8 Steps to Getting a Free Ipad for Special Needs Uses
Oh, the wonderful things an iPad can do. Apps for more than just saying, “Hi, how are you?” There are homework, fine motor, and life skill reviews. Support at home, school, or work, wherever you choose.
Apple’s Commitment to Accessibility brings technology into reach. For those frustrated by limits from their bodies or speech. Yes, overcoming barriers with an iPad sounds really nice. Too bad Universal Accessibility doesn’t include price!
They’re here, they’re hot, and they’re expensive! Luckily for those who can’t afford an iPad or IPod Touch for their child, school, or therapy center, the rumors are true. You can get a free iPad for individuals with Special Needs.
Here are eight steps to get you closer to a free iPad or iPod Touch.
You don’t need an iPod or iTouch to open an iTunes account and begin building a library of free (aka “lite”) and discounted apps. Apps don’t expire after being downloaded, but special offers could. You might be able to use your Mac or PC for movies, podcasts, music, and as a reader for >ahem< research, of course.
Broadcast your need to everyone, everywhere. Write a quick explanation that friends and family can forward through email and post on social networking sites. There can be an old device sitting forgotten in a friend’s junk drawer. If somebody knew their old iPad could make a difference, they might give it away instead of trading it in when they upgrade. Get the word out!
Don’t take a free iPod Touch away from someone else, only to find out that the person it is intended for needs the larger iPad screen. Borrowing is a great way to get an idea of what the user might need for device training, behavioral support, apps, and accessibility. Figure out how the user is going to carry, reach, and protect their device before you start working on step. If you can’t get the actual object of your desire into the hands of the user, try using an old iPhone with apps for your trial.
You don’t have to belong to a club or start a foundation to have a yard sale and put the money aside for an iPad. You can raise money for yourself, a friend, or a group. Ask a sorority, a civic group such as the Lions Club, or your niece’s Girl Scout troop to make your cause their cause. Online fundraising resources such as Give Forward will walk you through creating a successful fundraiser from beginning to end. Fundgiving provides creative ways for your friends and family to use their skills and resources to raise money instead of donating cash. Include the costs of apps, accessories, and training in your fundraising goal.
Go to parent to parent or professional support and information sites such as forums, social networking sites, and blogs to find the freebies. These sites link to current iPad raffles, technology giveaways, free or discounted apps, and foundations accepting applications for free iPads. Search for sites that review special needs apps, discuss disability and technology, education and technology, a specific diagnosis, or provide special needs resources. Most sites offer readers multiple ways to receive updates. Choose one that you will check regularly; you need to find out about the latest opportunity ASAP.
Joining Special Needs awareness and support groups in your area (either online or in person) is a great way to learn about local resources. There might be funds and waivers that can reimburse you for an iPad, accessories, and training. Some sources might even provide funds up front for Special Needs related uses.
Figuring out how to use an iPad or iPod Touch to help someone with Special Needs is not the same as figuring out how to turn it on and off. Directions for use can wait until you peel the shrink wrap off the user’s guide. Directing the use of this amazing technology requires understanding the abilities and needs of the user and matching them up with the capabilities and uses of the technology. Ask “how am I going to use an iPad in my (home, classroom, therapy session).” Search for that answer while working on tips 1 through 6 to develop an implementation plan.
Okay, so individual grants can be used to pay for an iPad. Foundations give away new or refurbished devices. And, of course, grants for Special Needs related groups and businesses to fund technology programs are out there. So why is apply the last tip? Because there is limited money and a lot of need. Not everyone who wants an iPad for Special Needs uses has contacts to help them, or the ability to fundraise. Tapping into your resources first could get you an iPad or raise part of the money so you have to apply for less. When the HollyRod Foundation announced they were giving away free iPads at the end of last November, they were so flooded with requests that they stopped accepting applications three weeks before the published deadline. Free iPads and iPods are out there, but competition is fierce. Write about your experiences working through tips 1 through 7 in your grant request or application. Stand out from the other deserving applicants by sharing how you tried to raise the funds, how you’ve educated yourself, that you are connected with local and online resources, you have an implementation plan, and that you are committed to helping someone with Special Needs meet their goals with an iPad or iPod.
FREE iPads and Fundraising Resources
Anara Midgett blogs at able2able… Your Special Needs Resource Directory. She used steps 1 through 7 to get her special needs daughter an iPod Touch and raised over $700 for technology related expenses – in one month. Her next goal is to raise money to purchase a $200 communication app.
- 5 Steps to Getting an iPad Covered by Insurance: A Mom’s Story of Success
- An iPad for the Holidays Now What?
- Interactive Technology May Be a Double-Edge Sword for Children
- Ipad Usage in the Special Needs Pre-School Classroom
- Sample Letter of Ipad Recommendation From Private Speech Therapist
- Sample Letter of Recommendation for Ipad Physician
- Sample School Speech Therapist Recommendation Letter
You May Also Like
- Digital Safety: An Ongoing Conversation
- Summer Internet Surfing Keeping Kids Safe Online
- Language and Literacy Learning: Success With Technology
- 7 Apps for Students with Special Needs Back to School Success!
- Life-Changing Apps for People with Disabilities
- Tech Tips for Your Smart Home
- Favorite Five: Special products to make your life easier
- Smartphones and Special Needs Children: Technological Solutions to a Growing Problem
This post originally appeared on our September/October 2011 Magazine