Home > Family Services > Tips on Applying for Financial Aid for your Family Member with Autism

Tips on Applying for Financial Aid for your Family Member with Autism

This is a blog post by J-Jaye Hurley, Autism Response Team coordinator on the Autism Speaks Family Services team and the mother of a child with autism.


1.      Print all pages of the application and read them carefully. Twice.  . . These applications are usually lengthy and complex so you must review their own requirements.  Many applications ask for similar items (tax statements, IEPs, etc) but they are ALL in a different format.  If you do not provide the information they request AND in the format they request, you can be denied.  If you do not send in all the information at the same time, you can be denied.  Also review their application criteria before you apply.  A friend of mine filled out a long application only to realize they didn’t provide assistance for the therapy she was interested in.  Know all requirements before diving in.

2.     Be aware of deadlines.  Some family grants are year-round but the majority I applied for had specific deadlines. In fact, I was unable to apply for one that I wanted because I missed their annual deadline.  If you are requesting therapy notes or letters of recommendation, make sure you allow plenty of time to gather all information, complete application and send in PRIOR to that deadline.  If they receive your application after the deadline, you will be denied.

3.     Be concise and honest.  Most organizations review thousands of apps, and the majority of the application is financial information.  However, most apps ask the parent for some personal information about the child.  Make sure you tell them about your child, why you need their help and how this will make a difference for your child and family.  They don’t need your entire life story, but they do need you to be honest and upfront about your needs and situation.  Most of our stories speak for themselves so just be yourself and speak from the heart.  We are passionate parents and advocates by nature so go with what you know – your child.

4.     Get recommendations.  Some applications say they will accept letters of recommendation but don’t require them. I recommend your seeking those letters as they only serve to provide additional information on your child and family to this anonymous committee.  Ask your therapists, physicians or family members.  You can save letters and use them for multiple applications each year.

5.     Have a friend/spouse review your apps.  Before you mail in your completed applications, have someone review it for you.  My husband caught typos & had suggestions.  As a former English teacher, I always recommend having another pair of eyes review your writing.  Applications are no exception!

6.     Include a picture of your beautiful child!  This helps bring a personal and real connection to those reading your applications.

7.     If at first you don’t succeed, apply and apply again!  I was turned down for some of my applications and I plan to re-apply before 2011 deadlines.  Make a copy of your completed application, as it stays basically the same from year to year.  It is much easier to update last year’s application than start from scratch on a 10 page app.  Update your new information and try again.

Check out this article in Family Services Community Connections.

Family Services provides resources and information. If you have a question, contact the Autism Response Team today. If you’re concerned that your child may be affected with autism or if you’ve received a diagnosis, browse the Tools for Families section, where you’ll find our 100 Day Kit, and the Autism Video Glossary. If you’d like to do a quick search for service providers near you, selectFind a Local Resource and browse the Resource Guide.

  1. Nathan James
    February 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm | #1

    Hello, read initial post and was hastened to reply. In March ill be turning 34 and due to a recent diagnosis that seems all to fitting, im amiss as to what to do or who to ask help too? I found out i have been living a third century with aspergers and ive been facebooking lots of autism and asperger groups but the focus is Typically make sure to include a picture of your lovely child and how to live with children with this a cursed affliction…..do any of these children ever grow up?
    i wonder is there even a public talk about autism in adults…..at all?
    stressed, depressed,vexed,hexed, bastad stuck in north dakota just wondering if all autism sufferers are to report to never never land?

    • Patty
      February 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm | #2

      The organization, CARD is one that u might find useful. They usually have a “branch” at universities and they have resources and consultants for adults. Center for Autism and Related Diseases. We have received a lot of support from our local rep and our son is only 6. We are curious about his future and really get alot of insight from their experience with adult Autistics.

    • Sandy Scot Greene
      February 19, 2011 at 1:11 am | #3

      I am so glad to see someone bring this up as my son is reaching his 15th birthday and was dx later than most only in the last 3-4years so his future has a lot to work towards. Thanks Nathan James for an honest view. Sandy

  2. Amanda Coto
    February 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm | #4

    I didnt even know that help like that existed.. What is the best website to locate this help?

  3. Allan McCombs
    February 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm | #6

    where is the link to the application?

  4. Roy victor o.osewe
    February 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm | #7

    Am a parent from Nairobi-Kenya,my first born boy is autistic.can also get financial aid?

  5. Tonya Burke
    February 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm | #8

    This is helpful information. Could you provide information on where to find these grants? We live in Md.

  6. Linda Owens
    February 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm | #9

    Please send me information how and where to find this assistance in Oklahoma. I have a 10 year old grandson whose parents could use some financial assistance finding decent and dependable places to get their son in for Occupational and Speech Therapy. Can anyone help. We are also wanting to get some support groups started for the area we live in and want to know about how to start these groups. Thanks for your help.

  7. samantha
    February 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm | #10

    My 8 year old son has a speech problem..he gets speech from school but my husband and I took him to our state university and he is now getting an extra hour of speech per week…It is very affordable and something to look into.

  8. Simply Healthy
    February 19, 2011 at 9:25 am | #11

    Great read well done very interesting http://www.simplyhealthy.co.uk

  9. February 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm | #12

    Please send me information how and where to find this assistance in Oklahoma.

  10. August 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm | #13

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  11. October 1, 2011 at 7:14 am | #14

    im glad i found your site, great relevant information you have provided..
    excellent work
    thanks

  1. February 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm | #1

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