There is a reason why everyone's talking about iPads... they can be used as assistive devices for people with disabilities. From GPS apps that assist with Orientation & Mobility to high-tech communication programs that take the position of much more expensive equipment, the iPad is becoming the go-to device for kids with special needs.
Plus the iPad's entry features are remarkable! Yes, iPads are available to users who are deaf or visually impaired (Read this article for more information about iPad accessibility).
But if the iPad is much less expensive then some other traditional assistive devices, that does not mean they are necessarily affordable!
iPad for autistic child
1. TALK TO YOUR Insurance Provider
Start by calling your insurance carrier. Find out what you are permitted under Durable Medical Equipment and speak with a case manager about having an iPad covered through your DME (be sure to ask for a case manager to be assigned to you because they've more deciding power than customer support ).
If you're going the insurance route you are likely to want to have a very clear reason why you want the iPad. You can not simply say, "I hear they are great for special needs children!" Do your research and know that programs, in particular, you need to utilize and which needs they'll be addressing.
By way of instance, I think that it makes perfect sense to ask your insurance provider to cover an iPad if you're planning on using it as a communication device. You can assert that a program such as Proloquo2go would be beneficial for your child and would cost much less than stand-alone communication gear (such as a Dynavox). Make sure you request that your insurance also covers the communication app, however, because those can also cost hundreds of bucks.
On the flip side, if you just wish to play with the iPad and utilize it to help teach your child about cause-and-effect or how to take turns (which is largely the way we utilize our iPad using Ivan), I am sure the insurance company would direct you down. Your child's demand for your iPad ought to be very clear.
Observing the communication example, you would wish to have letters of medical necessity written by your child's speech therapist, pediatrician, neurologist, behaviorist, or any other applicable professional. Include your child's most up-to-date speech evaluation and maybe even videos of your child using an iPad in treatment. You might even send along any article you have discovered related to using an iPad as a communication device (the more academic the content the better it's going to be received).
If you are denied by insurance, then don't give up hope! First of all, you may always request reconsideration (we've had to reapply for coverage of an item before and had it approved on the next petition ). If all else fails with insurance, keep that denial letter and look at other places where you may find it helpful. Bear in mind that lots of charities or programs will want to see that you asked your insurance and have been turned down, so make sure you find that denial in writing and hold on to that letter!
2. ASK YOUR SCHOOL
Another place to go to for an iPad is your kid's school district. If you think your child will greatly benefit from the use of an iPad in school, then these are the people who should be financing the purchase. Of course, that the iPad would then be school property so you'll want to ensure that they will allow your child to use the iPad out of this classroom, but that can normally be organized (many schools send classroom laptops home with students and this could be a comparable arrangement).
To get a school to buy an iPad (particularly one that is intended for a single student's use and not the whole classroom), you'll have to follow the same actions that you use to acquire treatment or lodging written into your child's IEP.
Begin by requesting an evaluation by a professional familiar with your child's disability and working with an iPad. They may test your child's answer to some different assistive devices and then report back on which ones worked best.
Then call a meeting to amend your child's IEP and add in the demand for the iPad as well as training with the device and the specific programs your child will be using (all to be provided from the faculty ). This is also a fantastic time to discuss when/how your kid will use the iPad (can it come home during the summer and winter breaks, for instance ) and also have that written in the IEP as well. As I'm confident you know, if it is written down in the IEP it is much simpler to enforce!
3. APPLY FOR A GRANT
Many places focus on getting funds to kids who want them. Applying for an iPad through these organizations isn't a guarantee, but it is worth a shot!
- Small Bear Gives: Small Bear Gives sponsors grants to get iPads to children with CVI. You may register to their newsletter to find out if their next grant cycle will begin.
Different Needz Foundation: This company raises money during the year to finance its grant program. Their grants go to families with kids with specific needs. They do have fiscal guidelines. They concentrate on their efforts in Colorado, but will even work together in other states as well.
- Hanna's Helping Hands: This grant is directed at assisting low-income households with kids with specific needs. They concentrate on Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas City Metropolitan Area, Michigan, Rhode Island, and New York.
- Small actions in Speech: The assignment of Small actions in Terminology is to aid children with language or speech disorders to take the actions needed to become better communicators. They offer grants to purchase communication devices (like iPads).
- Special Children Treatment: Special Children Treatment's mission is to serve children with various developmental, physical and/or emotional difficulties and their own families, principally by raising cash for therapies and services not covered by private/public insurance.
- Zane's Foundation: This website provides grants to families with children with special needs in Northeast Ohio. The geographical location is limited, but the autism grants for iPad can be used for anything related to your child's requirements, such as an iPad.
The autism community was especially vocal about the benefits of this iPad and due to this, there are lots of autism grants for iPad aimed especially at getting iPads for kids with autism. If your child is diagnosed with autism, you may want to look into these autism grants for iPad:
- Autism Care & Treatment: ACT awards quarterly autism grants for iPad between $100 and $5,000 to families with children with autism.
- Friends of Jacob: This non-profit grants for kids with disabilities in Michigan and may cover anything from treatments to iPads.
- Let us Chat Autism: Let's Chat Autism sponsors an"iPad's for Autism" autism grants for iPad.
4. CONTACT LOCAL CHARITIES
Local charities are often very pleased to aid kids in their area. Contacting nearby charities might be difficult (first you have to figure out which associations are in your region and then figure out how to get them), however often they're more receptive than the big national organizations.
Most communities have a Lion's Club and since they concentrate on assisting individuals who are blind, they may be the perfect place to start. We have had wonderful success with all our Lion's Club. However, we've also discovered that when looking for assistance with big-ticket items, Lion's Club can help, but often can't cover the full price so we've needed to look elsewhere as well. Here is an inspirational story about a family in Pennsylvania who was able to get an iPad financed by their Lion's Club and another local charity working collectively. That is the means to do it!
5. TRY SOME FUNDRAISING
Another choice is to simply attempt to increase the money yourself. Frankly, an iPad is not that expensive, right? If you figure that you'll need at least $500 for your iPad and maybe another $250 for a protective cover and programs (depending on what you will use the iPad for), that is still well under $1000. How many contributions would you have to attain your goal?
You can start simply by asking family members to provide birthday and holiday presents in the form of iTunes and Apple gift cards (remember, the Apple card can buy the iPad and the iTunes card may buy programs, but they don't move --in other words, you can't purchase an iPad having an iTunes gift card).
You could also get a bit fancy and open up an account with an online fundraising site and ask family and friends to donate there. This is a fun way to raise money because everybody can see your target and how close you are to achieving it (which can encourage a few people to contribute just a bit more). A number of these sites integrate nicely with Facebook, Twitter, and popular blogging systems, which means that you may share your fundraiser simpler.