime. For example, each year we contribute $1000 and the government contributes $2000. Yay Canada!

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    1. Great canada!
      Do you know if there is an incontinence supply grant in the United States?
      My son is 11 and it costs a lot.
      Also as for number 2 again, anyone in the United States that does someting similar or like.

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    2. Clancey, I don't know of anything like the Registered Disability Savings Program in the U.S. (it's pretty amazing and yes, yay Canada!) but the new 529 ABLE account enables you to sock away money for a child tax-free, here's a good article on it: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-new-savings-plan-for-the-disabled-1420939307

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    3. Check with your insurance. They may cover them with a prescription from your childs doctor. I know most state insurances do this.

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    4. Clancey, I have some catheter and related supplies I'd be willing to send you if that's what you're looking for. PM me on Facebook or email me at kathienatzke123 at gmail dot com.

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    5. Find an Easter seals program tey will help

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    6. I tried holly rod foundation and my son didn't get anything so autism speaks neither so I don't know why they still promoting those foundations who just take the donations and don't give anything back

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    7. Clancy, I have a big box of disposable bed pads, still sealed, that you're welcome to have. My child had surgery for kidney reflux disease and it was successful, so she doesn't need supplies. I also have washable bed pads unused, you're welcome to those as well. Email me at krncobb@yahoo.com.

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    8. Hi Ellen, could you also post the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation as well? They do grants for autism famies, for equipment, camp, iPad, etc. They helped my child tremendously! :)

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  4. Thanks so much for including Danielle's Foundation on your list! We are a small Foundation but we try so hard to help as many people as we can and we have a grant period each quarter. We are currently in our 2nd quarter and once you apply with us, you are ALWAYS eligible. Give us a call at 800-511-2283 and Thanks SO much Ellen Seidman ~ what you do means so much to so many and you do it so very well. God Bless ~ Jessica Martinez, Outreach Coordinator for Danielle's Foundation

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  5. Thanks for posting these Ellen! Another program that my parents use for me is Easter seals which also helps kids with special needs

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  6. Ellen, Could I possibly share this list on my own blog? I have a resource page I am working on building. I have also just applied for a grant from Athletes Helping Athletes to get my little girl a hand cycle. A few years ago we got a grant from The Sunshine Foundation and were able to take a fully funded, awesomely fun trip to Disney World. Let me know if I can share your idea too.
    Patty at Parenting Outside The Lines email: pateeg@aol.com

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  7. Great information! I have tried to find places to get some help. So this is awesome to have! It's not easy finding resources to help my son! Again, thanks for this!

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  8. The Starlight Foundation also grants wishes for chronically ill children.

    Etta

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  9. There needs to be something for families with Adult children that are disabled, make to much to qualify for government assistance yet need things they cannot afford, like a manual chair that the insurance company deems unnecessary because they have a powerchair. Help with going through the process of doing trips and what is needed to put that person in a seat and hold them If they have no trunk support. I could go on.

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    1. I agree, anonymous. Just because our children turn 21, or 18 or 16 doesn't mean life ends there. That they are cured. That the expenses stop. That one day over a certain year means everything is okay. Organizations don't seem to realize the exorbitant burden it is on the parents of those over age 21 who really need help, need a break, whose child is still their child, but just turned that unfortunate age when schools and groups seem to feel everything should be okay by then, and if it's not, tough luck. It's very kind of groups to help children. But wow, what an emotional, physical and financial drain it is to continue the care of an adult with major special needs. Plus it's not just autistic individuals who needs special considerations. Some of us have children with 'orphan diseases and syndromes' that no one has "labeled", but that doesn't mean there's less need.

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    2. This is so true. In fact the expenses have increased even with SSI. A movie can cost me over $50. with the ticket, a little popcorn and transportation, so we hardly go. Respite is unobtainable with a wheel chair bound young man. I have not had a vacation in over 20 years.

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    3. Movie theatres often give an "attendant" of a disabled person free admission. ASK! Also, if my disabled person needs to leave a movie before it is finished (even more than 1/2-way, I've learned that we can get a refund when we request it.

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    4. The Knorr family (Judy)July 31, 2016 at 8:53 PM

      This is my biggest frustration in the life of our mentally aged 6 year old but physically aged 28 year old with multiple disabilities. We're getting so discouraged because we were planning to move to Grants Pass in the Spring or Summer (of 2017) for family support to care for my own medical needs. I've always heard Oregon had great support for our "special families", but I'm not finding that for our aging generation of children. But it's probably the same sad story for every state, I'm guessing.
      Rarely is a child under the Autism umbrella become able to sever ties to the programs, supports and parental assistance at age 21 or 22! There is a huge need for supports, especially as all the children who have been born during this period in time where 1 in 7 children have Autism age into adulthood.
      Sorry to vent everyone! I'm actually known for my patience and sense of humor, believe it or not!

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  10. As a SKPA photographer,I really need to look into promoting Smiles for Katie Family Photos. It's an awesome program.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this list. I will look into a few of the programs for my daughter.

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing this info. I run a blog called mommiesquietplace it is of our personal journey with 22q and cebreal palsy.
    I am going to check out some of the sites you mentioned. I am also looking for resources for adults with 22q. but so far have yet to find other then repeated info.
    I have been working on my resource list for a while now.

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  13. Adult services are very much lacking, and when my adult was a child I didn't know about any of these other services, or perhaps they didn't exist back then. ??

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  14. My son has autism and ADHD. He's on the high end of the Autism Spectrum. Does he still qualify for these? I'm disabled myself and our income is very small. He has emotional issues. Thank you for your time.

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  15. Also check this amazing organization www.TheAryaFoundation.org, helping children with special needs to acquire necessary medical supplies and equipment including Ipad.

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  16. Hello, my daughter was born with Turners syndrome that know where on this site it names it. But would anyone know if she would qualify. She does have emotional problems, she sees a cardiologist and nephrologist she sees her endocrinologist the most. But she has been wanting to go to Disneyland or Disney world that I'm a working mother but only make ends meet. With that being said is there other foundations that would assist in this? Thank you

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    1. Try getting special help for her otherwise get her in a physical therapy program.

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  17. Free phones:
    http://freegovernmentcellphone.net/free-cell-phones-for-the-disabled

    http://www.sprint.com/landings/accessibility/

    http://www.californiaphones.org/

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  18. There are many free phone services for the disabled also. Both land lines and cell phones. Sometimes an actual phone, other times a discount, etc. A google search will give you the info.

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  19. I have three children with autistic syndromes, it makes me nervous all the times, this is very difficult to take care of a single child with special needs while we do three. I wish a day they take their own care. Thank you guys for the useful information.

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  20. I have a 3yr old son with stage 2 autism and I have been trying to get a ipad or tablet for him and I can't afford it on my own . I have tried many sites and they are closed can anyone help please

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    1. Brandiwillyard@hotmail.comApril 20, 2016 at 6:26 PM

      I just applied to act today. Ends 4/30 it's under sos project says their email info right there send them your info and done. I did it today. Goodluck to us both, also try your insurance they may need a script from doctor for ipad, and a letter of necessity. I'm trying to get a weighted blanket and a vest for my 2 yr old..gl!

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  21. I have a son whose autistic and he pnly eats chicken nuggets from mcdonalds and its taking all our funds to support his eating habit need help.

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    1. I know what it's like to have a child with autism who only eats one thing. There's a book called "Just Take a Bite" that I used along with the help of the school occupational therapist to try to expand my son's eating.

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    2. I have a 7.5 year old with Down Syndrome and he only eats Gerber stage 2 bananas and gerber yogurt blends. And only milk is the only thing he will drink.I have tried making my own bananas and the texture didn't suit him. :( I understand on the funds situation. After many specialists and testing on his swallowing and other things we can't find a reason that he cannot chew or accept any textures. It is extremely expensive! And he loves to eat. So as the years go on I wonder how I will be able to support his needs. He is very healthy and bigger than my other kids were at that age. But when you have a child with tactile issues it is hard for people to understand why you can't just make them eat other things. :( I feel your pain.

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    3. Kristy, I don't know if this would work but if your son only eats Gerber products try calling Gerber to let them know. Maybe they would be willing to send you larger quantities of those products at a discount.

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  22. Can someone point me in the right direction please? I am needing help with home stuff like for example a wheelchair ramp, a room to be built on for my son and all his medical equipment, a walk in shower instead of a tub, widening doorways and hallway, and possibly adding on a little more to my living room because of my sons medical chair and feeding equipment. Also, to modify my van for his wheelchair. I live in Indiana. I have tried talking with his insurance and they don't cover any of it. I have signed him up for the medicaid waiver program but it can take up to 4+years and the Aged and disabled program he doesn't qualify for because he isnt having to be seen by his doctor every week. I am stressed to my max and I've already suffered a mild heart attack and I'm not even 30 yet. Please help

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    1. Hi I know there is an organization that helps remodeled your house to accommodate people with disabilities. I will ask some Nurses that told me about it. You can email me at Diane.beyer@candiepienation.com

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    2. Try contacting your county developmental disabilities office. They may be able to expedite the process for you. Good luck!

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  23. That would be amazing ..... bath/shower where he could get in and out of without me...... Wow what a blessing

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  24. This article made me cry, because it's so true. To feel these feelings every day is torture. I constantly think about my son's future. The worst part about is that my son told me recently that he will never get married or get a driver's license(because he thinks he is retarded)and that makes him sad. This felt like a dagger in my heart. Some disabled children grow up to be happy and accept their limitations, but it kills me to think that this is not my son's case.....How does one cope with this?

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  25. I am a mother of 5 wonderful boys one whom has autism I am having trouble finding a intake facility that takes his traditional Medicaid to manage his meds. His behavior is very violent towards himself and others and things in his reach. He is 14 and we live in texas I have had issues because he can not sit through group therapy a lot of places will not take him. he is on the more severe side of the spectrum. Any help would be great my email is mommaof5boys@yahoo.com I am at a loss I have been looking for three months and not even the local mhmr can help me I am almost left with no option other than to flip out in a state office and see if I get results that way or go to jail. I don't qualify for any other state assistance other than Medicaid even though I only work part time and barely make it I have found some facility in Austin that will help but they charge 500 a day I don't even make that in a week ....

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  26. Hi my daughter Laila was born with Wolf Hirchhorn syndrome 4p deletion and 20p duplication,epelipsy,cleft palate,scoliosis and a developmental delay and unfortunately the list can go on. She is nonverbal and uses a wheelchair and walker.she's dependant on me for all her day to day needs.even tho she's considered "disabled" she is the cutest most loving 10yr old you could ever meet and she has showed me the true ofmeaning of unconditional love :) she loves the outdoors and parks and swings but we live in Arizona and she has seizures in the heat so I am on a mission to build her a sensory room in my house with indoor swing.My husband is our sole provider and unfortunalty we cannot fund this on our own so I'm looking for help dose anyone know a program or organization that's willing to help with something like this?

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    1. Hello I just found a swing (several swings) on Craigslist or offer up or ebay or used special needs equipment sites and had my husband find studs in the ceiling and made it very safe (or you could just hire a handy man for that part...just making sure it's very safe and secure is the key...find a spot in your house that will work ours is in a hallway opening. As far as the sensory room I just find things at garage sales and clean them very well or the same places that I found the swings...and made my own very inexpensively over time. I live in AZ. too!

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  27. Hi everyone. I have an autistic daughter. She is partially verbal. She is really wanting a cello. Does anyone know if there are any resources for something like this? I would love to get her one but renting one is over $50 a month and that doesn't include lessons or anything. We absolutely cannot afford that. We would also love to be able to have a membership to the local pool so she can learn to swim. She can't take lessons due to the fact that they would have to be one on one and that is completely out of our reach financially. I look forward to talking with you and thanks in advance for your help.

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  28. Ralphielle GreenJuly 24, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    I have watched family members, friends and parents at my school struggle for years to get proper help for their children. I think any and every resource shared is important and need more that are advertised on commercials, radios, in stores and across the board for parents who do not know how to research. I am trying to open a childcare center for children with special needs in Columbia SC because the need is so great. I watched children get put out of preschools and schools because staff did not want to deal with them or they were not trained-even with the free training people do not take it. So I want to help as many parents as possible learn, get support, take a break, and know their child is safe and learning. My problem has been funding. We have a few more steps but materials for inclusion materials and accommodations are expensive because we cannot apply for grants until we are open. Any advice would be helpful and I pray others do the same.

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  29. The Tiny Light Foundation....awesome family Porta it's for free and the families story is shared on their website check them out

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Thanks for sharing!



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