Let’s be honest.
Let’s just get really frank from the start — raising a child with ADHD and/or autism is expensive. Medication, therapy, tutoring, specialty schools… raising a special needs child is exponentially more expensive than raising a neurotypical child.
So, what can we do to access the treatment our kids need? That’s not an easy question to answer. And I’ll be the first to tell you that not all of us can afford all the treatment our kids need. Sometimes it just won’t be accessible. I think my son would really benefit from ABA therapy, but our family cannot afford it and insurance companies aren’t required to pay for it in my state. It makes me sad, but there’s nothing I can do about it. There are some things you can do when cost is getting in the way of adequate treatment…
What you can do about costs.
Medications for ADHD and autism, especially stimulants and mood stabilizers, are very costly. In the last year, many insurance companies have drastically cut the list of medications they will cover, leaving many kids without the medication that was helping them.
Fortunately, medication manufacturers have stepped up to address the problem. Many offer copay coupons now to make medications accessible to those who can’t pay full retail price. And several have patient assistance programs, too. Here’s a list of the most common medications — click the name to view the coupon offer or patient assistance program for each.
Families in lower income brackets may find that their child will qualify to receive social security disability income. Eligibility is determined by financial income and disability. Get more information and learn how to apply on SSA.gov here: https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/apply-child.html.
Insurance in the US is required to cover mental health services now. That doesn’t necessarily make therapy affordable. And it’s very expensive for individuals without any insurance at all. If you cannot afford the therapy your child needs, try training clinics (check at your local universities) or a community mental health group. Support groups can be a good source of help, too. You can ask established mental health offices if they offer negotiated fees or a sliding scale as well.
There are many non-profits that provide family support to families of kids with disabilities, including developmental disabilities like ADHD and autism. They often vary from state to state, so you will have to some googling and digging yourself to find organizations for your area. The Arc is a good place to start as well: http://www.thearc.org/.
One of the best resources is other parents who have a similar special parenthood. Ask parents, physicians, and teachers what resources they know of. Facebook offers many groups for community support as well, including our own Parenting ADHD and Autism support group.
What resources do you know about that I haven’t listed here? Share everything you know of that might help other families in the comments below.
Author: Penny Williams
Penny Williams guides and mentors parents raising kids with ADHD and/or autism. She’s the parent of a son with ADHD and autism, and the author of three award-winning books on parenting kids with ADHD: Boy Without Instructions, What to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD, and The Insider’s Guide to ADHD Penny is the current editor of ParentingADHDandAutism.com, Founder and Instructor for The Parenting ADHD & Autism Academy, and a frequent contributor on parenting and children with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications.