Finding the Best States for Autism Services

top states for autism services

Thanks in large part to the Autism Votes initiative, there has been a near domino-effect of states pushing for autism insurance reform. Missouri, California, Oregon and Virginia are the most recent states that have made headlines in the past few weeks related to this issue.

In light of the current legislative efforts to have autism-related services covered by insurance, many parents and families are continuing to seek out what states are the most "autism friendly." 

Nearly four years ago, our site published a list that included what we felt at the time, was the top states to live in for autism support and services.  The list was compiled from extensive research efforts, but has since become outdated.  

As we have found over the years, the problem with rating states is that circumstances are often very fluid and  things can change very quickly. Additionally, services can be vastly different from county-to-county or city-to-city. As such, any "top" lists are subject to flaws.

Then there is the issue of subjectivity. What was found is that two families residing in the same state can have two vastly different experiences.  As a result, one may tell you the state is terrific, while the other will say how horrible it is.

If anyone is looking to relocate to a state that will be best suited for your child with autism, it is suggested that you do extensive research and not rely solely upon an article, news report or limited information.  Talk to parents, educators, and caregivers who reside in the state and get your hands on as much information as you can.

Probably the most beneficial resource about individual states and how they relate to autism can be found on the Easter Seals website.  They have a tremendous amount of information compiled on each state that will be extremely beneficial to potential and existing residents who are in need of autism services. 

The Easter Seals list can be an excellent start to your research, but like anything else, should not be solely relied upon when you make a decision on where to live.  Hopefully, in the near future, we will see sweeping federal legislative changes that address autism so everyone, regardless of where they live, will be on a level playing field.  Until then, be sure to fully equip yourself with knowledge and information to give your child the best future possible.

Click Here to View All the State Profiles for Autism Resources and Services

38 Responses to Finding the Best States for Autism Services

  1. Pamela Alllen says:

    I currently live in Florida, my daughter is 21, has autism and epilepsy, severely mentally retarded now. She has been on medwaiver for over 10 years, turned 21 in June and was not transitioned to adult services due to budget/spending freeze…so now she has no services and I am struggling to pay for care that allows me to work my 40 hours per week. WE will be moving but I am looking for where. I am an ARNP in psychiatry, have over 30 years nursing experience and do not believe I will not have difficulty finding a job but finding care for my daughter so I can continue to earn a living (food, clothing and shelter) is a tremendous challenge. I would love to have any feedback, would rather not live too far north as she also has difficulty with cold intolerance. Thanks for any feedback/input!

  2. Laura Soltow says:

    I have a five-year-old son with autism, we live in Pittsburgh PA. Pittsburgh has the best autism services I have found in the US. Also, Pittsburgh has major availability for health care professionals.It is cold here for a few months but in my opinion the move would be beneficial for you and your daughter.

  3. Kristi says:

    I love the map, but what do the colors mean? Where’s the key?

  4. Destiny says:

    We also live in the Pittsburgh area and it really does have the best autism services and programs available.

  5. Kristi says:

    Can anyone comment on the autism services (especially those provided by public schools) in Austin Texas or Little Rock, AK? We are contemplating a move. Thanks!

  6. jim says:

    Was thinking to moving to pittsburgh….from WV. What school districts would you suggest?

  7. Wendy says:

    I heard New Jersey is one of the Top 10 states. Is this true?

  8. David says:

    We relocated to Sacramento, CA from the Midwest in 2004 in order to get our (then 8 year old) daughter autism services. The state/city in the Midwest where we lived didn’t even know how to spell ‘autism’. Prior to relocating to Sacramento we did a lot of research and decided on Sacramento (besides the autism services it fit well with other family needs at the time).

    Our daughter, now 16, has excellent services…an in-home ABA program about 30 hrs a week (an agency with aids work with our daughter in-home), 2.5 hours a day in a very good special needs class with a personal one-on-one aid at an excellent public high school, about 24 hours a quarter of respite, bi-weekly speech therapy, and ‘pull-up’ supplies.

    Please note that we only got all this by hiring an advocate who KNOWS the system, regs., laws, and is an awesome hard core bulldog negotiator that won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. We basically pay her about $1,200 year for her services….but we probably get around $100K in services annually.

    Every quarter IEP meeting has been a challenge since we moved here. The school district and state (how her program is funded) are well trained on how to reject, slash, cut, & eliminate services. So far we (us & our advocate, lots of prayers) have been successful in obtaining and maintaining a premium autism program for our daughter. However, each quarter it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the services—big battles; especially now with CA’s pitiful economy. We are again getting very bad vibes about an upcoming Jan 2013 IEP meeting.

    We know of MANY families with an autistic child who live in the same school district and metro area who hardly have any services to speak of. One MUST know how to navigate the SYSTEM, and be VERY good at doing so. We have been blessed.

  9. David says:

    How may i learn more about the map? Colors? Legend? Date? thanks

  10. Dee says:

    The link to the key for the map doesn’t work. It comes up saying the page cannot be found.

  11. Autism Key says:

    That link was taken down by, which is part of Autism Speaks. The old info has been consolidated into the following page:

    To find out what the colors mean, scroll down on that page.

    Sorry for the confusion. This is precisely the reason why I am not a big fan of linking out to third-party sites for resources.

  12. yahnee brandin says:

    Iam mother of four single looking in Raleigh NC to relocating any suggestions.

  13. Bash says:

    Would you please name the Autism schools, centres in Pittsburgh??

  14. jennifer falco says:

    I am thinking of relocating to get better services for my children. My daughter is autistic and my son has moderate cerebral palsy. I am unsure of where the best services are offered, but we have been contemplating between the Chicago suburbs, New Jersey, or Florida. Any information or links would be helpful. Thanks everyone.

  15. paul says:

    Pittsburgh is great we are in North Allegeheny and it is better than great. I may be moving to AZ (Scottsdale) is there a MA program there like the loophole system in PA?

  16. David says:

    Have a potential job offer in Louisiana (Lafayette), but my 1st grade son is in an autism classroom in VA and I am worried about lack of and quality of services in LA. The other consdieration is that the LA Dept. of Ed was rated 49 out of 50 for overall performance/accountability in 2013…..this scares me a bit.

    Thank you to anyone who might be able to give some advice or share their experience!!!

  17. pat viscosi says:

    I have heard that Ma has very very good services if you can stand the cold weather there. In So Cal, we had to fight for everything, and the districts prefer to sue rather than help. It is sad, but the weather is great. Getting an advocate is the best way to go.

  18. DeeDee says:

    Don’t come to NW Arkansas they don’t offer anything, but paid for o/t and speech and the schools ignore their kids and people have seen some things that everyone needs to stay away from. My son- 3 bad elementary schools and 2 bad ones 45 minutes from where I live. Most bad things happen when the parent leaves. It all really good leaving in the morning until a mother does several drop in through the year. My experience and others I’ve talked to.

    We are looking to move to Florida. My 10 year old son has medium Autism and ADHD. I want him to go to an all autism school so he gets ABA teachings. He really benefits from that kind of teaching. I want to stay out of the Miami area. Does anyone know of any schools? My husband passed away of cancer and I’m so overwhelmed by needing to move. I was going to do this before he passed anyway it’s just this adds to the stress.

  19. Rebekah says:

    Is this still updated? We are in Nevada and need to move to a state that has better autism resources for our 3 year old daughter, but can’t afford the cost of living in Southern California. She was diagnosed in another state before we moved back to Nevada and ever since we came back it’s been a nightmare trying to get her into therapy that she already had in another state. We are looking at Arizona, California and anywhere else that she can get treatment (and no offense to school districts but she needs one-on-one therapy). IF ANYONE CONSIDERS MOVING TO NEVADA AND HAS A CHILD WITH AUTISM DO NOT MOVE HERE ESPECIALLY IF YOU WILL NEED MEDICAID and don’t have full Medicaid. Amerigroup is horrible here, absolutely horrible. Our daughter was approved for Social Security while Amerigroup kept denying her for therapy services and apparently they do that to almost everyone (according to “My Left Foot” therapy center in Vegas).

  20. Keri says:

    Hi DeeDee! I hope you check back here if you haven’t made the move yet. My family is also considering moving in the near future to Florida (from New Jersey). We want to put our two boys into an autism charter school because we are tired of fighting home districts for out of district placement. We are looking at FACE (Florida Autism Center of Excellence) in Tampa (there are two campuses). I hope this helps and I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband. Prayers for a smooth transition for your family.

  21. Stanley Drew says:

    Would the Philadelphia area be a good place for Autism services or Delaware? Looking to relocate soon…..V/R Stanley. ?..

  22. Marilyn says:

    Florida omg it’s the worst state for everything because this state don’t have federal taxes that’s why everyone are screw with this state, for services speech occupational services and Aba sucks don’t go to Florida please I’m looking to move out

  23. Valerie Brooks says:

    We live in Las Vegas now and LOVE the services! (yes I am comparing to NC which is top 10 worst states to live in for Autism) We got right into all the programs we needed, already have been approved for grants, got approved right away for SSI, people are SO much more understanding with my kids, and the schools have been a delight to work with as well. I could not be happier: )

  24. farzana says:

    my 23 yrs old autistic son got his work permit through deffered action . can someone please tel me he will get medicaid ? if yes what kind of sevices he will get in houston. thanks

  25. farzana says:

    my 23 yrs old autistic son got his work permit through deffered action . can someone please tel me he will get medicaid or no ? if yes what kind of services he will get in houston. thanks

  26. Paul Williams says:

    I am looking to move to North Florida. Around Pensecola to the Eglin AFB area. My son is 18 and has Autism. Any suggestions for good schools?

  27. Amanda says:

    Florida Autism Center of Excellence is not reliable. We sent our 4yr old ASD son there last year (the Zephyrhills campus) and it closed its doors after just one year and after looking into transferring him to the Tampa campus, we were notified that they are also losing their funding after this year and are in jeopardy of closing down.

    Tampa had an amazing school, the Sydney school, which is where we wanted to send our son next year, we visited their campus and were just blown away by everyone and all of the services they offer, but they too shut down just last month due to lack of funding–in other words, yes, there are a handful of charter schools here in FL, but nothing is reliable, so if you’re thinking about public schools, definitely try to be in the Pasco county system, they have several really great schools that offer classrooms for kids on the spectrum at all different levels, the ones we have toured that have a great reputation are Seven Oaks Elementary, Lake Myrtle Elementary & Longleaf Elementary.

  28. Ahmad Aldarazi says:

    Looking for best autism centre in the US.

  29. Aw, this was a very good post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t sedem to get anything

  30. Peg says:

    My grandson has Autisum he is 2 and a half , we live in Florida stay away . My daughter has tried for the last six months to get abs, the people that come to the interview are the bottom of the barrel. The waiting list is crazy, also the Doctors suck here. We are looking to relocate ourselves.

  31. The Forgotten Autistic says:

    I live in NH, and the services for people with autism has a high focus on work programs. I’d love to work, but I’m also suffering with other things “missing”. They could care less. Many of the programs downstate are “internships” – why should the individual not get compensated and the employers get free labor, and then throw the adult on the curb and make them find a paid job on their own? How great is that for “progress” in this state?

    This advocacy groups in state doesn’t care about the rest of the country and is very insulated, i.e. narrow minded about themselves. I’d love to relocate to a better state in this country (idealy in the Northeast – wouldn’t trade it for the world) that can provide services and I can be with everyone my own age. I’m 27, and yes I’ll flat out say the system and the leadership and the system cares about those bratty little chidren! ABA doesn’t work for adults; and many 27 year olds DO NOT LIVE IN THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE! So how am I supposed to interact with peers and have appropriate relationships if they LIVE SO FAR AWAY and theres mostly teenagers, children and the elderly and the disabled people my own age?

    The Medicaid system is going to change in a couple years to a “managed care” or HMO like system for day services – good luck to that. I’d want to be out by then. Hell will break loose in the Granite State


    The Forgotten Autistic.
    Twentysomething adult, borderline functioning and progressively hopeless

  32. DeeDee says:

    Hello Kerri, I’m hoping you check back. You mentioned you were moving from New Jersey to Florida. I’m considering Tampa now and was wondering how FACE turned out for your boys? My home is still for sale as I think heavily to where I am going. I’m marking my home down as soon as I decide. Remember a school and teachers can seem great, poker faces, be sure and do your drop in’s often. It took me a full school year to catch things in action at two different schools where I live. A full year!!! I did things like forgetting lunch boxes. I just had a feeling and they seemed to have a hidden pissed off attitude. I felt something was wrong. The main teacher was really good and convincing and she turned out to be a different person. Anyway, I hope you read this. I’m also considering St.Paul/Minn burrr!!!

  33. DeeDee says:

    The person that was wondering about a school in Little Rock. There is Jonesborro, Arkansas that has… I believe it’s a charter school. I haven’t heard anything about it. People in AR are pouring out of here with their kids with autism because there is nothing to offer, according to an important person I once talked to. I live in NW Arkansas, close to Missouri, maybe it’s different down that way. Jonesborro is close to Little Rock.

  34. DeeDee says:

    Paul, I hope you read this. I’m thinking of moving to Pensylvania, MN or Florida. I was wondering about North Allegehencey? How autistic is your child in comparison with mine. My 11 year old has medium autism/adhd. You said it worked well with your child in that district so I was wondering if they’re the same level possibly. My son can talk if I keep working with him. He needs a good teacher and not to be ignored like our school district. He was going to a public school, which I don’t like the idea of now. I would like for it to be all autism for less stress on him.

  35. naomi says:

    I`m thinking of relocating. I am in kentucky but my son needs more stimulation near a larger city.
    The services here are unhelpful now that`s he is 21.
    My son needs constant care. And the insurance he is on disqualifies
    him from programs. I would have to change his insurance but many of doctors arn`t carriers of that one.
    Any suggestion?

  36. DeeDee says:

    I don’t know a thing about Michigan. I don’t know if they’re good or bad, so do research, but I did read that a child can go to school until they’re 26 years old. My child is young so I haven’t crossed this bridge yet, but did read this.

  37. DeeDee says:

    The Forgotten Autistic, I’m taking a lot of English in college and I’m noticing your writing is really good the way you put your paragraphs and thoughts together. I’m taking classes since my son became autistic because of a chemical reaction to a drug called versed. Anyway, my classes are online. I was thinking maybe you could get some idea’s to something different for a career and take college online plus you won’t have the hassle of people if you’re not a people person. Think if what you pick in classes if it would be people oriented or not. Just thought I’d throw an idea your way.

  38. denise says:

    I have a 5 year old autistic son, and we are currently stationed in Colorado Springs, Co. The resources are great and widely available. If you have Medicaid they have the program called “Parent CNA” basically- you will get paid for caring for your child. They cover ABA and a lot of other services like music therapy. Denver is about 45-1hr. drive away and they have great resources there too plus an autistic school. It’s worth looking into.

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Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
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