On a tight budget? 6 ways to get an ipad for your child with special needs

iPad Handwriting apps

This post is part Seven of the Special Needs iPad & App Series.

Almost from the day the iPad was launched there was an immediate buzz about the special needs apps that were available in the iPad app store. Apple quickly realized that the iPad was perfectly suited to enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs and created a special education section of the app store. Websites and blogs sprung up dedicated to reviewing apps for Assistive CommunicationSocial Skills, Life Skills,Scheduling and more.

The need for the iPad is an obvious one for children with special needs. But what if you can’t afford one for your child, what do you do?

Can I Get an iPad through Medicare or Insurance?
For Years Medicare has been providing $7,000 Assistive and Augmentative Communication Devices for individuals with special needs, but don’t bother trying to get funding for a $500 iPad

Many prefer the slim and sleek iPad over the bulkier and very expensive assistive communication devices. People are starting to ask when will insurances and Medicare finally come around and provide funding.

You would think that it would be way more cost efficient to provide iPads than $7,000 devices right?

The common explanation is that there are fears of widespread abuse. A situation could occur where a person applies for funding for their child with special needs and ends up using the iPad for themselves. You would think that if a few smart people put their heads together you would be able to find a way to prevent this. You would think that at a time when the government is looking to slash costs this would be a great time to provide individuals with special needs $500 iPads instead of $7,000 devices: A savings of $6,500!

Maybe I am being naive and you may be laughing at me right now. But when you see a child who could never communicate take an iPad and show a family member that they would like a cup of water it would bring tears to your eyes.

In time I am sure Medicare and other insurance companies will start providing funds for iPads but time is not on the side of children with special needs. They need our help and they need it now.

Until Medicare and other Insurance companies come forward,  here are some ways you can work towards getting an iPad for your child:

Donate1. Fundraise
You have no problems asking friends and family to donate money for a great non-profit organization but you would never ask for yourself. Change that mindset in a hurry!  When it comes to your child’s needs you should not be ashamed or embarrassed. Think about the impact it will have on your child and how it will affect him or her in the future. You are not begging for money you are advocating for your child!

You can fundraise the old fashioned way by going to 20 Friends & Family members and asking them to give $25 each or you can set up an online Fundraising Campaign where you can send out emails and raise money online.  ChipIn.com or GiveForward.com are two such companies that support micro fundraising.

Change2. Keep The Change
Every time you make a cash purchase take the change you get back (up to $5) and put it away for an iPad. You won’t miss those nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar bills but it will add up very quickly. On average you could squirrel away $5-$8 a week which would get you an iPad in under a year.

Credit Card Points and Miles3. Points or Miles
If you have a credit card that gives you points or miles for every dollar spent save them up for an iPad. Most cards will let you redeem your points for  an iPad or for cash which you can then use to purchase an iPad. Hopefully you have a card that gives you double miles or points on gas or grocery purchases which will get you to your goal quicker.

iPad Present

4-6. Organizations Giving iPads to special needs families
While it’s not as easy as it sounds there are organizations out there giving away iPads to children with special needs.

Here is a list of some of them previously mentioned on Squidalicious.
If you have any to add please comment below!

  • iHelp for Special Needs is dedicated to help raise funds for children with special needs to receive iPads & Apps to assist with communication, life & Social skills.
  • The Conover Company is a maker of special needs apps for the iPhone and iPad. They also give out the Conover Mobile Technology Grant is to promote the use of mobile technology and their apps to improve an individuals freedom and independence.
  • Danny’s Wish is committed to providing life enhancing resources and experiences for children and families dealing with autism and autism spectrum disorders. Their goal for this campaign is to raise $50,000 to supply approximately 100 iPads to those children affected and in need the most.

The Rest of the Series:

  1. The Special Needs iPad & App Series: Welcome
  2. 7 Assistive communication (AAC) apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
  3. Scheduling and Behavioral Apps to help with transitions and more
  4. 11 Social Skills & Life Skills Apps in iPad App Store
  5. 10 Websites to Find Special Needs Apps for the iPad & iPhone
  6. 7 Special Needs Apps in the Google Android Market
  7. On a tight budget? 7 ways to get an ipad for your child with special needs
  8. 6 steps to get the iPad into your child’s special education classroom
  9. 4 Special Needs iPad/iPhone Apps for the Future

More Special Needs Apps

Looking for more special needs apps? Check out the Special Needs App Review!

With over a thousand apps now available to help individuals with special needs it has become increasingly difficult to find and choose the right special needs app. The Friendship Circle App Review gives you the ability to find the perfect special needs app for your child.

Special Needs App Review


Written on 2011/03/23 by:


Tzvi Schectman is the Family Coordinator for the Friendship Circle of Michigan and the Editor of the the Friendship Circle Blog. You can connect with Tzvi on LinkedIn and Google+