I’ve written before about some equipment we’ve gotten for Namine: her hand cycle bike and therapy benches. Medical and adaptive equipment is expensive, and without help we would never have been able to get them for her. That help, in this case, came from the Children’s Long-Term Support program, a service for families with special needs.
The case worker we had worked with in the past had left, so we had a virtual meeting with our new case worker. We’ve known for a while that they help with getting equipment — for obvious reasons — but it was only in this meeting that we learned the program doesn’t just help out with one-time payment sort of things.
The program also helps with memberships, like for the YMCA (or your athletic club of choice) or the zoo. And more — we asked about art classes, like the one Namine took last summer. Yeah, they’re willing to help with those, too. And the week-long camp she attended the previous summer? Yep, once they’re back up and running. (They closed down last summer due to COVID.) Mind: blown.
We don’t talk too much about the financial side of being a special needs family. There’s a certain stigma in America about needing help, but let’s be honest: everyone needs help sometimes. That’s been true of us too, particularly in the department of accessibility equipment.
With Namine’s physical therapy being cut back from once a week to once a month, she needed more equipment here at home. A single, well-made adjustable therapy bench costs literally hundreds of dollars. (You might find a cheap one for around $200.) Namine’s bike, too, is a custom build that would have necessitated a Gofundme or something for us to afford.
The CLTS is obviously specific to where we live, in Waukesha county. But I wouldn’t be surprised to find that other counties and states have similar programs. Unfortunately, the discovery of those programs and the services they cover aren’t often well advertised. Even when we’re loud and advocate for our children, it seems there is always more to learn.