10 Best Cities and States to Live in for Autism Services (2023)

Autism services are not the same in every city and state and on this list of the best cities and states to live in for autism services, you can see which cities and states are amongst the best when it comes to assisting the needs of autistic persons. Among many other difficult decisions, families with autistic children also have to carefully choose where to live. The environment where you live will decide the variety of schools and therapy centers you can choose from for your child.

Having a child with autism spectrum disorder can put a lot of stress on the whole family due to the child’s specific needs and having access to therapy and counseling centers as well as schools for autistic children is of topmost importance. In fact, early intervention programs will improve child’s behavioral symptoms from early childhood (as soon as ASD is officially diagnosed) and maximize the chances of a child being able to attend mainstream school. Kristi Oldham, program director for the Lovaas Institute Midwest Headquarters, confirms that 67% of children who complete the ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) program that starts before the age of 3½ can expect the “best outcome” (defined as a child who attends mainstream school without any additional support). Interestingly enough, this is for children with autism, regardless of where they are on the autism spectrum. This speaks more than enough for the effectiveness of ABA, which is a recommended therapy for persons with autism spectrum disorder. If you live in New York City, or plan to move somewhere where your child can attend ABA programs and schools which incorporate ABA in their everyday activities, we advise you to take a look at our listof Best NYC Schools for Children with Autism.

10 Best Cities and States to Live in for Autism Services (1)


With this being said, the importance of the availability of proper care for autistic people is of utmost importance. A couple of years ago, CNN published a story about a family who had to move from one state to another because their autistic child could not get the proper care. Because the insurance did not cover ABA, the family was spending $750-$1000 weekly for their son’s treatment. Unfortunately, when it comes to autism, not all states are equal. Autism Speaks identified 26 states that include ABA in their coverage (in addition to the District of Columbia): Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

In order to create this list of 10 best cities and states to live in for autism services, I used a couple of very useful sources. I focused primarily on a report published by Autism Speaks which lists states with autism insurance reform laws, states that are not pursuing insurance reform legislation and those with endorsed autism insurance reform bills as well as their report on which states cover Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy. CNN’s article about best and worst places for autism services was also very useful. Also, I’ve decided to take into consideration personal experience of parents with autistic children and I found out that there were a lot of negative responses about states which were often mentioned as states (and cities) with good autism services. To see their opinions I visited: City-data and Quora. I also took into consideration an article published by Live Strong, which focused on the best cities for autism services. After I singled out most frequently mentioned cities and states by parents and above-mentioned websites, I crosschecked them with reports published by Autism Speaks. Half of the list focuses on best states for autism services and half on best cities. I’ve consulted National Conference of State Legislature’s section in regards to State Laws on Autism and State Insurance. States that cover more expenses (larger amounts of money provided) and for the longer time period (some states for example offer coverage for children up to 15 years old and some until they are 21) are higher on the list. Cities are ranked according to the rankings provided by Autism Speaks. Top 5 cities out of their top 10 are ranked on our list. Let’s take a look at the list of best cities and states to live in for autism services:

(Video) How Phoenix became the most autistic-friendly city in the world

10. New Hampshire

Signed in July, 2010 “Connor’s Law”, includes treatment for persons with autism spectrum disorder. Maximum benefit for ABA is $36,000 for children ages 0-12, and $27,000 for children ages 13-21. New Hampshire is very active when it comes to research and education about ASD. New Hampshire Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder published a booklet on findings and recommendations about ASD in the state. They discuss plans for future improvements of autism services from the financial aspect as well as improving living conditions for persons with autism. This means that the state of autism services in New Hampshire is supposed to be improving continuously which is great news for those who are looking for the best state to live in for autism services.

9. Michigan

We are continuing our list of best cities and states to live in for autism services withMichigan that became the 30th state to enact autism insurance reform in April, 2012. Non-profit, for-profit, commercial and HMO health insurance companies in Michigan are obliged to provide coverage for autism services including diagnosis and treatment of autism through 18 years of age. Coverage includes ABA, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric, psychological and other services. Annual coverage is set to $50,000 per children through age 6, $40,000 for children ages 7 to 12 and $30,000 for children ages 13 to 18. The full profile of Michigan is available on this link.

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8. New Jersey

According to the CDC’s report, 1 in 45 people in New Jersey, the next on our list ofbest cities and states to live in for autism services are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This number is huge, especially if you compare it to the national average which is 1 in 68 people. Accordingly, New Jersey has developed an autism service network for autistic persons and their family. Autism Family Services of New Jersey is offering advice and recommendations about programs, schools, therapies and residential programs for persons with ASD in New Jersey. If you are planning to move, we advise you to take a look at their website. Autism insurance reform laws were enacted in New Jersey in August 2009. It includes health benefits coverage for screening and diagnosing autism and treatments according to doctor’s prescription. Covered treatments include occupational and speech therapy, physical therapy and evidence-based intervention therapies. You can take a look at the full New Jersey profile on Easter Seals.

(Video) Autism Spectrum Disorder: 10 things you should know

10 Best Cities and States to Live in for Autism Services (4)

Pixabay/Public Domain

7. Massachusetts

Autism insurance reform laws were enacted in August 2014. Despite the fact that the laws were enacted only a couple of years ago, Autism Speaks rated Massachusetts as one of the best cities and states to live in for autism services. In addition to autism service coverage, a law enacted in 2014 creates a commission (consisting out of 35 members) in order to address the long-term needs of an individual with autism spectrum disorder. The commission also estimates the costs for supporting autistic people of all ages and ABA therapy is included as well. Massachusetts Autism Commission, created in 2010, also investigates various services and support systems which can enable autistic individuals to reach their full potential, independent living and various job opportunities. Take a look at the full profile for Massachusetts and find out why this could be a perfect state to live when it comes to autism services.

6. California

Autism insurance reform laws were enacted in October 2011. According to this law, every health care plan that provides hospital, surgical or any other medical coverage should also provide coverage for behavioral treatment (including ABA) for persons with ASD. The law does not include a specific amount of money per individual nor the age gap. To find out more about autism services please follow this link.

10 Best Cities and States to Live in for Autism Services (6)

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(Video) Best Places to Live for Autism

5. Los Angeles, CA

According to data, published by Autism Society of Los Angeles, one-third of all people with autism in California live in Los Angeles County. This organization focuses on improving all aspects of life for autistic persons in Los Angeles including integration and inclusion into the general community. Their website is very simple to navigate and it enables you to search for specific programs such as: schools (public and private), medical programs, therapies, camps, etc. Possibilities for children and adults in Los Angeles are numerous. L.A. Magazine published a list of schools for children with autism which also testifies to the extent of autism services in this city. If you live, or plan moving to Los Angeles your choices will be everything but scarce.

10 Best Cities and States to Live in for Autism Services (7)


4. Philadelphia, PA

Autism Speaks rated Philadelphia as one of the cities that are the best cities and states to live in for autism services. If you take a look at the list which is annually updated by Karen Krivit at Philadelphia Elwyn, you can see how dedicated this city is to improving living standards for persons with autism and their families. They have support groups, preschool and school programs for autism, various centers for behavior evaluations, early intervention therapies, etc. All you need to do is to go through this document and find what you need. It contains contact information as well as information in regards to insurance coverage for certain programs.

3. Boston, MA

Boston is another city that was chosen by Autism Speaks as one of the best cities and states to live in for autism services. The reason why Boston is in top 10 best places to live in for autism services is, among other things, proximity and access to services and education available in both, public and private schools. You can also read a personal experience of Natalie Lambert, mother of two autistic sons. She was absolutely amazed by the services provided for her sons as well as financial coverage.

2. Chicago, IL

Autism Speaks ranking placed Chicago at a high, number two spot on our list of best cities and states to live in for autism services. Chicago offers a variety of programs for people with autism spectrum disorder including medical therapy support systems, private and public school, early-intervention programs, clinical counseling, etc. Huffington Post published an interesting article on summer camps in Chicago area designed especially for children with autism. Summer camps present a great opportunity for children with ASD to continue with their therapy and have fun at the same time during school breaks. This is only one of the fun activities that Chicago offers to autistic people. They have Sensory Friendly films where the lights are turned on, the volume is lowered and those who feel the need to walk around during the movie are allowed to do so. You can take a look at some of the activities on this link. Besides school programs and various therapies, Chicago offers alternatives for the whole family as well as autistic individuals. Visiting cinema, museums or swimming lessons designed especially for autistic individuals can be a huge plus when you are choosing a perfect place to live in for autism services.

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Pixabay/Public Domain

1. New York City, NY

New York City takes the number one spot deservingly. Just like other cities on this list, it offers public and private schools, numerous programs that offer speech and language therapies, occupational therapies, ABA and what not. There are a lot of Nest programs, where students with autism study along with children who are not on the spectrum and these programs are located in various public schools across the city. There are abundant cultural programs, museums and sensory gyms and playgrounds designed for children with autism. New York City presents a perfect blend where you can find all the professional help and advice you need as well as places where your child and the whole family can have fun. This list of the best cities and states to live in for autism services can serve as a guideline to what you need to look for if you are planning to move in order to get better autism services. We hope that the information provided on this list will be of some use for you and your family.

(Video) Once a non-verbal child with autism, Ava hopes her story will help other kids with special needs


10 Best Cities and States to Live in for Autism Services? ›

The 10 most supportive states for raising a child with autism:
  • Colorado.
  • Massachusetts.
  • New Jersey.
  • Connecticut.
  • Maryland.
  • New York.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Wisconsin.
Apr 19, 2022

Which state has the best services for adults with autism? ›

As a result, some states provide generously for adults with autism while others are less than generous. According to Autism Speaks, for example, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, and Florida are less likely than states like Arizona and New Jersey to offer top-level services for adults.

What is the best city for autism? ›

– The greater New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Boston metropolitan areas are among the 10 best places in America to live for people who have autism, according to the results of an online survey released today.

What is the best environment for a child with autism? ›

Create a Cool-Down Room

Cover windows with plexiglass and keep furniture away from windows to prevent your child from easily climbing out. Make sensory objects, relaxing music, and other calming items readily available.

What state has the best special needs program? ›

The 10 best states for living with a disability
  • Massachusetts. Massachusetts tops our index thanks in large part to the fact that it has the second-best livability score and the fourth-best health care score. ...
  • Pennsylvania. ...
  • Vermont. ...
  • North Dakota. ...
  • Maryland. ...
  • West Virginia. ...
  • Delaware. ...
  • Washington.
Dec 17, 2021

What is the best state to live in with a special needs child? ›

According to an analysis by consumer finance website WalletHub, Overland Park, Kansas tops the chart as the best place to live for the disability community.

Is Florida good for autism? ›

The state has done a commendable job of providing money for autism research. Sixteen states have already passed legislation to improve how autistic people are treated; however, Florida lags behind other states in the way it handles autism.

Where do autistic adults live? ›

Many adults with autism live at home or with a friend or family member. When additional support is needed, in-home services may include a companion, homemaking/housekeeping, therapy and other health services, or personal care.

What country has the best services for autism? ›

  • Netherlands.
  • New Zealand.
  • Germany.
  • United Kingdom.
  • Austria.
  • Uruguay.
  • Spain.
  • Canada.
Jun 10, 2016

What is the best autism school in the US? ›

  • Haugland Learning Center, Columbus.
  • The Autism Academy of Learning, Toledo.
  • Camphill Special School, Glenmoore.
  • Pace School, Pittsburgh.
  • Spectrum Charter School, Inc., Monroeville.
  • Groden Center, Providence.
  • Monarch School, Houston.
  • Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA), Charlottesville.
Jan 6, 2022

How long can a child with autism live? ›

One of the most important investigations of recent years revealed that average life expectancy of a person with severe autism is 39.5 years, rising to only 58 years for those with high-functioning autism, or Asperger syndrome.

How do you make an autistic person feel better? ›

Communication and interaction tips for ASD
  1. Be patient. ...
  2. Teach the child how to express anger without being too aggressive. ...
  3. Be persistent but resilient. ...
  4. Always stay positive. ...
  5. Ignore irritating attention-getting behavior. ...
  6. Interact through physical activity. ...
  7. Be affectionate and respectful. ...
  8. Show your love and interest.

Does nature help autism? ›

Children with autism also benefit from connecting with nature. Through nature, children gain important skills while learning how to care for living things and their environment. Nurture your child's growth and development by allowing her to explore nature.

Does swimming help autistic child? ›

Swimming lessons not only can help to reduce the risk of accidental drowning, but they can also bring more joy, confidence, and coordination into the lives of autistic children.

What state has the best services for the disabled? ›

For the fifth year in a row, Arizona has taken the top spot in a ranking of the best states for disability services. The other states in the top five are Vermont, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Hawaii. The rankings have been provided by United Cerebral Palsy's Case for Inclusion annual report.

Where do most adults with developmental disabilities live? ›

Here are some of the most popular housing options for adults with special needs.
  • Living with Parents or Other Family Members. ...
  • Section 8 Housing. ...
  • Group Homes / Supportive Housing. ...
  • Assisted Living Facilities. ...
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities (Nursing Homes) ...
  • Special Needs Trust Ownership of a Home / Payment of Rent.

Where is the best place to live disability? ›

The 10 Best Cities for People With Disabilities
  • South Burlington, Vermont.
  • Huntington Beach, California.
  • Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Denver, Colorado.
  • Overland Park, Kansas.
  • San Francisco, California.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Oct 2, 2020

Why does New Jersey have the highest autism rate? ›

New Jersey is known for excellent clinical and educational services for ASD, so the state's higher rates are likely due to more accurate or complete reporting based on education and health care records, the researchers said.

Is Arizona a good state for autism? ›

Autism Travel

Mesa, Arizona is the first-ever Autism Certified City in the United States.

Does autism diagnosis qualify for SSI? ›

A disability applicant with a diagnosis of autism and limitations in communication or social functioning may be eligible for benefits. Children with severe autism can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if their families meet the income and asset limit requirements.

Is autism a disability in Florida? ›

Yes. Individuals must have been diagnosed with a developmental disability at 8 years of age or younger to be eligible. Coverage is extended to those older that 18 as long as they are in high school. Coverage for the treatment of autism is subject to a maximum annual benefit of $36,000 and a lifetime limit of $200,000.

What benefits do autistic adults get? ›

If you have an official diagnosis of autism, you are able to seek protection and accommodations in all federally funded programs – employment, housing, community living, etc. – under this law.

What is Level 3 autism? ›

ASD level 3 is characterized by severe challenges in social communication as well as extremely inflexible behavior. Children with level 3 autism will be nonverbal or have the use of only a few words of intelligible speech. Initiation of social interaction is very limited, as well as response to others.

What percentage of autistic adults are married? ›

Nearly half of adults with autism live with a family member and about one in five is unemployed, according to a new analysis1. Only 5 percent have ever been married. The findings suggest that many middle-aged adults with autism have little independence.

What state has the best benefits for autism? ›

From the research carried out, it was also found that all except three states within the top 10 were on the west coast of America. California ranked number one for being most supportive in terms of grants, state laws, and ADDM inclusion. California is currently the only state that has made services and supports for ...

Which country has the best autism services? ›

  • Netherlands.
  • New Zealand.
  • Germany.
  • United Kingdom.
  • Austria.
  • Uruguay.
  • Spain.
  • Canada.
Jun 10, 2016

Is Florida good for autism? ›

The state has done a commendable job of providing money for autism research. Sixteen states have already passed legislation to improve how autistic people are treated; however, Florida lags behind other states in the way it handles autism.

Is Arizona a good state for autism? ›

Autism Travel

Mesa, Arizona is the first-ever Autism Certified City in the United States.


1. What’s the best country to live in?
2. School System Ranks By State | Special Education Decoded
(Special Education Resource)
3. What it’s like to live as an adult with autism | Your Morning
(CTV Your Morning)
4. Adult Autism Assessment
(Purple Ella)
5. Wellbeing for Children: Healthy Habits
6. Psychiatrist Breaks Down Mental Health Scenes From Movies & TV | GQ
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