Skip to Content

FREE Stuff for Kids with Disabilities (and/or Kids with Special Needs)

FREE Stuff for Kids with Disabilities (and/or Kids with Special Needs)

Please Share

"Kids" with disabilities = 25 years and younger. If you are over 25, please click here to read my post on Free Stuff for Adults with Disabilities

Free Stuff for Kids with Disabilities

We all love free stuff, but sometimes when you are raising a kid with a disability or special need, you REALLY love free stuff – or more accurately, you really NEED the free stuff, because disability or special needs can be expensive. Here’s a short list of some great free stuff for kids with disabilities or special needs*, focusing on products, services and money.

Scholarships

Ruby’s Rainbow: Scholarships for people with Intellectual Disabilities to attend higher education.

JLV Counseling’s Clearinghouse of Scholarships for People with Disabilities: Comprehensive list of scholarships available to people with disabilities, categorized by disability.

Fun Stuff

Challenge Air: A child with a disability can learn to fly a plane!

Dream Factory: dream wishes fulfilled for kids of all different disabilities.

Make-A-Wish: Kids have to have a ‘life-threatening condition’ and be between the ages of 2.5 and 18 to get their wish of a lifetime.

Sunshine Foundation: dream wishes fulfilled for kids of all different disabilities.

Children’s Wish Foundation International: more dream wishes fulfilled.

Financial Planning

Financial planning is incredibly important for families in which disability is present. Neglecting this might mean that your child will be left destitute or institutionalized upon your passing. Here are some free resources to help you plan:

ABLE Account: understand the ABLE accounts.

The Red Book: on the heels of understanding ABLE accounts is “The Red Book” – Social Security’s annual book on benefits. The link provided is to a pdf of the book.

Disability Benefits 101: tools and information on employment, health coverage, and benefits. Not all states are set up with the calculator, but World Institute on Disability has a lot of other information on financial planning and benefits – check out their books and resources here.

Free Passes

National Park Service: free lifetime pass to US national parks and more. There are some requirements and stipulations, so read through the application – which is linked here.

State Park Service: state parks have a disability discount – look up your state for more information and for the application. California’s is linked here.

Disney Disability Pass: this is changing as a result of the abuse, but it still helps families with a child with a disability or adults with disabilities. Check it out.

Bikes & iPads (and more)

Bikes: here’s a comprehensive list from the Friendship Circle’s blog of places to turn to for an adaptive bike. (note: scroll down – the formatting of their post is a little different and it kind of threw me off for a minute).

Bikes, Wheelchairs, Adaptive Equipment and more: Variety’s “Freedom Program” funds a lot. Check out the program here. Apply for help here.

Bikes, iPads & More: Gifts from the Heart for Down’s funds pretty much anything for kids with Down syndrome. Their application list is full as of 12/16; bookmark it if it’s relevant to you, and check back later.

iPads: Danny’s Wish awards iPads to kids with Autism. Applications are open from Sept-December 31st every year; iPads given out in April.

iPad Loans: Center for Accessible Technology has an iPad loan program, whereby you can try out an iPad and apps to see if it’s a fit. They will also work with you to see what will be helpful for your child.

Foundations & Grants

Foundations and Grants are a fabulous way to go. Finding the right fit can take a little research, but it’s well worth it. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Check in with the local disability-specific organization that your child matches (- for us it was the Down syndrome Connection of the Bay Area). Ask for information they might have about grants, foundations, etc that will help cover costs of bikes, iPads, etc. Apply that way.
  2. Google locally, “location-name + disability + grants foundations” – keep playing with the key words.
  3. Look into the Foundation Center: they have information on foundations all across the world (not just the United States).

Some Foundations to Put on Your Radar:

Danielle’s Foundation: helping kids with Cerebral Palsy and brain injury gain access to therapies, equipment and other benefits.

Lindsay Foundation: comprehensive help for kids across the disability spectrum (from therapy to equipment and much, much more)

First Hand Foundation: worldwide. Help in all areas of the disability spectrum, providing assistance to getting a hearing aid or wheelchair to transport to and from therapy.

ACT Today! : Helping families who have a child on the Autism Spectrum with care and treatment.

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism: “helping families live life to the fullest”

Transport

Angel Flight: free air transportation for any legitimate, charitable, medically related need.

First Hand Foundation: providing gas money, parking and transportation related to a child’s care, vehicle medications, equipment and more.

Books

National Library Service (for the Blind & Physically Handicapped): free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail.

Bookshare: An accessible online library for people with print disabilities.

Learning Ally: Audio books and learning tools.

 

*Note

“Special Needs” do not equal disability. These words should not be used interchangeably. Some people may have a disability but no special needs; others may have special needs but no disability. “Special Needs” is an education term; “disability” is a physical/cultural term.

PS

Thanks to everyone on Facebook who helped me out with this list – especially the incomparable Amy Allison!

Please add links to places that you’ve found to be helpful or know about in the comments so that everyone can benefit. Thanks!

Support My Work!

Please Share

Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a cat-loving Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
Meriah on EmailMeriah on FacebookMeriah on GoogleMeriah on InstagramMeriah on LinkedinMeriah on PinterestMeriah on TwitterMeriah on Youtube
← Previous
Ruby's Rainbow: 3 for 3/31
Next →
The One Page Profile

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mike Lambert

Friday 3rd of July 2020

We have a 10 year old with Spastic/Quad CP. He is very high tone and experiences extreme muscle stiffness etc as he continues to grow. We have just begun looking into botox and balcufen pump as remedies, but we would really prefer not to go that route. While visiting my dad recently who had just purchased a hot tub we discovered that our little guy really loved it and it relaxed his muscles and overall demeanor significantly. We have not been able to get his muscles that relaxed in months. Are there any programs that might assist with a purchase like this for our son?

Angena

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

I have a daughter who was born with PDA, that was soon closed. She then had to have a tracheostomy, as well as a gastrostomy (g-tube). She was hospitalized for 5 months, and now that she is home I am not able to work due to round the clock close care, and we are stumped for money, or help with money with back and forth transportation, and recently losing one car, it is tough. Money is extremely tight. Is there any help for my family?

Sharon

Sunday 18th of August 2019

Hi Meriah, Any info about how I might get sponsor for musical training for a seven year old boy who is talented and highly interested in percussions and the piano? Everyone at my local church and at his elementary school keeps telling me I have to get him in training soon because they are just amazed at his skills. I was always aware of his giant sized love for the instruments but don't know where to turn for help. Also I hadn't worked since he was born due to his many health issues that kept me busy with multiple doctors visits per week and the rest is a long story I can always share later. Please your wonderful help or advice would be appreciated.

Meriah

Tuesday 20th of August 2019

I would approach the local Rotary Club and ask for help first. They often sponsor gifted scholars. I'd turn to the other business clubs to ask if Rotary said no (but I can't imagine they would; this seems like a real fit with Rotary). Good luck and all the best!

Dawn Hoffman

Saturday 13th of July 2019

Hello, My son has had 4 surgeries for a cyst on his spinal cord C3-C4. Because of this. he has weakness in his extremities.. He wears braces on his legs for support. both during the day and at night. He has scoliosis because his right side has always been weaker, so now he walks with a severe limp. He can only walk short distances. He uses a wheelchair. It is EXTREMELY difficult to get any kind of help from anyone because what he has does not have a "name". Make a Wish said it wasn't life threatening. even though he almost died before his first surgery. (He was paralyzed from the neck down and almost lost control of his respiratory and cardio organs) We had to buy his walker ourselves. we had to pay for his crutches. many of these medical supply companies have equipment for small children and then small adults. Nothing for adolescents.. We can't find Pull-ups anywhere. They want to give us adult small. he is skinny. Just growing out of the L-XL overnights. Nobody gives a damn. It drives me nuts. I have no idea what to do. I spent most of my adult life in the Army so I didn't have to deal with insurance. Now it is a little confusing and frustrating. They also don't understand because his disability doesn't have a name. Do you have any advice? or any websites I can go to? I would appreciate it. Thank you, Dawn Hoffman

Terri

Tuesday 9th of July 2019

Hi my daughter is 18 now and she was born with Down syndrome. Every since she knew about queen Elsa she has been crazy over her. Just recently an opportunity to go to Florida and stay in a resort for a week has kinda cane about. But the thing is we need to get a rent a car by Friday July the 12 2019. I know that it’s a long shot. But I was praying that there is a way to maybe get help on getting the rent a car . I know that it’s probably to late . But it never hurt to ask if ANYONE could possibly give me advice on how or if there is such help. I know that this would make her dreams come true. She really deserves it. Please please help

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.