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Autism/Husband wants to move down south, have a son with PDD-NOS and ADHD.. HELP!


Dr.Mitchell, I saw another thread on here, was unbelievably impressed with your answer and am hoping you may be able to give me advice as well! I will try to simplify this as much as possible..My husband is a gas pipeline worker who has to travel all over the us for his work, so we don't get to see him that much. Our son is 6 years old and is very high functioning on the PDD-NOS spectrum and has ADHD. I am from Maryland, My husband from the south. Currently my son and I are living with my mom here in Maryland and are receiving incredible resources both in school and in the medical community, etc. My husband, although he is never "home" wants us to move to either Florida or Texas due to the cheaper cost of living, housing and no state tax.. I am freaking out!!! I have heard those states are not good for special needs or resources, the schools as well :( I am desperate to get help with is keeping me up at night and I cant imagine the stress it will put on our son to move. Please help!!! He says we cannot afford Maryland and that the taxes are eating us up. I am a wreck about this.

Hi Cheryl,

Great to hear how pleased you are with the services you're receiving.

I'm not sure you can assume that you would not be happy with schools in Texas or
Florida though. You might want to contact autism organizations in those States to get a feel for how their members feel about services. Their information might help guide you in where to look for a house if you move.

Here's some starting points for you to begin your research:

I understand your concerns about moving. Change can be difficult for a child on the spectrum, but not impossible. Sometimes life dictates change and this can be an opportunity to teach flexibility and how to adapt to change.

If you decide to move, preparing your son will be critical. Since kids with autism generally take in information that they see more readily than what they hear, take pictures - lots of pictures and make them into a booklet. Create a new house book with pictures of each room, and the yard. Involve him in deciding where to locate his furniture in his room, etc.

Do the same at the school he'll attend. Take pictures of the key adults he'll interact with, the school door he'll enter, where he'll put his jacket and his lunch, his desk, the bathroom he'll use, the playground, gym, computer room, etc. Again, make this into a booklet with captions. Go over and over these books with him. Social stories are very helpful. It would be great if he had the opportunity to visit the school and new home before the actual move, if possible.

Kids do adapt to change. They'll also take their cue from the adults in their lives.

Raising a child on the spectrum takes more time and energy than with a typical child. Having a support network can really help. If you're currently living with your mother, I presume she is helpful to you and your son, especially when your husband must be away so often.  If you move, even with the economic benefits, how do you think you'll manage without your husband or mother around?  Is that a concern for your family?

This is a tough decision for you and your husband. The economic down turn has created such dilemma for so many people, making us worry about conserving finances  for the good of the family. Especially since your son is high functioning, have some faith in him and in the skills you are the school have taught him. He will survive a move and perhaps even grow because of it.

You have a lot of factors to consider. Maybe once you've researched schools and services in the areas where you may move, you'll be armed with facts that will aid in your decision.

Best wishes,



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Dr. Sharon A. Mitchell


Sharon can help with parenting and educational concerns. She has worked in teaching, special education, counseling and consulting for over thirty years and gives workshops to educators and parents on working with kids with autism spectrum disorders. Sharon speaks from both the education and parent points of view, having an adult son with Asperger's.


Sharon has spent decades as a special education consultant with a school district and autism consult for the province's Department of Education, giving workshops and individual consults. Currently she works as regional autism consultant for a health district in between teaching university classes. She is an Amazon bestselling author or a series of novels, each depicting a child who has an autism spectrum disorder. Sharon's Master's thesis looked at the long-term outlook for persons with high functioning autism and Asperger's. Her Doctorate focused on strategies to help those with autism spectrum disorders.

Website at and sits on Autism Today's Panel of Experts (

Author of "Autism Goes to School" - a novel about autism that that became an Amazon bestseller. Get this Amazon bestseller free at In the next book, Autism Runs Away, Ethan is only in grade one and already has been kicked out of one school due to his tantrums and pattern of running away when in a panic. Now in a new school his mom remains glued to her phone, waiting for the call to tell her that they don’t know what to do with a child who has autism. Sara is about to learn if this new school is up to the challenge. ( Autism Belongs is the 3rd book. Manny's life has shrank to the confines of their house. His parents are desperate not to rock his world because the aggression has gotten to much worse. Where will this lead? Is there a chance that Manny could actually belong out in the world? You bet! Get a free sample at Book four, Autism Talks and Talks, is about a 12 year old girl who has Asperger's. She's bright, inquisitive, highly verbal, but lacks social skills. Try a free sample at Book five, Autism Grows Up features Suzie, a bright, twenty-one year old whose life collapsed after she finished high school. Now, she lives in her mother's basement, spending nights on her computer, afraid to broach the world outside their door. Autism Grows Up is found at Prefer a boxed set? Get the first 3 books bundled together at Co-author of bestseller, The Official Autism 101 Manual (

B.A. in Psychology, B.Ed. in Special Education, M.A. in Educational Leadership PhD. in Psychology Management, specializing in autism.

Awards and Honors
B.R.A.G. Medallion for the novel Autism Goes to School - Book 1 in the School Daze Series. ( Like Autism Goes to School, the third book in the series, Autism Belongs, also ranked #1 on Amazon ( Manny is not like other children. He doesn’t talk. He doesn’t leave the house. His parents desperately try to arrange their world so that Manny does not get upset. Because, when he does, well, the aggression was getting worse. At ten, Manny was becoming difficult to handle.

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