How to Afford Private Education and Therapy for Children with Special Needs

How to Afford Private Education and Therapy for Children with Special Needs


Having a child with unique learning needs can be a huge financial commitment for families. Between the cost of therapies, private school tuition, and tutoring, the expenses add up quickly. There are, however, many ways to lighten the burden and make these expenses a bit more manageable. Read on for some tips!





  1. Research government funding options. The government offers a number of supports for persons with disabilities and/or special needs. Some examples of government funding in Ontario include The Ontario Disability Support Program, Direct-Funding for Autism Services, and Special Services at Home.
  2. Research charities and non-profits. Many charities and non-profits provide funding for services for children with special needs. President’s Choice Children’s Charity and Jennifer Ashleigh Children’s Charity are two examples.
  3. Consult a financial planner. With some careful planning and investing you may be able to increase your savings and/or return on investments. Many families are able to reduce spending dramatically by maintaining a budget and prioritizing their expenses. While it can be difficult to sacrifice in the short term, remind yourself regularly why you are sending your child to therapy or private school. It will be worth it in the long term.
  4. Consider part time options. Many private schools will have the option of part-time enrollment which can cut down on tuition fees dramatically.
  5. Ask about payment plans or other creative arrangements. Many schools will accommodate flexible payment plans (i.e. paying for 10 month school tuition over 12 months). Some schools may allow you to work or volunteer at the school to off-set some of the tuition costs.
  6. Talk to your employer. If you work at a large corporation, reach out to the Human Resources department and see if they offer any corporate-sponsored scholarships or bursaries for which you can apply. Some employers will offer tuition assistance as part of their overall salary and benefits package. Be upfront with your employer and you may be pleasantly surprised.
  7. Talk to your accountant. You may be eligible for certain tax breaks. For example, certain therapies may be claimed as a medical expense and some programs, such as after school programs, may be claimed as child-care expenses. You may also be eligible for the Child Disability Benefit and the Disability Tax Credit.
  8. Start saving early. Setting up a tax-free savings account or other form of education fund when your child is born (or as soon as you receive a diagnosis) is a great way to accumulate savings by the time he/she is ready for private school or in need of therapy/tutoring. Many schools will also offer discounts on tuition if you are able to pay the entire amount upfront rather than in installments. If you have the savings already, you are able to take advantage of these discounts.



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