When parents are looking for a place for the family to call home, the discussion often revolves around high-quality schools, nearby parks, and an easy commute. But when the family includes a child with special needs, accessing the care their child needs may take precedence over other factors. There is no one best place for all families of children with special needs, but families should consider services for disabled children when choosing a home.
Where do the Children Play
Kids with special needs are still kids, and will want what all kids want: a chance to play. And play time can help everyone unwind after a long day of tests and therapies.According to the results of a survey conducted by Autism Speaks, "Of those happy with their community, 69 percent said recreational services were available for their child." Use the NPR app, "Playgrounds for Everyone" to find playgrounds that are accessible for kids who use mobility devices. Many children's museums offer accommodations for mobility devices, services for visually impaired or hearing impaired children, and for children with developmental disabilities. Universal parks with access for all children are popping up around the nation too. These parks provide physical access to children in wheelchairs, include features such as sensory walls.
Top Cities for Services
Families who are satisfied with the services in their area report having access to high-quality medical, educational and therapeutic services, and most who are satisfied have to drive less than an hour to access these services. Start your search near top schools for children with special needs, or top-tier medical facilities that have specialty clinics that can address your child's needs. Top cities for accessibility of services include Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Sioux Falls and Philadelphia.
Top States for Medical Care and Inclusion
United Cerebral Palsy studies the accessibility of medical care for people with disabilities. Several states offer comprehensive services. These include Kansas, which works to integrate medical and behavioral health services, and Massachusetts, which works to expand services available to those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. United Cerebral Palsy considers Arizona to be the best performing state in its 2013 report, "The Case for Inclusion." Other top states include New Hampshire, Oregon, and Michigan.
Sweat the Small Stuff
Ultimately, the best place for your family to live should include factors that are unique to your family. Los Angeles may receive rave reviews, but it may not be the best choice for a family that doesn't drive. And children who cannot tolerate layers of clothing for sensory reasons, may dread winters in Denver. Proximity of relatives, attractions catering to your child's interests, and more should guide your search for the perfect place for your special family to call home.