6 Ways to Afford All the Services Your Child Needs When You Are Broke
One of the hardest parts of parenting is making sure your child has what they need; but what do you do when the cost of their therapy doesn't fit into your budget? It can be heartbreaking thinking that you can't afford to help your struggling child. I've been there too. So in debt that each month we were $500 short. I also know this last year had been financially tough for so many families; which is why I wanted to share 6 ways to afford your child's therapy when you're broke.
1.) First off, if your child is in public school, there are many programs that schools offer. Everything from reading help, to math help, to mental health screenings, vision, screenings, hearing screenings, basic developmental evaluations, etc. Contact the school’s special education department to find out what programs they offer.
2.) Second are State programs. For example, when we lived in WV there was a free program to help kids with developmental delays called birth to 3. Most states have similar programs.
Each state offers medical insurance assistance, nutrition assistance, and others to those who qualify. You may be able to receive benefits such as Medicaid for your child or a state health welfare care. Check out the special needs alliance for types of state government programs that may be available.
3.) The third place to look for help is National Programs. Depending on your child’s needs there are National Groups that can help, such as the Autism Society of America, the Open Doors Program, the National Organization for Rare Disorders, National Alliance for Mental Health, or Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program.
4.) The fourth place to look for help on therapy costs are College and Universities where students are learning psychiatry, psychology, speech, occupational, or other therapies. These students provide inexpensive/free services as part of the graduate training under licensed professionals.
5.) The fifth way I want to touch base is how to use your insurance wisely. Many insurance programs offer tele-care services at a fraction of the price. This allows you meet with professionals on-line. This can be helpful for counseling or routine check-ups.
Check into group therapy versus individual, as these can typically be less expensive per session.
Meet for the basics. As a parent who has a child in and out of therapies for the last 5 years I can tell you it doesn’t work if you’re not doing it at home. If money is tight meet with the therapists and ask them to outline exactly what exercises need to be done so you can do them at home. Instead of meeting with them 1-3 times a week, meet periodically to go over progress and potentially new exercises.
6.) The last way to get therapy help for your child is through on-line resources. There are many self-help programs that are inexpensive or free via the internet from experienced individuals to help you and your family in a variety of areas. You can find OT & Speech exercises on-line, to working with your picky eater, to creating more calm peaceful days (like my Empowered Parent Program). These step-by-step programs can yield amazing results.
Now this list isn't everything. What creative ways have you found to help your child to get the therapy they need when you're financially strained?