Assistive technology and grants

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology – sometimes called ‘access’ or ‘adaptive’ technology – is specially designed to help people with visual impairment learn and access information, as well as supporting development.

With technology playing such a significant role in our everyday lives, we know that finding the right tech for your child can be bewildering – that’s why we’re here to help. Whether it’s off the shelf or specialised, we can provide support and guidance to make the most of your child’s tech and sensory items for study and play.

How Guide Dogs can help you

From laptops and computers to Braille devices, assistive technology and equipment can open up a world of opportunities for children and young people with sight loss. We help families like yours choose the best possible devices and software to meet your child’s individual needs at home and at school. And because we don’t sell any equipment, our advice is always independent and unbiased.

As well as guidance, we also offer a grant that can be put towards assistive technology, enabling you to encourage your child’s development at home. We consider a range of technology from portable magnifiers to laptops with magnification and speech software.

Guide Dogs holds family events throughout the year, where you can meet a member of our team and ask questions. At some events, we also have suppliers and equipment with us, giving you the opportunity to try the products yourself.

Rebecca’s story

Rebecca Miller was just a toddler when she started losing her sight due to a rare condition. As she grew up, Guide Dogs helped improve Rebecca’s mobility and independent living skills, including travelling from home to her local shops.

We introduced her to a free mobile app which tracks live bus times and alerts Rebecca when she reaches her stop – and an artificial intelligence app which scans barcodes and reads out the prices of goods in shops.

Habilitation Specialist, Tracy Dryburgh, says:

“Rebecca has embraced the use of assistive technology – I’ve seen a big improvement in her mobility and confidence.”

Rebecca’s mum, Claire Thomson, agrees:

“Guide Dogs has given Rebecca the freedom and independence she needs as a young adult.”

Criteria for grant application

Before applying for an assistive technology grant, please ensure you understand the following:

  • We will consider grant applications for items where no sources of statutory funding will pay for the required item
  • All equipment and software provided by Guide Dogs’ children and young people’s services are for home use only
  • Your application will need to be supported by a VI professional
  • If successful, you will need to make a 10% contribution towards the total cost of the items
  • A 50% contribution towards the total costs will be required in the case of refreshable braille devices
  • One application, including an unsuccessful application, can be made per year and successful applicants can't apply again within a two-year period for the same or similar item

It’s really important you tell us how the item you are applying for will improve the applicant’s day-to-day life. More information will allow the grant board to make a more informed decision about your application.

For full details, please download our assistive technology grant criteria PDF.

 

You can apply for a range of technology from penfriend labels to refreshable braille devices. We also offer to fund standard package laptop and desktops which include Supernova Software.

However, you will need to check our criteria to make sure the applicant is eligible. For example, in the case of a refreshable braille device, the applicant will need to be a stage 2 Braillest or a video magnifier, like a Connect 12, the applicant will need to be 10+ years.

 

Sorry, no, all items funded by Guide Dogs are for home use only.

 

  • Local authority service providers, including QTVI teachers working directly with the applicant
  • Habilitation Officers
  • Health Workers (VI)
  • Social Workers

 

You can apply for funding towards technology for children and young people up to and including 18 years of age.  However, there are restrictions for some items and it is best to read the criteria before applying.

 

It's recommended applications are sent recorded delivery as we are unable to pay for any missing postage.

Once your application has been received, we will send an email notification. If you don't hear anything within two weeks please contact us.

 

On average it takes three months to process an application and you will be informed of the decision by post. The decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Assistive technology grant criteria

Everything you need to know about the grant application process – please read ahead of applying

Assistive technology grant application form

Please send completed application forms and supporting documents to grants@guidedogs.org.uk or post to  Birmingham office Guide Dogs, 48-62 Woodville Road, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9AT

At Guide Dogs, we want every child to enjoy the benefits of assistive technology

We will support you throughout the application process and are on hand to answer any questions you have.