Help & Advice Practical Advice Funds & Grants Caring for someone with autism can become expensive. For children and adults needing specialist care, the costs can quickly spiral, from having to buy special sensory equipment and toys, to paying for higher utility bills. This can put a strain on your financial situation, so it is worth finding out if you are eligible for any funding or grants either through charitable organisations or the government. Charitable Donations There are many autism charities that specialise in offering emotional and financial support for families living with a disabled loved one. Some of these charities might also be able to provide grants to be used for paying bills, buying equipment or even taking the family away on a short holiday. Whilst some organisations give help for a wide variety of conditions, it’s best to focus on autistic charities initially as these will be most likely to provide the specialised help you need. Some examples of charities that might be able to help include; Autism Aware UK - This charity provides families with online support whilst working to increase the awareness surrounding autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism Aware UK has helped fund specialist Sunny Days Children’s Fund - This charity make small grants to help as many children and their families as possible, whether it be for day trips, medical equipment, respite or hospital travel. The John and Lorna Wing Foundation - If you have an older child who needs help with higher education needs, the John and Lorna Wing Foundation could be ideal. They provide group and individual autism funding for both research and educational support. Though they don’t have a website, you can contact them by writing to Dr. J.A. Gould at 43 Barnfield Wood Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 6ST. Music for Autism - Sensory play and learning can be extremely important for children with autism; a fact recognised by Music for Autism. This organisation put on interactive concerts for kids to enjoy, and hosts a number of events across the UK. The charity also supports schools with autistic children, as well as special units. Non-Autistic Charities The Caudwell Charity - If your child has a disability, you could be granted funding from the Caudwell Charity. Though they do not fund building projects, clothing or household appliances, they might be able to help with sensory room equipment and soft play toys. Children Today Charitable Trust - If you’re looking for special equipment like sensory toys or bikes, the Children Today Charitable Trust could be ideal. Every claim is means tested, but the organisation weighs up the facts sympathetically to try and help as many people as possible. EDF Energy Trust - If you’re on a low income and worried about energy costs, the EDF Energy Trust could help. Grants are used to cover utility payments, and you can apply if you’re a domestic customer of EDF Energy, London Energy, Seeboard, Energy or SWEB Energy. Government Funding The government offer grants for autism in the form of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). If you are eligible and successful in your application this grant allows you to make a wide variety of home modifications so that living with a disabled child is easier. Money available via DFG’s are aimed at making your home life easier by assisting you to finance essential changes. If you have an autistic child who shows difficult behaviour towards the rest of your family, you might need to build a new bedroom to provide them with their own space, for example. DFG’s are made for exactly this purpose, though it’s important you give the right evidence to back up your application. For this reason, before applying, it is a good idea to contact your local authority and have an occupational therapist assess your needs. With their guidance, you can give your application the best chance to succeed. DFG Qualifying Criteria To be eligible for a grant, you need to either own your own home, be a landlord with a disabled tenant or rent your home, either privately, through the housing association or via local housing authority. You will need to supply a certificate stating that your disabled child will continue living on the premises for at least five years after the work has been completed. In addition, though the process is means tested for adults, your income is not taken into account if you’re applying for your child.