Where to Get a Free iPad for Your Special Needs Child
By @meriahnichols on March 27, 2013
We all know apps can be great with kids – but what if your budget doesn't allow for the purchase of an iPad itself? Here are some no-cost options for getting your child (especially your child with a disability) an iPad.
Kobe Drawing by Marcus Kwan via Flickr
Never underestimate the power of local. We ourselves received Moxie's iPad from a local organization that my friend Mari told us about, the The Shelby Clark Memorial Fund. They were absolutely wonderful. I contacted them off of their website, applied for a grant in honor of Shelby Clark, a beautiful little girl that passed away too soon. We are deeply grateful to the Clarks for giving Moxie her iPad and try to honor the memory of their child.
Other Local Resources
Rotary/Kiwani/Lions Club: your local business club is likely to have an outstanding commitment to championing education - it might be a simple matter of asking if that commitment also covers iPads, which are used to help develop communication and cognition. If they don't, encourage them to start one - with your child being the first recipient!
Cross Disability Organizations: United Cerebral Palsy, Easter Seals, etc. They might have a fund to tap into, or they might know of one.
Lending Libraries: Here in the Bay Area, the Center for Accessible Technology's iPad project for people with speech disabilities, lends out iPads for specified periods of time. Check out your local libraries/non profits to see if similar projects are happening that you can tap into.
Non Profits: Speaking of non profits, check in with your local Center for Independent Living about options. I know the CIL in Berkeley has a lot of resources and knowledge - make sure to talk to the person who works more with funding/grants/technology.
Word Out: Family and friends are traditionally the source for most of our information and contacts. Spread the word that you are looking and that your child would really benefit from an iPad. Ask your people to keep their eyes peeled and ears open.
I was going to do a write up on A4CWSN -Apps for Children With Special Needs - include information on their apps, an interview with Gary James, the founder, and of course, information on how to enter to win a free iPad.
It seems, however, that there is a situation with A4CWSN . They are being investigated by the Attorney General of the state of Connecticut for fundraising fraud. That sucks in and of itself, but the part that really stinks is the founder deletes questions on his facebook page and attacks people that question him or what is going on.
So saying this, there are still people that have received iPads from the organization. I guess this is one of those potential sinkholes that you can navigate at your own risk. All links and information follow - you make your own call.
General website: Apps for Children with Special Needs
About the investigation: Contact information for the man in charge of the AG investigation. Terence Zehnder, Special Investigator, Trade Practices Division, Department of Consumer Protection:firstname.lastname@example.org ph.(860) 713-6130 fax (860) 706-1315
Moving on, I just want to encourage other folks out there that might really want to get an iPad for their child (with or without a disability). Even if you have a low income, it shouldn't stop you. Spend time googling local resources, organizations – even unexpected ones, like those mentioned above.
Tell people you are looking, keep all doors open. It's definitely possible.
There are also a million and two fundraising ideas floating around Pinterest - you can even have bake sales to raise the money, a tip jar at work and so forth. It all counts and it all adds up.
If you know of other resources, please leave them in the comments here so that everyone can read and learn.
Most of all, I think it's important to keep a very positive outlook: BELIEVE it can happen, really believe that your child will receive what s/he needs to learn and that it's simply a matter of finding the organization that is the best fit for your child, knock on doors and let them open.
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