Special Needs Resource Directory

  • Assistive Technology, Adapted Products & Apps

    Children and young adults with special healthcare needs often require various forms of assistive technology and/or durable medical equipment (DME). This includes items or services that help those with disabilities improve or keep their ability to function in everyday life. Also check on our child alarm and locator devices to help keep your children safe.

    From wheelchairs to communication aids, the Complex Care Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center provides patients and families with information that can assist with a broad range of limitations.
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    Assistive Technology Equipment

    • Assistive Technology of Ohio helps Ohioans with disabilities acquire assistive technology. Refurbished computers are available as well as a lending library to try out any device or software program that they have available.
    • Bioworks has multiple locations around Cincinnati and provides braces and foot orthotics.
    • Challenged Athletes Foundation provides grants for adaptive sports equipment for children and adults with physical disabilities, including amputations.
    • Cincinnati Bell Customer Support services has equipment and assistance for individuals with speech / hearing impairments, physical impairments and other special needs. You can contact their Special Needs Department at 513-565-4424 (voice only), 513-241-2899 (TDD/TTY) or 513-241-2942 (Fax). 
    • disABILITY Information and Resources provides links to manufacturers in the areas of assistive devices, transfer lifts, adaptive clothing, exercise devices, medical equipment, reading aides and toys.
    • EnableMart offers a wide range of products for children with special needs, including hearing, mobility and communication devices.
    • Enabling Devices develops learning and assistive devices to help people of all ages with disabling conditions.
    • Eyegaze Communication System enables individuals with complex physical disabilities control a computer through the use of the eyes.
    • Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley Assistive Technology Services provides assistive technology for people of all ages with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, visual impairments and hearing loss through their product lending library. Other programs include DD services, waiver services, and refurbished computers for special needs classrooms and individuals with disabilities. 
    • Got-Autism has a wide selection of therapeutic, educational, and practical life products for children on the autism spectrum including ABA tools, PECS, social skills, occupational and speech therapy aids, games, toys, personal care, books and DVDs.
    • Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, evaluates and provides a variety of prostheses, braces and supports. They have multiple locations in the tri-state area.
    • Independent LivingTechnologies has a variety of assistive technology items including furniture, household, mobility, computer devices, learning and communication equipment.
    • Lifeline provides a medical alert emergency response system.
    • Pocket Full of Therapy provides an online catalog of products to help parents, educators, occupational therapists and other health care providers who support children with special needs. They also have newsletters and an idea exchange.
    • Snug Seat provides a variety of seating systems, wheelchairs, standing supports, transportation aids and toilet and bath accessories. Their Stingray wheelchair is a well designed option. An online catalog is available on their website.
    • TalkTools has an online catalog of products that address feeding, oral motor and speech challenges. They also have products that are geared for use with children who have apraxia, autism and other developmental disabilities, including games, toys, books and DVDs.

    Services

    • The Aaron W. Perlman Center for Children at Cincinnati Children's provides assessments, consultation, advocacy and support to children and adults on a wide array of assistive technology.
    • The Home Care Services Division at Cincinnati Children's provides rehabilitative services and assistance with home medical equipment, including adaptive wheelchairs for children and standers.
    • Abilities First Foundation provides assessments, consultations and training regarding mobility aides and augmentative / alternative communication devices for individuals with physical disabilities in Southwestern Ohio.  
    • Communication Aid Manufacturers Association provides a way to order free product catalogs from participating manufactures and conducts nationwide workshops about use of available products.
    • Hamilton County Educational Service Center consults with Hamilton County Ohio school districts (with the exception of Cincinnati Public Schools) to provide planning for students with assistive devices.  
    • Redwood, located in Northern Kentucky, provides evaluations for computer access, augmentative communication and environmental access. Assistive technology is available for demonstration or rental for trial use. 
    • Youreable.com offers information, products and services for disabled people in a community-based web site.

    Hearing Impairment

    • The Division of Audiology at Cincinnati Children's offer a wide range of routine and specialized testing for children of all ages and developmental levels.
    • Hearing Speech and Deaf Center of Greater Cincinnati provides a variety of assistive listening devices for people who are deaf / hard of hearing. The agency defines deaf based on functional ability, use of sign language and affiliation with the Deaf Community. Devices include hearing aides, FM receivers, adapted alarm clocks and other appliances, and TTYs for telephone use. Assessments, training and technical support are provided on equipment.
    • Medicaid will pay for some augmentative communication devices that are necessary for basic communication. To be eligible for an augmentative communication device through Medicaid, a person must be unable to express basic needs and wants, transfer information, achieve social closeness or demonstrate social etiquette. Devices must be prescribed by a licensed speech / language pathologist. See Financial Assistance for more information about eligibility for Medicaid services.
    • American Sign Language application for the iPhone and iPod Touch enables user to convert words to sign language vocabulary.
    • Relay Ohio is a free service that provides full telephone accessibility to people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, and speech-disabled. This service allows hearing callers to communicate with text-telephone (TTY) users and vice versa through specially trained Communication Assistants. Users dial 711 to connect with an assistant who will dial the requested number and relay the conversation between the two callers.

    Visual Impairment

    • The Cincinnati Association for the Blind provides information, evaluation, training and consultation regarding computer access technology for people who are blind or visually impaired. Computer access technology includes devices that convert print or graphics into Braille, large print or synthetic speech.
    • Clovernook Center for the Blind provides assessment, consultation, training and follow-up support for a wide variety of adaptive products for persons with visual impairment. These include low vision aides, speech synthesizers and screen reader programs, and Braille displays.

    Adapted Clothing

    • Adaptations by Adrian provides a wide variety of adaptive clothing and accessories.
    • Clubfoot Shoe Exchange connects U.S. parents of children with clubfeet in order to exchange free, used shoes for the Ponseti method of treatment.
    • disABILITY Information and Resources provides links to manufacturers of adaptive clothing.
    • Foot Solutions, in the Greater Cincinnati area, assists families in finding appropriate shoes for individuals with disabilities. They have other locations that you can search for by zip code.
    • Independent You, located in Cincinnati, offers adaptive clothing, accessories and unique gifts. They also have an online catalog.
    • Mini-Miracles Children's Clothing has a variety of adaptive clothing options in all sizes, from newborn to adult. They are located in Canada but will ship to the U.S.
    • My Pool Pal offers a variety of aquatic products, including flotation swimsuits and devices, special needs swim diapers, and sun suits and hats.
    • Professional Fit Clothing offers custom alterations and adaptive clothing including clothing protectors, elastic waist pants, incontinence products and wheelchair accessories.

    Adapted Toys

    • The Rubinstein Library at Cincinnati Children's, lends toys and educational software to parents and teachers at no cost.
    • AblePlay provides a toy rating system with comprehensive information on toys for children with special needs.
    • Assessment Tool Shop offers a variety of toys and technology devices for children of all ages and developmental levels.
    • Assistive Technology of Ohio helps Ohioans with disabilities acquire assistive technology. They also keep up with current legislative activity that affects persons with disabilities. You can also find adaptive toy libraries in Ohio.
    • Beyond Play specializes in early intervention products for children birth to age 5 with special needs. They offer a great selection of toys that are all appropriate for Early Intervention, including occupational, physical, speech and developmental therapies.
    • Dragonfly Toys offers toy and assistive technology products for children with special needs. Parents can sign up and customize the use of this web site to their child's particular diagnosis and / or developmental level. You'll also find articles and play tips.
    • Enabling Devices, a division of Toys for Special Children, Inc., is a company dedicated to developing affordable learning and assistive devices to help people with disabling conditions. They design electro-mechanical assistive and adaptive devices for people of all ages.
    • Got-Autism has a wide selection of therapeutic, educational, and practical life products for children on the autism spectrum including ABA tools, PECS, social skills, occupational and speech therapy aids, games, toys, personal care, books and DVDs.
    • John R. Green, located in Covington, Kentucky, has toys and educational products to help children with special needs.
    • Pocket Full of Therapy provides an online catalog of products to help parents, educators, occupational therapists and other health care providers who support children with special needs. They also have newsletters and an idea exchange.
    • Special Needs Toys has a variety of toys and devices to support play, daily living, communication and sensory integration.
    • Toys R Us provides an online Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids. The guide can be searched by categories, including auditory, creativity, fine motor, gross motor, language, self-esteem, social skills, tactile, thinking and visual.
    • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps current information on unsafe toys that have been recalled.
    • U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) provides information on toy safety and recalls.

    Apps for Special Education

    Apps for Specific Health Conditions

    There are more than 28,000 medical apps. Of these, only a small percentage are FDA-regulated apps designed for use by medical professionals. The number of such professional apps, however, is steadily growing. Check out medical apps you are considering using with your healthcare professional.

    iPads and Funding Sources

    Several organizations offer grants and other assistance for individuals who would like to purchase an iPad: 

    • Autism Speaks has an iPad 2 Technology Grant. They also maintain a list of apps.
    • Building Blocks for Kids, located in Cincinnati, assists families by finding alternative resources for them and/or by providing financial assistance for the need.
    • First Hand Foundation provides grants for eligible children whose clinical, health care needs are not adequately covered by insurance and state aid. They can assist with expenses associated with assistive technology equipment, care devices and hearing aids. The child must be 18 years of age or younger (a child 18 – 21 can be considered if under the care of a pediatrician and in a child-like state) and the family must meet financial guidelines.
    • Special Needs Apps for Kids provides information about apps as well as information about funding sources. You can find information in their funding directory.
    • Special Kids Therapy assists families with the purchase of special medical equipment including electrical wheelchairs and other mobility aides, communication devices and auditory equipment that is needed for inclusion in daily living but not covered by insurance.

    Funding

    Funding for assistive technology for children can come from your school, Medicaid and private insurance companies or local disability-related organizations and agencies. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires public schools to provide a free and appropriate education and related services, including assistive technology, to meet the unique educational needs of children with disabilities. Medicaid and private insurance companies are increasingly recognizing augmentative / alternative communication devices as medically necessary forms of durable medical equipment. Unfortunately, there is often not a clear answer on who should pay, and obtaining funding usually requires patience and creativity.  

    • The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) offer AAPD members a wide range of easily accessible financial loans for products that assist people with disabilities.
    • Assistive Technology of Ohio helps Ohioans with disabilities acquire assistive technology. They also keep up with current legislative activity that affects persons with disabilities. You can also find adaptive toy libraries in Ohio.
    • Assistive Technology Law Center provides information about resources that provide funding assistive technology devices. 
    • Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH) may provide funding for certain types of assistive technology deemed medically necessary, including braces, hearing aides and medical supplies. For children ages 0-3 years, BCMH may fund augmentative communication devices. Funding is only provided after the other funding sources such as private insurance, Medicaid or special education services have been denied.
    • First Hand Foundation provides grants for eligible children whose clinical, health care needs are not adequately covered by insurance and state aid. They can assist with expenses associated with assistive technology equipment, care devices and hearing aids. The child must be 18 years of age or younger (a child 18 – 21 can be considered if under the care of a pediatrician and in a child-like state) and the family must meet financial guidelines. 
    • Medicaid will pay for some assistive technology / durable medical equipment devices that are necessary for daily function.
    • Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities County Boards may fund assistive devices. Referrals must be made through your service coordinator.
    • Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC) provides funding for assistive technology if it is necessary to achieve a vocational goal. The commission provides vocational, rehabilitation and counseling for individuals with disabilities through two programs: the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR) that serves all special-needs individuals, and the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI).
    • Social Security (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may help purchase assistive technology through work incentive programs. Work incentive plans set aside income earned at a job toward cost of a device without affecting monthly benefits.

    Additional Resources


 
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