Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mesa Angels Foundation Provides Financial Assistance

Mesa Angels Foundation provides grants and loans to people facing a critical financial need due to extraordinary circumstances, such as medical emergencies, natural disasters and other life-changing events. Information on how to apply for assistance is available here.

Please contact Mesa Angels Foundation if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Hand Foundation Helps Families Pay Their Children's Healthcare Expenses

The First Hand Foundation provides funding to pay for healthcare expenses of children when insurance and other resources have been exhausted. First Hand Foundation will help pay the costs of clinical procedures, medicine, therapy, assistive technology, care devices and vehicle modifications. The foundation will also help families who must travel for their child to receive treatment with the costs of lodging, food, gas, parking and transportation.

First Hand Foundation reviews requests for assistance monthly. The foundation has spent over $7 million to assist 48,226 children from 57 countries to date. Click on the link to support the mission of the First Hand Foundation. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Grants Provide Assistance with Treatment Costs

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) grants help pay for health-related services that have the potential to improve a child’s clinical condition or enhance the quality of their life that are not fully covered by a commercial health benefit plan. UHCCF’s assistance enables children to receive medically necessary services without their families assuming large amounts of debt.

UHCCF grants pay for a variety of medical services, therapies, assistive technology devices and adaptive products. You may apply for a grant or make a contribution to UHCCF online. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tips for Applying for SSI to Fund Autism Treatment

Here are some tips for applying for SSI to fund autism treatment:

1. Document how your child’s disability affects his or her ability to participate in the activities of daily life.
2. Have copies of your child’s medical records, evaluations, treatment plans, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individualized Education Program (IEP) and therapy reports readily available.
3. Compile the names and contact information for your child’s pediatrician, neurologist, therapists, teachers, social workers and case managers.
4. Obtain letters from medical professionals, therapists and service providers who are familiar with your child.
5. Keep copies of paycheck stubs, W-2s, income tax returns, utility bills, medical bills, therapy bills, insurance statements, rental contracts, mortgage statements, bank statements and other financial records.
6. When you visit a Social Security Administration office, arrive early and prepare for a wait.
7. Make sure you take copies of all necessary documents with you.
8. Take something to read, a crossword puzzle, a small craft project or some paperwork you need to complete with you to help you pass the time.
9. If you take your child with you, bring along a few favorite toys and/or books.Bring snacks for your child. Be prepared to step outside the office when your child wants to eat a snack because many Social Security Administration offices do not allow eating or drinking.
10. Keep a log that contains the name, contact information, date of contact and a summary of your conversations with Social Security Administration personnel. Sphere: Related Content

Aubrey Rose Foundation Helps with Medical Bills for Sick Kids

The Aubrey Rose Hollenkamp Foundation helps pay the outstanding medical bills that insurance won’t cover for seriously ill children. Mail completed grant applications to:

Aubrey Rose Foundation
Grant Request
4480 Oakville Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45211

Click on the link to donate. Sphere: Related Content

Building Blocks for Kids Foundation Offers Grants to Children with Cincinnati Ties

Building Blocks for Kids Foundation provides assistance with the costs of treatment, communication devices or other adaptive equipment, and expenses associated with temporarily relocating to receive treatment. Children under 18 who are from the greater Cincinnati area, who have a close relative who lives in the area or who have a relationship with a local organization are eligible for assistance.

Download an application packet and mail the completed documents to:

Building Blocks for Kids
7577 Central Parke Blvd.
Suite 131
Mason, OH 45040

Click here to make a donation or to volunteer. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Family Stipends for Chicago Parents of Young Children with Special Needs

Chicago residents who are parents of children under age 6 who have autism or other special needs can apply for a stipend up of to $200 from STARNET Region V. The stipend, which is awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis, reimburses parents for the costs of attending disability-related workshops or conferences within Illinois. The stipends can be used to pay for conference registration fees, lodging and/or travel.

For more information, click here or call (773) 553-5593. Sphere: Related Content

Disabled Children’s Relief Fund

The Disabled Children’s Relief Fund (DCRF) provides grants to help pay for therapy, assistive devices and adaptive equipment for children with disabilities. In the past, grants have been used to pay for auditory integration therapy, occupational therapy and assistive technology for children who have autism. Applications for this year’s grants are due by September 30, 2008.

Donations by check can be sent to:

Disabled Children’s Relief Fund
P.O. Box 89
Freeport, NY 11520

Federal employees may contribute to DCRF through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) by selecting #0862. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, July 21, 2008

National Autism Association Offers a Helping Hand

The National Autism Association Helping Hand Program provides grants of up to $1,500 to families of children who have autism that are in need of financial help. The grants can be used to pay for biomedical treatments, supplements and therapeutic services.

Click here to make a donation to the National Autism Association. Sphere: Related Content

REACT Foundation Family Scholarships

The REACT (the acronym stands for Resources for Autistic Children’s Therapy) Foundation provides scholarships to help parents whose children have autism pay for ABA, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Residents of Orange County, California are eligible to apply for the grant program. Click here for more information about REACT Foundation Family Scholarships. Applications for the autism family scholarship grant are available by clicking here.

You can make a donation to REACT Foundation by clicking on the link on its Web site. Sphere: Related Content

National Autism Association of Pennsylvania Helping Hand Mini-Grant

The National Autism Association of Pennsylvania (NAA-PA) is accepting applications for its 2008 Helping Hand Program. Grants of up to $300 will be awarded to Central Pennsylvania families to pay for autism interventions not covered by insurance or medical assistance. Click here for a grant application. Completed applications must be postmarked by September 30, 2008.

Click here to make a donation to NAA-PA. Sphere: Related Content

ASCONN Mini-Grants

The Autism Society of Connecticut (ASCONN) offers mini-grants of up to $1,000 for people who have autism, parents and other family members of people who have autism parents and individuals who work with people who have autism. The mini-grants can be used for purchasing safety and security equipment, training personnel in proper physical management techniques and educating community responders about autism.

Click here for information about donating to the Autism Society of Connecticut. Sphere: Related Content

Pennsylvania Autism Mini -Grant Program

The Bureau of Autism Services of the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare offers mini-grants of $500. The grants can be used to pay for a variety of services and supports for Pennsylvania families affected by autism. Click here for more information about the min-grants. Sphere: Related Content

Autism Can End Grant Fund

The Autism Can End Grant Fund is a project of Everyday Miracles, a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen, financially assist and inform families and communities about children with autism. Grants are available to Michigan families who have a child with autism. Grant applications are accepted twice per year: in January and September. Grant awards are made in April and November.

Click here to learn about fundraising events for Everyday Miracles. Sphere: Related Content

Autism Family Resources Grants

Autism Family Resources was founded by the parents of a young man who has autism to help other parents pay for items not covered by insurance that enhance their quality of life. Autism Family Resources awards a maximum of $500 to families on a one-time basis. The funds can be used to pay for therapy equipment, safety equipment or respite services. Information about the Autism Family Resources Grant Program can be found here.

Click here to learn how you can make a donation to Autism Family Resources. Sphere: Related Content

ACT Today! Grant Program

ACT Today! (short for Autism Care and Treatment Today!) awards grants ranging from $100 to $5,000 to help families pay for the cost of effective autism treatments and assessments. You can learn more about the ACT Today! Grant Program on the organization’s Web site.

Donations may be made to ACT Today! through its Web site. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, July 20, 2008

AutismCares Family Support Awards

AutismCares is a consortium of leading autism organizations who have united to support individuals with autism and their families during natural disasters and other crises. The consortium is comprised of Autism Speaks, the Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation, The Help Group, TACA, Talk Autism, Unlocking Autism, Safe Minds and SARRC.

AutismCares provides Family Support Awards of up to $1,500 to help families coping with autism who have experienced a natural disaster; a death, critical illness or injury of an immediate family member; a loss of home; or a loss of job. The funds may be used to pay for housing, utilities, insurance premiums, prescriptions, daycare, automobile repairs, funeral expenses or other approved items. Eligible families may apply for an AutismCares Family Support Award online.

Donations may be made to AutismCares via the organization’s Web site. Sphere: Related Content

A.N.G.E.L. Inc. Autism Grants

A.N.G.E.L. Inc. (the acronym stands for Autism Network, Guidance Education and Life) offers grants to pay for services on behalf of children with autism spectrum disorders who are Wisconsin residents. The maximum grant amount awarded to a recipient is $500.

Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis. The deadline for third quarter 2008 grants is August 1, 2008. Grant applications are available on the organization’s Web site. Click here to make a donation to help A.N.G.E.L. Inc. continue to support our community.

Thanks to Marcia Biordi Brown for submitting this resource! Sphere: Related Content

Bridges for Autism Foundation Grants

Bridges for Autism Foundation, founded by Marcia and David Brown, awards grants to Illinois families with children on the autism spectrum. Grants from the foundation may be used to pay for therapeutic services and assistive technology. Grant amounts vary.

Bridges for Autism Foundation makes grant awards semiannually. During its last grant cycle, Bridges for Autism Foundation awarded $12,000 in grants to 10 families. The next round of grants will be awarded by September 30, 2008. The application deadline is August 15, 2008, so mark your calendars and be sure to get your grant applications in on time. Previous grant recipients are welcome to reapply. Grant applications are available on the foundation’s Web site.

In addition to awarding grants to families affected by autism, Bridges for Autism Foundation has designed a provider network which is the first of its kind in Illinois and perhaps in the U.S. The foundation invites therapy providers to join the network and posts their information on its Web site. Families can then search the Bridges for Autism Foundation Web site for available providers. Each provider in the network discounts its rates to Bridges for Autism Foundation grant recipients so their grant dollars can stretch farther.

Bridges for Autism Foundation has a goal of creating a resource center where parents can obtain therapy and participate in support groups, and both parents and professionals can participate in trainings and educational programs.

Bridges for Autism Foundation is growing rapidly and is currently seeking to hire a grant writer and a professional to solicit corporate sponsorships. The foundation is also in need of additional volunteers.

Bridges for Autism Foundation is a wonderful resource for Illinois families that are affected by autism. Click here to make a donation to help Bridges for Autism Foundation continue to support our community. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

FoggyRock is the Autism Community’s Answer to MySpace

Founded by Steve and Shannon Johnson, who are the parents of a child who has autism, FoggyRock is a social site where people affected by autism can connect. It offers members of the autism community an opportunity to create personal pages, communicate with other members, make friends, share information, start or join a group or participate in forums. Sphere: Related Content

Funding Autism Treatment with Medicare

Medicare is a national health insurance program managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare coverage is available to people under age 65 who have disabilities. Disabled people who receive SSDI for 24 months are automatically enrolled in Medicare.

Medicare has four parts. Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps pay for hospital care, care in a skilled nursing facility, home health care and hospice care. Part B (Medical Insurance)helps pay for doctor visits and other medical services and supplies not covered by hospital insurance. Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) is available to people who have coverage under Medicare Part A and Part B in some areas. Part C coverage is provided by private insurance companies that have been approved by Medicare. Part D (Prescription Insurance) helps pay for prescription medications.

States have program that assist Medicare recipients who have low incomes and limited resources with the cost of Medicare premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and the cost of prescription drugs. To learn more about how to obtain assistance with these costs through Medicare Savings Programs, a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or State Pharmacy Assistance Programs (SPAPs), check out Medicare & You 2008 or call 1-800-MEDICARE. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, July 14, 2008

Funding Autism Treatment with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays disability benefits to individuals who have paid Social Security taxes and worked for a certain number of years and their families. Adult children of people who have paid Social Security taxes may qualify to receive disability benefits under the program if their disability started before age 22 and if one of their parents is deceased or receives Social Security Retirement Benefits or SSDI.

In order to qualify for SSDI, an adult child must be at least 18 and unmarried. Unlike SSI, which is a needs-based program for people who have limited income and financial resources, SSDI is not based on financial need. You can apply for SSDI online.

The medical requirements are the same for both programs as is the process for determining disability. The Social Security Administration has specific criteria for “Autistic Disorders and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders” for both children and adults. The Social Security Administration also has specific evidentiary requirements for substantiating claims of disability. The Social Security Administration uses certain criteria to determine if a person is disabled.

SSDI benefit amounts are based on earnings history. Use a benefit calculator to determine the amount of SSDI benefits your adult child may qualify for.

If you are denied SSDI benefits, you may appeal the decision. Sphere: Related Content

File an Appeal If Your Application for SSI is Denied

If your application for SSI is denied and you disagree with that determination, file an appeal. You can file an appeal with the Social Security Administration online. You can also file an appeal via telephone, mail or by visiting your local Social Security Administration office.

If your application was denied for medical reasons, you can fill out the Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report over the Internet. The report allows you to provide updated information about your disability and any treatment you received after having been denied SSI benefits.

If you are denied SSI for nonmedical reasons, visit your local Social Security Administration office or call the Social Security Administration’s national toll-free hotline (1-800-772-1213) to initiate an appeal. People who are hearing impaired can call the toll-free TTY hotline (1-800-325-0778). Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Funding Autism Treatment with Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal government program that provides financial assistance to disabled children and adults who meet eligibility requirements. In order to qualify for disability benefits under SSI, individuals must meet the Social Security Administration’s criteria for disability. They must also have income and assets which fall within the guidelines set by the Social Security Administration. The current maximum SSI benefit for an eligible individual is $637 monthly. In addition, many states supplement SSI payments through State Assistance Programs for SSI Recipients.

Children and adults with autism spectrum disorders may qualify for SSI benefits. When determining eligibility for SSI, the Social Security Administrations considers the nature and severity of a disability, family size, the number of family members who receive SSI, household income, whether household income is earned or unearned and assets. Check out the Supplemental Security Income Home Page to learn more about the application process.

Here are some tips for applying for SSI:
1. Document how your child’s disability affects his or her ability to participate in the activities of daily life.
2. Have copies of your child’s medical records, evaluations, treatment plans, Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individualized Education Program (IEP) and therapy reports readily available.
3. Compile the names and contact information for your child’s pediatrician, neurologist, therapists, teachers, social workers and case managers.
4. Keep copies of paycheck stubs, W-2s, income tax returns, utility bills, medical bills, therapy bills, insurance statements, rental contracts, mortgage statements, bank statements and other financial records.

You may initiate the application process for SSI online. Click on the link to apply for SSI on behalf of a child. Click on the link to apply for SSI on behalf of an adult.

If you have questions about applying for SSI, you may call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The toll-free TTY number is 1-800-325-0778. You may also visit your local Social Security Administration office for assistance.

Tips for visiting a Social Security Administration Office:
1. Arrive early and prepare for a wait.
2. Make sure you take copies of all necessary documents with you when you visit a Social Security Administration office.
3. Take something to read, a crossword puzzle, a small craft project or some paperwork you need to complete with you to help you pass the time.
4. If you take your child with you, bring along a few favorite toys and/or books.
Bring snacks for your child. Be prepared to step outside the office when your child wants to eat a snack because many Social Security Administration offices do not allow eating or drinking. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, July 11, 2008

Confronting Discrimination Against Loved Ones Who Have Autism

Prejudice and discrimination against people who have autism are on the rise. Several incidents of discrimination against people who have autism recently made headlines.

Two cases involved families of children with autism being harassed, humiliated and thrown off of airplanes operated by major airlines. Jarrett Farrell, a two year old boy with autism, and his mother Janice were kicked off an American Airlines plane departing from Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Wendy Slaughter and her family were denied boarding on a Southwest Airlines plane and stranded at Sky Harbor Airport because airline employees considered her autistic son disruptive.

People with autism have also encountered discrimination in other public places. The Church of St. Joseph in Bertha, Minnesota, obtained a restraining order to prevent Adam Race, a teenager with autism from attending its services. Darla and Blandon Granger’s autistic twin sons were among special needs students at Quail Glen Elementary School in Roseville, California, whose class was excluded from their school’s yearbook.

Discrimination against children with autism is not limited to the United States. Sarah Seymour and her family were told to leave a Smitty’s restaurant in Edmonton because their autistic five year old daughter, Eowyn, had become upset because her favorite food was not on the restaurant’s menu.

Some individuals have even taken to making ignorant, insensitive and mean-spirited comments about people with autism and their families in the blogosphere. I will neither name those individuals nor quote their cruel remarks. However, I will direct you to comments about prejudice and discrimination against families coping with autism by outspoken autism awareness advocates Kyron Arambula, Genevieve Hinson, David K. March, Karen Putz, Mia Redrick and beagoodmom.com.

Hold your head up and take your loved ones who have autism out to the public places you enjoy visiting. Your child and your family have just as much right to participate in life as anyone else’s. Your loved one who has autism has rights, and those rights are to be honored, respected and upheld. If you encounter discrimination, take action! In order to effectively combat prejudice, discrimination and intolerance against families affected by autism, it is imperative that families who experience these types of violations of their civil rights take immediate proactive steps to address discriminatory acts perpetrated against them.

If you encounter discrimination from a business, institution or government entity, write a letter of complaint to the head of the company, organization or agency. I also recommend writing a letter about your experience to the editor of your local paper.

Depending on the nature of the discrimination you are subjected to, the matter may need to be further escalated. Under some circumstances, you may want to report the incident to law enforcement authorities and/or state’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). You may also wish to report incidents to your state’s attorney general and to your local civil rights commission.

In some cases, you may want to consider consulting an attorney who has expertise in civil rights law. Call your local bar association for assistance finding an attorney who specializes in cases that involve discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability.

Here is a list of organizations you may need to contact if your loved one with autism suffers discrimination:

Americans with Disabilities Act Home Page
Better Business Bureau
Federal Aviation Administration Office of Civil Rights
Federal Trade Commission
United States Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
United States Commission on Civil Rights
United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Disability Section
United States Department of Labor Civil Rights Center
United States Department of Transportation Civil Rights Office Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Create an Autism Intervention Action Plan

As soon as possible after your child is diagnosed with autism, you need to develop a plan for addressing your child’s needs and coping with the impact autism will have on your family. Autism can present both difficulties and challenges, but it does not have to prevent your child from growing up to lead a productive, meaningful and fulfilling life…and it does not have to prevent you and your family from enjoying a wonderful life together. The key to conquering autism is to understand autism, to understand how autism affects your particular child and impacts your particular family life, and to create and implement an effective autism intervention action plan to help your child reach his or her full potential and to help your family successfully cope with autism.

Follow these steps to create and implement an effective autism intervention action plan for your family:

1. Learn as much as you can about autism and treatments for autism. Conduct research using books, magazines, journals, the Internet…any sources you can find that will help you learn about and understand autism. Don’t be shy about asking the health care and therapy providers, social workers and case managers who are part of your child’s treatment team questions about autism. Write your questions down so they are easy to find when you are ready to ask them. Ask for clarification of anything you don’t understand or need to have further explained.

2. Learn as much as you can about how autism affects your child who has been diagnosed with autism and your other family members. Observe and take note of how autism presents in your particular child. Be aware of your child’s strengths, deficits, behaviors, capabilities and needs. Be mindful of how your child’s autism affects the rest of your family. Knowing as much as you can about how autism affects your child and family will be immensely helpful when it’s time for you to determine how your family will respond to the effects of autism.

3. Make a two-column list. Write your child’s strengths, deficits, behaviors, capabilities and needs in the left hand column. Write possible interventions to address them in the right hand column.

4. Investigate the costs of the interventions you believe might benefit your child. Compile a list of resources you have for paying for the therapies, treatments and other interventions you believe will help your child.

5. Seek the support of other people and families who are affected by autism. Contact parent groups in your area. Join groups and forums online. Participate in meetups and social activities. Autism affects your entire family so everyone could use some support. Encourage family members to join support groups for people who have autism and their parents, siblings and extended families.

6. Seek professional help when you need it. Autism can take a toll on a family. If your family needs the intervention of an experienced professional to help it make it through tough times dealing with autism, enlist the assistance of a counselor, social worker, psychologist or member of the clergy.

7. Reflect on your plan. Revisit, revise and refine it as often as is necessary.

8. Use your Autism Intervention Action Plan as a blueprint for developing an Autism Treatment Plan.

An autism intervention action plan can benefit all families affected by autism, whether your child is newly diagnosed or was diagnosed with autism years ago. Understanding autism and consciously preparing to cope with it will benefit all members of your family immensely. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Welcome to Autism Assistance Resources and Information!

Welcome to the Autism Assistance Resources and Information! My name is Michelle McFarland-McDaniels. I live in Chicago with my husband and our two preteen daughters, both of whom have been diagnosed with Autism.

Lisa Jo Rudy, the About.com guide to autism, addressed the costs associated with autism treatment in her blog today. Her central question—and the title of her post was—“How much money is enough to cover the costs of autism treatment?” As the mother of two children who have autism, I know firsthand that it takes a lot of money to cover the costs of autism treatment.

While some people might think the figure of $70,000 for one year of treatment for autism Rudy cited is excessive, once you figure in the costs of evaluations, visits to pediatricians, developmental pediatricians, neurologists, gastroenterologists, psychologists, nutritionists, speech therapy, occupational therapy, vision therapy, DIR/Floortime therapy, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) consultants, ABA instructors, Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) training and instruction, assistive technology and augmentation communication devices…it’s easy to see how fast it can all add up. I personally know parents who use combinations of many of these therapies, treatments and interventions as well as many others such as biomedical interventions, special diets, nutritional supplements and Pivotal Response Training (PRT).

Often families have to travel in order to obtain treatment or diagnostic evaluations at specialized facilities. In the past year alone, my family has traveled to Alabama, Michigan, Texas and California to obtain treatment for one of our daughters. This adds the costs of airfares, ground transportation, hotel accommodations and meals to the cost of treatment.

Families of children with autism often have to invest in fencing, alarms and alert systems to protect their children. They also frequently have to enlist the assistance of special education advocates or attorneys who have expertise in special education issues in order to ensure that their children will receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

As a parent who has encountered these issues personally as well as vicariously through friends who are also the parents of children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders, related disorders and other disabilities, I know how overwhelming it is to contend with the cost of financing treatment for autism. Over the course of the nearly twelve years that autism has been part of my life, I have also come to know how difficult it is to locate information and resources to help families find ways to provide their children with the therapies, treatments, interventions and equipment they need in order to thrive.

My goal is to help other parents and caregivers of children with Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, related disorders and other disabilities find grants and other resources to help their children thrive. My ultimate goal is to help all families coping with autism by making it easier, faster and more convenient to find information and resources that will be of service and of benefit to them. Sphere: Related Content

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