Best States For Autism: The Complete Guide

We put together this comprehensive guide to help you decide the best places to live if you have autism

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
May 21, 2024
min read

The Challenges That Come Along With Autism

As autism is a spectrum disorder, the majority of the people diagnosed with it have many ranges of abilities and needs. Some are more independent, although cases do exist where someone might be unable to go about their life on their own.

People with high-functioning autism might not require the same level of support.

People with high-functioning autism might not require the same level of support. Still, even they can have problems carrying out daily activities, especially in social settings that might be uncomfortable.

Some primary symptoms of high-functioning autism in kids and adults are as follows:

  • Sensory overload, especially in areas they're comfortable with
  • Poor and limited understanding of important social cues
  • A variety of different mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety
  • Tends to give in to emotions easily, especially when they're triggered in an environment they might feel is unsetting
  • Issues with verbal communication, particularly around people they don't know very well

Factors That Can Help People With Autism

There are plenty of factors families can do to help their loved ones with autism.

Outside of being present in their life and around to help them cope with day-to-day stresses, things like speech-language therapy, behavioral therapy, and nutritional therapy are highly beneficial.

Children don't have to be limited to only a single treatment, either. Therapies prescribed to anyone with ASD can change and are subject to the evolving needs of every individual. With this in mind, there shouldn't be a rush or need for parents to carry out too much at one time.

Why Choosing The Right Location is Important to Help Those With Autism

Choosing the right place to give therapy for someone with autism can make a world difference in how well they're able to manage symptoms later on in their lives. All of the states have some benefits to people with autism getting treatment, however.

For instance, there are places with a higher concentration on Applied Behavioral Analysis centers than others. A higher concentration could spell more options for parents, who may gain an additional layer of treatment that's preferential to the concerns they have.

They could meet up with BCBAs and behavior technicians capable of meeting up for sessions outside of the center, possibly in their homes or even schools. Driving distances might be shorter, creating less of a hassle for parents that must navigate their child from the centers and school, while working hours at their place of employment in between.

Finding a good location for treating an autistic child can also save parents lots of money over weeks, months, and years. In some localities, it might be easier to look for grants.

Others could be more open to a larger list of health insurance providers willing to cover a greater portion of the expenses needed to provide treatment to their young. This same is true for pediatricians, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

Although medical services in all states are well, some might have fewer patients to see and could devote more individual time to one client. Still, the same could be said for ABA centers in areas with a smaller population.

States vary in their level of resources and infrastructure, meaning that treatment for someone on the spectrum may be easier to find reputable therapists that have a good reputation within the communities they serve.

It's not uncommon for some parents to send their children to a different state for therapy in which they reside.

Different states may also offer an extended period of ABA treatment. One state, for instance, may have health providers cut off coverage for ABA after they reach the age of 18. Yet in another state, this might not occur until four years later, possibly even longer.

In every location. Not every state considers things like speech therapy to be crucial enough to warrant health providers to cover the costs until later in a person's adolescence, but some do. For those that do, less will likely need to be paid by parents since their provider could take care of the majority of treatments that other states might count as alternatives to the standard ABA care.

What to Look For in a Potential Location

One thing that parents can focus on is vocational rehab and employment programs for people with autism. Approximately 90% of adolescents with autism in some states get proper vocational rehab services, things that allow them to find a job more easily.

In states like Tennessee and New Jersey, only half of people on the spectrum receive proper vocational rehab. This shows that in some states, funding for autism and acknowledgment of people diagnosed with it can fluctuate. However, things have gotten better for most states, though some take the disorder more seriously than others, at least when it comes to the financial outreach and services provided to the autism community.

States with limited resources for autism might see parents forced to cherry-pick the kinds of services they want for their children and loved ones with autism.

This has concluded in families deciding to relocate on many occasions.

Some states, such as New Jersey, have good BCBA that can be accessed by many with autism but possess fewer services providing optimal care at the same treatment facilities.

It can be easy for parents to mistakenly believe one state offers more than another. Because each state can be beholden to a set of changing stipulations, something that's done well may not run the same way a year or even months later. Because of economic factors, what's offered now may not be attainable later on with the same level of convenience or financial benefits.

Which States Have the Most Autism Resources?

Some states that possess the most resources for children with autism are Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Connecticut. Other states also have plenty of services and resources, some of which might be subjective or requisite on the severity of their autism and the kind of services someone is seeking.

For example, one state might offer better resources for autistic people to find work as they become adults, while the same state could have limited grants and coverage for preschool children getting language therapy early on in life.

Best and Worst States for Autism

Colorado, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut typically rank high as the states providing the most benefits to autistic people in all age groups. They have good benefits programs, lots of healthcare services willing to cover most if not all prices associated with their treatment, and good therapy centers with a wide range of services.

On top of these are good doctors, pediatricians, and BCBAs that are experienced and well-qualified to carry out their duties. Many of these states also have job programs to help autistic people find suitable employment.

Is North Carolina a Good State for Autism?

North Carolina has different resources and nonprofits that families can reach out to for help with their transition to the state. Healthcare plans might or might not cover expenses related to autism, with Medicare not being accepted by all private ABA centers.

Parents are encouraged to contact local schools about the services they provide to special needs children. Some districts could have better than average services than others, or possibly maintain contact with a BCBA. As for employment, autism-related nonprofits could help as well but services may change based on the location.

Is Indiana a Good State for Autism?

In Indiana, most health insurance companies are authorized to cover medically necessary forms of treatment, such as Applied Behavior Analysis. This means that parents will likely receive good financial coverage from their child's healthcare plan, or their own.

Employment healthcare plans usually include ABA therapy as an important way to treat people on the spectrum. Medicaid can also be used, though not every state requires ABA centers to take it.

Is Arizona a Good State for Autism?

Arizona has most of the treatments that are offered in other states. It's not the best when it comes to resources available for young autistic people and those entering the workforce, and neither is it the worst. Parents can receive help with coverage through their employers and Medicaid.

ABA centers tend to focus on the essentials that autistic people should know, though whether vocational training is given can depend on the location in the state. Places such as Phoenix do offer some vocational training but at a limited scale.

Regardless, there are treatments provided later after adulthood, though ABA is typically cut off from coverage through Medicaid later in adolescence. Medicare is another alternative for adults needing to look for coverage regarding therapy later on in life.

Is New Mexico a Good State for Autism?

Although subject to the experiences of different people, New Mexico is considered on the lower end for resources provided to autistic people.

However, in 2019, the governor signed House Bill 322, expanding coverage for therapies relating to autism for children transitioning into adulthood. It also expands coverage that's required by both state-regulated and private insurers, with Medicaid included.






steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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