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Students are often facing a difficult funding situation. Even though in many countries education is compulsory, responsibilities for financial support of assistive equipment is often unclear. Parents of a blind or visually impaired child should therefore always initially check if their health insurer will cover the costs of equipment needed.

The international funding structures vary from country to country. In Finland, for example, disabled students and other students in need of special support are entitled to receive special assistive devices and services which they need to allow them to take part in their classes, free of charge. These assistive devices include computers, hoists or special desks and are normally applied for at the municipal education service.

In Austria the governments of the respective federal states provide financial support for pupils and students with disabilities. A good address to start your search for the responsible body would be the social services department called Bundessozialamt.

The first point of contact in the UK for financial support of assistive technology products should be the school's special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) or the LEA.

The IEP (Individualized Education Program) is one of the most frequently used methods to obtain funding for assistive devices from a school system in the US. For students who take part in this program, local school districts may pay for the assistive devices a disabled child needs to attend school.

In case you never wrote a letter of application or are not sure where to apply for financial support, a good starting point always would be to seek assistance at either a local organization for the Blind and Visually Impaired or directly at your local dealer.

 

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