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.
- Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, BVR 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), serving individuals with special needs, 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.