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Last updated: January 6, 2021 • Education Advice

Best Places to Live in the US with Special Needs Children

When seeking to find the best cities to raise a special needs child, a parent usually considers factors like the availability of affordable family entertainment options, proximity to hospitals and, of course, being within the best school districts in the county. However, for parents of special needs children, there are often more important factors involved.

For parents of special needs children, most of the time the preoccupation goes beyond mobility accessibility for wheelchairs or scooters to get around. For instance, Children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) need safer homes than usual because they tend to wander and can end up hurting themselves and others.

When looking for a home, a parent with special needs children worries about a societal prejudice that can influence their children’s education and professional development. Does that area usually employ people with disabilities?

Then of course, you have to consider education. While those with stable incomes may be able to afford private schools, most will not be able to afford the hefty tuition fees. Fortunately, there are a multiplicity of scholarships for those with disabilities, such as the Gardiner Scholarship, the McKay scholarship and many others.

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Finally, the search also needs to take in consideration a relief for you, the parent. The best cities to raise a special needs child in the U.S. are usually those which provide professional trained help in the form of physical or psychological therapy, and have at their disposal special needs programs such as special needs housing placement and special needs children inclusion programs that allow the parents to breathe a little, while also helping your children build a sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

With that in mind, our team at decided to make an article about the United States’ best cities to raise a special needs child. We’ll be looking at the places that have a great offering of special needs programs that integrate the whole family, entertainment options – like some of the Best Museums in America – that boast excellent accessibility for those with visual or auditory impairment, safe spaces for children with developmental disabilities or autism, and other options that are adapted to include special needs children as fully as possible.

Seattle, Washington

downtown seattle washington

Seattle Real Estate Agents would already gloat about their city status as one of the best cities for families, and now they can add to that the fact that it’s for all families. Thanks to the innovation boom brought by startups and the development brought by companies headquartered in the city, Seattle Real Estate Agents can tell you that special needs children barely miss out on anything when it comes to museums and other entertainment options.

These attractions are almost always well equipped with accessibility and inclusion measures such as ramps, special accommodations for the hearing- or visually-impaired and many other accessibility options. When trying to ascertain the nation’s best cities to raise a special needs child, this factor is immensely important, and Seattle delivers.

When it comes to health care, Seattle ranks as one of the best cities to raise a special needs child on this factor alone. The city is home to the modern and well equipped Center for Children with Special Needs, an impressive special needs program at the Seattle Children’s Hospital that’s been focusing on improving the health and well-being of special needs children since 1998.

Laredo, Texas

stamp with text loredo texas

If finances are your main concern, take a look at Laredo, Texas. When seeking out the best cities to raise a special needs child, it’s important to take into account employment options for the future, and other financial realities that will no doubt face them later in life.

Laredo is the #1 city with the lowest cost of living, and the #3 with the highest employment rate for people with disabilities. Disabilities require high-skilled medical attention, and Laredo is also #1 when it comes to the affordability of medical care and cost of in-home services.

However, special needs programs are not abundant, and the city, being small, is not that great accessibility wise. Laredo is growing, though; at one point in the 2000s it was the second fastest growing city in the country! It’s entirely possible that these special needs programs and accessibility measures are one of the reasons behind this growth.

Parents want their kids to succeed and have options to grow professionally, and Laredo seems to be doing great in that area. On the list of best cities to raise a special needs child, Laredo ranks near the top!

Baltimore, Maryland

baltimore maryland cityscape

While showing you around their city, Baltimore Real Estate Agents won’t hesitate to share their town’s many attractive special needs features that make it one of the best cities to raise a special needs child in the U.S.

For starters, Maryland is one among only eight states in the country with over 33% of its special needs population competitively employed. What’s more, its special needs programs, which range from special needs housing placement programs to inclusion programs for special needs children, place it very high on the list of best cities to raise a special needs child in the U.S.

Additionally, Baltimore Real Estate Agents are quick to inform you that their city is, amongst many things, home to two of the most respected special needs schools, the Kennedy Krieger School and the William S. Baer School; one of them – the Kennedy Krieger School – is widely regarded as the best in the country!

Orlando, FL

the orlando florida eye

Situated in south-central Florida, this summery southern paradise is home to more than just the acclaimed Disney World Theme Parks. With tens of thousands of tourists frequenting the town each week, special needs people are well accommodated for.

With most public spaces and services boasting extensive special needs accessibility measures and virtually every attraction and institution being equipped with similar measures, Orlando is definitely on the list of best cities to raise a special needs child.

Real estate agents in Orlando will be quick to point out another reason the city is so attractive to parents of special needs children: the climate. Orlando is home to an extremely temperate climate that is largely free of most types of inclement weather, with temperatures rarely dropping below fifty degrees Fahrenheit. For parents of those suffering debilitating disorders that may be exacerbated by cold temperatures, this city is a dream come true.

The state of Arizona

We’re not going to single out a specific city from Arizona; that’s how great this state is. And not only to special needs children; Arizona state has been focused on providing a number of special needs programs for people from various ages and backgrounds. The Arizona Department of Housing, for instance, has a specially trained office to provide special needs housing assistance for:

  • People with Physical Disabilities
  • People with Alzheimer’s Disease
  • People with AIDS/HIV
  • People with Developmental Disabilities
  • People with Serious mental illnesses, emotional disturbance or chronic substance abuse
  • Victims of Domestic Violence

Because of that, it was selected in 2015 as the overall best state by the “Case for Inclusion” initiative.

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One last thing that’s important to consider is the proximity to the family. Support is one of the most valuable things a family with special needs children require. And, of course, a special needs program can sort of fill it in from time to time, but nothing replaces both in the heart of the child and the parent, the security a relative can provide. Don’t they say that home is where the heart is?

For those with means to move to the city or state of their choice, great! The above information can provide a good starting point. But sometimes you don’t have that much money laying around and it’s a matter of staying put, with the family support nearby and working to make the surroundings adapt to your children’s special needs.

Call your state’s representatives, demand your town to follow in these best places to live in the US for families with special needs children’s footsteps. It’s not hard, and it’s definitely worth it. According to a new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15% of American children have a developmental disability, including autism and ADHD, so attention to this matter is a must. No child of this great country should grow up without all the best care possible.


4 Responses to " Best Places to Live in the US with Special Needs Children "

  1. Real Estate Agent has the best articles I have seen!

    • Teo Teo says:

      Hi, Mary! Thank you for your comment! We are glad you find our articles useful. Have you read the new article on special needs housing?

      • Kathy says:

        I have a special needs young adult she will be leaving school in 2 years, at age 21. I can then move, might you know of any Special Need communities / towns? I did put my daughter on the housing list but, it is a very long wait. I currently live in NJ. Thank you.

        • Ovidiu Tarnaceanu says:

          Hey, Kathy!

          We are glad to hear about your daughter going to school, and we hope this message finds you both well and healthy. Our agents can help you find the town/community you are looking for and by accessing the link provided you can find real estate agents in New Jersey that can help you with your housing situation.

          Also, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-866-495-4953 and we will do everything we can to assist you. Stay healthy and we are looking forward to hearing from you.

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