We have been asked a few times how people can help us with Abigail, appointments, etc. We are blessed because we do not incur any medical expenses due to the fact that she qualifies for two state provided insurances. However that being said, I decided to throw out things that people may not think about outside of medical expenses. This list is NOT me attempting to get people to give us things. Please don't take that away from here. It is simply me telling you that if you have a neighbor with a special needs kiddo, and you keep thinking that chocolate chip cookies are great (and they are) but you would like to do more here are some ideas.
First of all gift certificates for out to eat. I'm not saying to some fancy restaurant. Our children's hospital has a McDonald's in it that we are fine with. Our days we have appointments out of town are guaranteed to be 2+ hours in the car and at very least 45 minutes in whatever facility we are in. And those are on the low end. So not always, but often times it puts us in a place where we need to eat a meal there, or are arriving home a little later than we would usually eat. So things like gift cards to go out to eat make it easier. They are not necessary, but easier. We are not opposed to brown bagging it either, but it does make for more things to pack, and carry, which is not always the easiest or convenient. Heck, most of the people I know wouldn't be opposed to someone bringing them whatever meal just to make it easier. So there's thought number one for you.
Next is entertainment for the kiddo, especially if you have any sort of drive. Abigail doesn't have many choices since she has motion sickness. No movies, video games, or anything of that nature. We mostly give her stuffed animals and bath toys that are easily washable. But older kids especially might enjoy puzzle type books, a new book to read, travel games, etc. to keep in the car. You could also try for things that are easily shoved in a diaper bag for them to play with while being stuck in a small room waiting on a doctor. Because the waiting rooms might be full of cool toys, the tiny rooms where you wait for an eternity have nothing.
Find out if the place they are going has parking cost. The garage cost us around 5+ every time we go. They do not validate for outpatient appointments, and this isn't something you can do a gift card for, but you might specifically tell a family you want to help them out with parking cost so here's x amount for that. I'm certain they would be more than willing to set it aside for that.
Lastly is the car itself. One of Abigail's insurances will reimburse us for mileage to go to a few of her NF appointments. And that, my friends, is wonderful. However for us that still leaves us with tons of appointments that are not covered, and gas is an expense. Also when thinking about cars the mileage we put on adds up in oil changes, maintenance and tires. So maybe if you know a family that travels a lot, buy them an oil change. It might seems small or insignificant, but I bet you would be surprised how much they would appreciate it.
I want to reiterate that we are not looking for anyone to do this for us. We have a local group who has "adopted" our family and given us things like gift cards, presents for Abigail (and us) and cash from time to time. It has been a huge blessing for us, and helped us with some of the things I mentioned above. I really wanted to give ideas so that if you know a family who would benefit from something, you can go bless them.