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Which States Are Most Supportive for Raising a Child with Autism?

June 24, 2021


Here at Autism Parenting Magazine we understand that making decisions for any child is difficult, but making a decision for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can add an extra-layer of difficulty. We’re always looking for ways to give our readers as much valuable information as possible. We know deciding where to live with a child with ASD can be extremely overwhelming, so we’ve created a guide of the most supportive, and least supportive states. 

Which States Are Most Supportive for Raising a Child with Autism?

To conduct our research we looked at the best states in the USA for resources and merged these with the states that offer the most in terms of insurance mandates, grants, and inclusion of the ADDM Network. We found that Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are the most supportive states overall. On the other end of the scale, West Virginia, New Mexico, and Tennessee are the least supportive. 

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The Most Supportive States for Raising a Child With Autism

Around 1 in 54 children in America have been diagnosed with ASD₁, that’s approximately 135,050₂ under 18s in the USA, which demonstrates a large proportion of families in need of support. When raising a child with autism, there are various factors to take into consideration, from resources including schools and sensory gyms, to the monetary and legal aid parents may be provided with, all of which change state by state. 

We created this guide for parents and families to help make any decision-making processes easier. Of course, some families may need resources more than they need insurance support, or visa versa, so this list may not be the perfect option for every family. Please also note that data is always changing and new clinics are opened regularly, so this list should only be used as a basic guide. However, we hope it provides some insight and gives parents useful information which they can build on.

The 10 most supportive states for raising a child with autism:

  1. Colorado
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Jersey 
  4. Connecticut 
  5. Maryland
  6. New York 
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Rhode Island 
  10. Montana

The 10 least supportive states for raising a child with autism:

  1. West Virginia 
  2. New Mexico
  3. Tennessee 
  4. Nevada 
  5. Kentucky
  6. Oklahoma 
  7. South Carolina
  8. Nebraska
  9. Mississippi
  10. Maine

For more detailed information, please see the tables below which break down the number of facilities in each of the above 20 states, and where they rank in terms of insurance & ADDM inclusion₅. 

Which States Are Most Supportive for Raising a Child with Autism?

Most Supportive

Colorado

Insurance coverageRanks 4th
Specialist schools5
ABA therapy providers17
Sensory gyms2

New Jersey

Insurance coverageRanks 7th
Specialist schools81
ABA therapy providers16
Sensory gyms3

Maryland

Insurance coverageRanks 6th
Specialist schools11
ABA therapy providers13
Sensory gyms3

Pennsylvania

Insurance coverageRanks 14th
Specialist schools22
ABA therapy providers14
Sensory gyms11

Rhode Island

Insurance coverageRanks 29th
Specialist schools57
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms6

Massachusetts

Insurance coverageRanks 2nd
Specialist schools17
ABA therapy providers16
Sensory gyms2

Connecticut

Insurance coverageRanks 12th
Specialist schools20
ABA therapy providers12
Sensory gyms1

New York

Insurance coverageRanks 10th
Specialist schools49
ABA therapy providers20
Sensory gyms16

Wisconsin

Insurance coverageRanks 19th
Specialist schools17
ABA therapy providers7
Sensory gyms4

Montana

Insurance coverageRanks 48th
Specialist schools4
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms1

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Least Supportive

West Virginia

Insurance coverageRanks 49th
Specialist schools6
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms0

Tenessee

Insurance coverageRanks 45th
Specialist schools10
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms1

Kentucky

Insurance coverageRanks 32nd
Specialist schools21
ABA therapy providers5
Sensory gyms2

South Carolina

Insurance coverageRanks 30th
Specialist schools8
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms2

Mississippi

Insurance coverageRanks 15th
Specialist schools23
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms2

New Mexico

Insurance coverageRanks 50th
Specialist schools11
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms0

Nevada

Insurance coverageRanks 43rd
Specialist schools3
ABA therapy providers8
Sensory gyms0

Oklahoma

Insurance coverageRanks 35th
Specialist schools8
ABA therapy providers7
Sensory gyms1

Nebraska

Insurance coverageRanks 23rd
Specialist schools24
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms0

Maine

Insurance coverageRanks 13th
Specialist schools18
ABA therapy providersUnder 5
Sensory gyms1

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, an east coast state, 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 disabilities an entitlement. However, due to its lack of resources in ratio to its population, it was not included as an overall best state. 

Although Rhode Island scraped its way into the number nine spot, it is worth noting that it has one of the lowest Medicaid rates. Meanwhile, (after APM’s initial analysis took place), New Mexico recently increased its Medicaid rate by around 30%.

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The Most Supportive States for Raising a Child With Autism

The original research carried out to analyze which states were best for their resources was split into seven primary categories; Diagnosis, Therapy, Health, Education, Recreation, Support, and Other. Some key findings were that the average distance between an individual with autism and any of the seven resource categories is 17.12km, with an average of over 35km away from a Diagnosis resource. Alaska had the biggest distance on average at 100.66km and New Hampshire had the shortest distance, at 9.3km₄. 

Almost all states in the USA have a law requiring insurance coverage for autism treatments. A large number of the states have limits on ages and costs to cover ABA therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy). Additionally, treatment you are able to receive in each state varies significantly.

Not taking into consideration the autism resources, the best states for being most supportive were California, Massachusetts, Indiana, Colorado, and Vermont. 

NOTE: This article serves as guide information only and we recommend parents do up-to-date research before choosing where to base their family. This article was reviewed on April 30, 2021.

References and Methodology: 

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