When Matthew was diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, we were pretty much left to our own devices without any help after the diagnosis. We made the decision for Jane to stay at home for Matthew. We claimed DLA for him (https://theworldofneil.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/claiming-dla-for-a-child-with-autism/) but that was it.
Then Jane saw a link tweeted by another autism parent. It was a link to a website that listens a huge number of grants for disabled children and young people (http://www.disability-grants.org/grants-for-children.html). As Matthew had a diagnosis, and had been awarded DLA, so we decided to see if that opened some doors. One of the organisations we encountered was the Family Fund (http://www.familyfund.org.uk/). The criteria they applied was the child was in receipt of at least middle rate care DLA and that we were in receipt of Child Tax Credits, which we are (they also need confirmation of diagnosis). So, not expecting much, we applied for a grant. Jane had read research that indicated tablet computers were good for autistic children, so we put that on the grant application. We were shocked when they called up Jane to say we were getting funding for a Motorola Xoom android tablet! (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Motorola-Xoom-Android-Tablet-battery/dp/B004SG6BK0) – we were thrilled! That wasn’t the end of it though. The lady Jane spoke to then asked, what else would you like? Jane was rendered speechless! Would you like funding for breaks away?..umm, yes please! Would Matthew like a trampoline? Would he? Hell yes! A few weeks later, we received a voucher to get his tablet, funds into our bank for a holiday, and a voucher for Atlantic Trampolines for a 10ft trampoline with safety enclosure (http://www.atlantictrampolines.co.uk/) – absolutely amazing!
They allow just one application a year, which is reasonable. We had applied in March last year, so a few weeks ago, we thought we would try again. Daniel had been asking if he could get a tablet, as he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in November last year. He thought that as he had a special brain like Matthew, he could get a tablet. We thought if he didn’t get funding, we’d look at some other way of coming up with the goods, because he was so accepting of when we told him he’d have to wait. We duly sent of a grant application about a month ago now. Then on last 8 April, they called to say we’d be getting a tablet! We’d asked for a Xoom like Matthew has, but as they’d changed suppliers, they said they only issued iPads! Well, ok then! It would be the 4th generation iPad, so it was up-to-date. We decided not to tell Daniel though. Then 3 days ago, Family Fund called again to give us the options we could choose. We decided that the 16gb iPad with wifi would be enough for Daniel. So it was all stations go! They said they’d get onto the supplier, but it would be three weeks.
But today (18 April), a van pulls up outside and the driver comes to the door with a parcel. Daniel’s iPad! Jane messaged me that it had arrived, so naturally I took a half day to get it set up for him! As with most modern technology, it was set up within minutes! I downloaded all the Angry Birds games, so it would be ready for Daniel. When Jane & I went to collect the boys from school, we said to Daniel there was something for him at home. Well, that was enough for him to refuse to play with his best friend! When we got home, we asked Daniel to close his eyes, then put his hands out. When he opened them again, he went mad! He was so thrilled, saying “thank you, thank you” over and over. Safe to say, he liked it!
We had to get loads of Star Wars apps on of course, so he’s happy! We’re delighted with it, and hopefully it will help Daniel with school work, as well as provide a way for him to wind down during the day. Once again though, Family Fund came up with the goods. Thanks again!