Raising kids is an expensive affair at the best of times. It’s a non-stop cost, from the day they enter the world through school and their teenage years. For many of us, life wouldn’t be complete without our children, and the commitment wasn’t some lifestyle choice – it’s something deep within us and arguably why we’re here in the first place.
Yet, suppose your child has special needs. That puts an even more significant strain on your finances. Even though it’s not your primary concern in that situation, money influences the quality of everything – your everyday life, your child’s care, therapy, education – and even your sanity. The fact is that being short of cash makes everything harder, and caring for someone with autism spectrum disorder is no different.
Financial Assistance Resources For Parents of Autistic Children
In this article, we’re going to look at financial assistance resources for parents with autistic children. There’s some great help available on the web if you know where to look.
The Costs of Caring For a Child With Autism
Sometimes it’s worth stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. Caring for a kid with autism is hectic; we get caught up daily. Yeah, it can be stressful, punctuated by moments of reward and delight, and we all know it’s expensive – the financial stress is ever-present. Sometimes, though – and this can be especially true if you live out of town and don’t have a big support group around you – you can lose sight of the fact that you’re far from being alone.
ASD is just ridiculously costly. In 2012, Autism Speaks, one of the world’s foremost autism science and advocacy organizations, conducted a study that estimated the annual cost of ASD to the US. The figure was a cool $126 billion. The costs for families with autistic children are just as staggering, at $2.3 million for every person affected.
Other research illustrates how the time demands of caring for a child with ASD impact earnings. Families earn 28% less than those without health problems and 21% less than families coping with non-autism conditions. However, the most significant effect is on moms bringing home 56% less pay than mothers unaffected.
How To Save Money as a Parent of an Autistic Child
Research is the key to saving some of that hard-earned cash when raising a kid with ASD. However, the trouble with caring for children with autism is that free time is rarely luxury parents enjoy. With that firmly in mind, we decided to put together some links and tips to get you started, and it’s surprising just how much help is out there once you begin looking.
Freebies & Financial Assistance
The internet is an excellent resource for raising a child with autism. There’s information about the therapy, care, and educational advice – but it can be harder to track down financial support sources. So, what help is out there, and where can you find it?
Practical Money-saving Tips
Many more of us have been shopping online during the pandemic, but the fact is that shopping for groceries and household items via the internet can also save time for busy parents. That’s not the sole benefit of online shopping, though – going digital also opens up some money-saving possibilities:
Freebies and coupons:
One of the best things about digital commerce is that stores still use coupons. You no longer need to spend ages finding and saving special offers and deals because sites like koopy.com do all the hard work for you – including baby freebies for new moms, pregnant moms, and thousands of coupons from all kinds of American retailers!
When was the last time you entered a contest? Even in the digital age, retailers use contests to promote their products, which can be great fun to enter. Many competitions get aimed at families and have a fun activity element to be a two-way win – and there are websites for that too!
You can earn every time you spend if you take a few minutes to register for incentives like Amazon Rewards.
Shopping online also allows you to use ingenious apps. Flipp.com continuously scans your neighborhood for sales flyers and discounted or rolled-back grocery items, and it can save you heaps of cash over a year or two.
Financial Assistance for ASD Parents on the Web
Finding coupon bargains is one thing, but what about when the bills pile up and you need financial help? There are many non-profit schemes and programs out there, both at the national and state levels. It’s important to remember that no matter how hard things get, you’re never alone when raising a child with autism. Here’s a selection:
- Autism Cares provides smaller $1,000 grants to families that find themselves in a financial fix
- Autism Family Resources Grants offer grants if your household income falls below $50,000
- The Ezra B. Smith Foundation for Autism Therapy and Education is a great therapy and education funding resource
- Helping Hands Program, National Autism Association offers grants aimed at making treatments more accessible
- PAF Co-Pay Relief offers debt-relief assistance
- Small Steps in Speech provides funding grants for speech therapy
- ACT Today awards grants up to $5,000 for low-earning families to use for therapy and medical treatments or devices
- Adonis Autism Assistance Foundation runs three grant programs you can apply for online for some Florida residents