Free or Low-Cost Ways to Help Your Child Thrive

At a glance

  • Many kinds of free or low-cost technology can help kids with learning and thinking differences.

  • Some schools and nonprofits offer free tutoring.

  • There are inexpensive ways you can help your child work on social skills.

You can do a lot to help your child with learning and thinking differences. And many of the ways you can help cost little or no money. Here are some free or low-cost resources to explore.

Assistive Technology

Finding the right can make a big difference in your child’s education. And these tools don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg:

  • Audiobooks: Listening to the words while looking at them on the page can be very helpful to kids who struggle with reading. Find out where your child can get free or low-cost audiobooks.
  • Dictation and text-to-speech software: Many phones and tablet computers come with free features that can help users who have trouble with reading, writing and staying organized. Learn how to make the most of the built-in features on your mobile device.
  • Laptops: Public schools provide computers and other kinds of assistive technology to qualifying students at no cost to parents. Read an expert’s advice on how to get your child free access to a laptop or tablet computer.
  • Online educational games and apps: Make skillbuilding fun! Find free or low-cost online games and apps that can help kids with learning and thinking differences.
Did you know that your child may be eligible for free digital text-to-speech books? Learn more.

Social and Emotional Challenges

It’s not unusual for kids with learning and thinking differences to struggle with social skills or low self-esteem. Here are some free resources that can help:

  • Behavior strategies: Need help getting your child to transition from task to task? What about making friends or improving self-esteem?
  • Your child’s favorite TV shows: Watch a scene with the sound off to help your child work on picking up on social cues. Ask how a character is feeling based on his face or body language. Pause a scene and get your child to predict what will happen next. Learn more ways TV and video games can help kids with learning and thinking differences.
  • Social skills groups: Your child’s school may have a “lunch bunch” or other regular meeting place where kids can work on social skills with a trained adults. Find out where else you might be able to find a free or low-cost social skills group for your child.

Knowledgeable People

Find out how to get free or low-cost help from people who know about learning and thinking differences:

  • Experts: Interact with Understood’s team of experts through live chats, webinars and online office hours. Check out Experts Live.
  • Tutors: Some schools and nonprofit organizations offer free tutoring. Another place to look for free or low-cost help is a local college that offers coursework and degrees in education. Get more tips on how to make tutoring affordable.
  • Parent training centers: Every state has at least one Parent Training and Information Center (PTI). The people at these nonprofit centers can answer questions and help you identify more resources for your child.

You can save money in even more ways while helping your child. Find out how to qualify for speech therapy and other services, provided at school at no cost to you. Get tips on how to be an effective advocate for your child.

Key takeaways

  • Built-in features in smartphones or tablets can help with reading, writing and staying organized.

  • You can use your child’s favorite TV shows as teaching tools.

  • Qualifying students can receive free and other services through their schools.

About the author

About the author

The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Sheldon H. Horowitz, EdD is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.