I didn’t know when we chose out community, or our house, that we would become a Special Needs family and rely heavily on the resources around us. Thank goodness we made the house choice we did, because the services and resources have been beyond value for our situation.
The school system has been fabulous for our daughter, giving her everything she needs to be successful. Our little “ranch” house was really pure luck. We looked at countless houses with flights of stairs, and even put bids on them, and thankfully they didn’t come through.
But it is hard to find the “best” place to raise your special needs child, especially when you are a young family starting out and don’t know exactly what your needs will be.
Often, when those needs become known, you are enmeshed in a community and a home that may not quite work out, or support what you need.
Disability Scope did a piece on which state was best for disability services in 2013. In the study conducted by United Cerebral Palsy, Arizona was ranked highest for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, while Mississippi was ranked last. The study from 2014 shows very similar rankings, with both states holding their places. The state I live in, Illinois, also ranked towards the bottom of the barrel – which is disappointing in so many ways.
But what do you look for in a place to raise our Special Kids? A safe community, a place where the parks are accessible, a home where their wheelchair or walker will be able to get through the door, and a school system that will help them to grow to their potential and not just house them. There are so many factors to think about and to consider, and when we are making these decisions we are often ill prepared to know what the future will hold.
For us, I think we were lucky with this area. It has its ups and downs, but overall it has been a safe and accessible place with the resources we need. I still bash my daughter’s little elbows carrying her into the bathroom at least once a day with its freakishly narrow doorway. But with the ramp my father in law built out front, I am able to easily get her in and out of the house.
But a part of me looks at those top ranking states and thinks “are we in the right place?” “Could there be more for her somewhere else?”
Where do you think is the best place to raise a child with special needs,
and how did you make that decision?