There are many opportunities out there to help you on your journey to make things easier and safer for your child as well as helping them to become more independent. However, most of these things cost money, and the more severe the needs, the more costs you will incur. We are fortunate that our schedules as teachers allow us to be home on the days Mary has off from school, but it wasn’t always that way. There were times where one, or both of us, were unable to work because of challenging behaviors or illness that could not be handled any other way.
It makes applying for grants critical. Grants can be an answer to your prayers. They may partially or fully fund all kinds of things. In our searching, we have found grants that cover everything from treatmentsand medical equipment for home or school use, adaptive equipment to aid in their independence, any safety remodels necessary for your house, or tracking devices if your child is an elopement risk. As you can imagine, these grants can save you a lot of money. Unfortunately, it also makes some of them highly competitive. There’s only so much funding. While ideally everyone who applies will receive what they are asking for, that is not always the case. Know before you apply what the ratio of applicants to funding is. Some are at 100%, some are close. Others have the ability to only pay out one or two at a time.
One thing you really don’t want to be denied for is not following the directions of the grant. Sometimes the application process can be tricky or unclear. Here are some things to look at during the application process:
- Read the description and be sure you are eligible to apply. Some grants have geographic restrictions, others have diagnosis eligibility issues, and others have age requirements. You don’t want to waste your time or that of the benefactors by applying for a grant where you don’t actually meet the qualifications. Make sure you fit the criteria or keep looking.
- Read the directions. Every grant process is different. Trust us on this one. Some require letters from professionals stating that the requested item is necessary, others require an evaluation done by a specific organization or on a specific form. Take your time and read it over and over until you understand it. If you can’t figure it out, see if the benefactors have informational meetings or can answer questions over the phone. Sometimes they have FAQ on their website. Take the help if you need it.
- Know how you will be receiving the grant. Some places will reimburse you for purchases already made, others will not. Some places pay the vendor directly while others will give you the money so that you can pay the vendor yourself. Some places donate the requested item directly to you. This kind of information is especially important if you have to lay out the money first and hope to be reimbursed later—make sure you know what going in.
- Turn your application in on time. Some will only accept applications at certain times of the year, others have a cut off where they limit the amount of people who can apply. Make sure you can have it done by then. Some of these take a lot of time, and it’ll be wasted if you can’t get it in by the deadline. Some places will allow you to send your application online or via fax, others are mail in only. That plays a factor in how long you have to get it completed, so be sure you take that into consideration.
Good luck and take your time. It will be worth it in the end when you are getting help for your child!