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Back to School- the Top 10 Metro Areas for Autistic Children



Autism Speaks cites best US Cities: An autism community of over 800 partook in a new online survey led by Autism Speaks, proving that the best places to live with autistic children are in the metro.


Metropolitan areas are most autism-friendly

You might think you live in one of the best cities for autistic children, but it only became official recently, when one of the country’s most famous (and controversial) autism advocacy groups revealed the findings of a recent online poll.

Conducted through Survey Monkey, families in 48 states and the District of Columbia who utilize services for their autistic children gave their two cents, anonymously telling it like it is.

Support for Parents of Autistic Children


Deciding factors

Here are the deciding factors that influenced their vote on the best…and worst areas for children with autism:

Availability of services and resources

Hands down, what matters most to parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a selection of autism programs, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), The Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH), and Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based (DIR)

Satisfaction with the educational services

The ability of a learning program to mainstream autistic children into regular public school classrooms, provide a safe, enriching environment, and raise their IQ level was a point of contentment among most parents.

Distance from extracurricular programs

Parents who had to drive a long time in order to access after-school and weekend therapies, counseling services, or medical clinics for autism were the most dissatisfied with their living areas.  Among the worst overall states listed were Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California.

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Flexible work schedule:

Employers in metropolitan areas tend to most accommodating to parents of autistic children, particularly when work timetables sometimes conflict with their parental duties.

Access to medical services

Parents feel better knowing that quality medical care is within the vicinity, where mothers who had to drive an hour into town for a doctor appointment tended to be the most disgruntled.

Recreational areas

Family fun time is a vital, therapeutic part of every child’s life, including children on the autism spectrum.  Large cities have more opportunities for autism-friendly outings, such as sensory-friendly movie showings, public pools, children’s libraries, and handicapped parks.

6 Great Diets for Autistic Children


And the 10 best American cities to live in with autistic children are:

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Cleveland
  5. Philadelphia
  6. Boston
  7. New Jersey
  8. Minneapolis/St. Paul
  9. Seattle
  10. Milwaukee

10 Fun, Easy and Cheap Summer Activities for Autistic Kids


Related reading:

Autism Videos for Kids, Teens and Parents: You Tube’s Top 10

8 Great Tracking Devices for Autistic Kids, GPS+

Celebrities for Autism Awareness Month



Lovaas Blog – ABA Treatment for Children with Autism  – Lovaas

Best States with Services for Autism

The 10 Best Places to Live if You have Autism

‘Best’ Places to Live With Autism All in Major Metro Areas: Survey


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5 Responses to “Back to School- the Top 10 Metro Areas for Autistic Children”

  1. Darren Says:

    Well surprise, surprise…………the best place for SERVICES is in all the BIG cities …. duh

    Utopia !! not

    are these not the places with the highest rates of autism and other childhood conditions .
    Are these not the places with the MOST and WORST environmental conditions, that create these conditions

  2. Lisa Says:

    I don’t get it how can Los Angeles be the best place to raise a child with autism… yet be in California which is one of the worse states for children with autism. When I lived there it wasn’t so wonderful especially for those children who are high functioning.

  3. linda Says:

    Hi Lisa-

    According to the report I read, Los Angeles county provides a lot of services for autistic children (which you’re welcome to dispute!), but as a whole, the state of California didn’t rate well on the survey. Thanks for your reply!


  4. linda Says:

    Hi Darren-

    I don’t know that the big cities necessarily create conditions that cause autism, or if there is just a high demographic rate of families with autistic children who choose to live in big cities, because of the availability of more services. Also, I think the exact cause of autism, vis-a-vis environmental factors, is still under dispute.

    Thank you for your contribution.


  5. Autism Pundit Says:

    For many parents of children afflicted with autism, the end of summer is also the end of a brief respite from the stress and rancor of battling school district officials and staff for appropriate accommodations for your child. It is, once again, time to meet the professionals who are entrusted with your autistic child’s future. Here’s some advice from a tortured, but ultimately victorious, mother who advocated for her child every single day, of every single year (living in a country with no laws protecting the disabled). This writer’s child did, indeed, graduate high school without being tracked, and ultimately received what she required (no thanks to the bureaucrats who obstructed every single, painful step of the way). Here are the eight rules this mother lived by:

    1) Know what your child needs
    Here’s where you need to do your homework. First, make sure that the privately funded professionals working with your child have a clear idea of a) your child’s needs and b) how the school district can fulfill those needs e.g. a full-time aide with expertise in ABA, or a part-time trained aide purely for recess and lunch. Your professional(s) need to commit this to paper in an Individual Education Plan – IEP, so that even before you approach the school district for the first time, you are ready to respectfully deliver your child’s requirements as prepared by your professional, autism treatment team.

    2) Keep a journal
    Keep a journal by your phone and in your car. Every time you talk with school officials about your child and his/her needs, write it down. Everything! You need to record every promise and every interaction, noting the time and date. Your child (and your lawyer if necessary) will appreciate this written log tremendously.

    3) Know your rights!
    If you live in the United States, you have a relatively easier task of securing your child’s educational rights because the federal legislation is quite clear, and there are many advocates available to educate parents. In addition, there are books that can help you get up to speed quickly. If you are not in the United States, make it a point to find out what your child’s rights are and please e-mail me with that information since I would very much like to share the information with international visitors to this blog.

    4) Acquire local knowledge
    Talk to other parents in your school district to get an impression as to how open or close-minded the school officials are when it comes to accommodating children with autism. In addition, find out what accommodations the school district has provided other parents (but never use that knowledge against those parents)!

    5) Never let them see you cry!
    Let me repeat that: Never let them see you cry! A popular technique honed by years of practice within the special education field is for the school “experts” to befriend you, and comfort you on how difficult your life must be with a child afflicted with autism (all the while not providing for your child). This technique works particularly well with parents who are prone to becoming emotionally upset, rather than angry, because their child’s needs are not being met.

    Remember, your job is not to make friends. They don’t even have to like you: they need to respect the fact that you know your child’s rights, and you will not compromise on what s/he requires. Be careful if they seem too fond of you.

    6) Do NOT use untoward language
    No matter how angry they make you feel, no matter how disrespectful they are of you, never get into a yelling match, and never use profanity (even though it may feel good at the time). Always keep your cool! One technique of incompetent special educators is to paint the parent as an unreasonable, unstable person. Then these employees can use standard regulations to bar the parent from the school grounds. Remember, everything you say may be used against you in a hearing or court proceeding.

    7) Get an advocate
    If you are not getting anywhere on your own, it is time to find an advocate to help you get your child’s needs met. The advocate’s involvement may force the principal to put the school system’s commitment in writing in a meaningful way. If you are not successful, even with the help of an advocate, then it is time for the next step!

    8) Put your lawyer on speed dial!
    Many parents think that they cannot afford a lawyer to protect their child’s rights. I agree that litigation is expensive; however, so is private school for the next twelve years! If your child is very young and the school is not providing what is either medically necessary for your child, in countries with socialized medicine, or a Fair and Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment – FAPE in the United States, think about the damage that can be done to your child… In some cases, a few well placed letters from a lawyer with expertise in autism case law will do the trick; however, you need to be prepared to go “all the way” since bureaucrats are expert at discerning bluff from true intent.

    You may be lucky and have a school district that is one step ahead of you, ready and eager to provide your child with an unbelievably great educational experience! I’m sure that there are several school districts that have already learned (sometimes rather begrudgingly) to accommodate children with autism; however, in case your school district is still operating based on a 1950s model, be prepared to blaze the trail. Your child’s future depends upon it!

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