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Unread 09-14-2011, 09:12 PM
 
11 posts, read 28,357 times
Reputation: 13
Default Short notice move to Atlanta with autistic preschooler. Where to live for public school?

Hello everyone. My husband's job is moving him to Atlanta from Raleigh, NC (with a rather short 2 week notice). We have just put our house in Raleigh on the market and will hope that it sells. We cannot afford to maintain 2 complete separate residences AND the visiting commutes of 1,000 mi roundtrip (gas/wear and tear on vehicle). Ergo! We are moving the family to Atlanta and will hope our empty house sells fast.

Here's our info: We have a 2-year-old highly functioning autistic son and a 10-month-old daughter. We have zero pets. We will have a mortgage to pay in Raleigh and will have to live lean and mean in Atlanta until our house sells. My husband will go down before us to find a rental and set it up. We will follow in about 6 weeks. We plan to rent for at least 6 months and PRAY that our house sells so we can turn around and buy a house in/around Atlanta.

Per the moving to Atlanta sticky:

1. Budget: Rent $1,000 or less. (After our house sellls, Buy $200,000 or less.)

2. House/Apt/Townhome? We are open to any place that is safe and child friendly (places to play and run). I am not keen on walking up flights of steps to get to my home though. My autistic son is a very fast wanderer and it would be hard to carry the baby up and down stairs and keep hold of my son and hold the handrail.

3. Employment status: My husband will be working at the SunTrust Plaza on Peachtree Street in Downtown Atlanta. He will commute and/or is open to taking the train (MARTA?) to work. We want to live OTP, mostly due to my son's special needs when he starts preschool next year.

4. Children? Public school/private: I have searched and searched City-data for info on public schools and special needs kids. My son is very high functioning, but has sensory/speech issues that we are in therapy for. The private schools are very expensive, so public is our choice right now. I've gathered that Fulton, Coweta, Dekalb, and Clayton County weren't the best for special needs. Conversely, I've read that Fayette, Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee county had good programs. We are also curious about Douglas County and one of my girlfriends said to check out Smyrna, but we are worried about the commute.

5. Suburban or Urban: I could do a mix of the two, but am leaning towards suburban with access to the city. I love gardening (particularly Thai herbs and veggies) and the kids need a yard to play in. The only catch is that we plan to buy a membership to the ImagineIt Kid's museum, as my son is very science/math smart. We visit our discovery museum here on a weekly basis and he just eats it up. If he could go everyday, he would. Wherever we live, we'll be heading in to the museum once a week (and Ikea!).

6. Public Transportation: My husband is willing to take the train downtown if it is available. Otherwise, he will drive. He is from DC and a 40 - 60 minute commute is normal for him. He would prefer a drive 30 minutes or less, but is willing to take longer if it puts us in a good school system and safe neighborhood.

7. Preferable demographics: I am Thai and would LOVE to live in an area where I could pop into a local Asian market. However, my son's education comes first. (but I will suss out the first Asian store in my new neighborhood stat!)

8. Airport access: This might be important in the future. My husband is in supply chain and he might have to travel a bit to visit suppliers and such. We don't know at this time how much.

Another note: For some reason, my husband has the idea that west of Atlanta, down the I-20 corridor, is the place to be for houses with land (1/2 acre+). We were looking at an apartment in Lithia Springs called the Madison at Waterford.

I hope this wasn't TMI. He will be there this weekend (9/16) to look for apartments. I can't research fast enough on my own to make an informed decision. Any help is appreciated!
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Unread 09-14-2011, 09:15 PM
 
11 posts, read 28,357 times
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Sorry guys. I just figured out that I was supposed to post this within the "moving to Atlanta" thread and not start a new thread. Can I move it?
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Unread 09-15-2011, 05:26 AM
 
1,528 posts, read 1,271,615 times
Reputation: 605
This is the correct place to post - we just ask that you check out the moving to Atlanta thread to mae sure you give us enough info which you did perfectly.

From a budget standpoint, Smyrna would fit your needs. Public transportation is limited and not a reasonable choice but the driving commute to SunTrust Plaza, Ikea etc is relatively easy by Atlanta standards with lots of optional routes. Asian markets not availble - you need to head to Johns Creek/Duluth/Gwinnett for those (25+ miles from Smyrna). I am not familiar with the special needs programs in this area. If you are looking at older homes in Smyrna, you can get a 1/2 acre within your budget.

You could get more land in Lithia Springs but location wise I can't imagine this location would be meet your other needs.
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Unread 09-16-2011, 11:43 AM
 
11 posts, read 28,357 times
Reputation: 13
Thanks for the info! My husband is down there as we speak driving from house to house in Smyrna. I also picked a few in Marietta and one in Mableton for him to look at. He is checking out the neighborhoods.

The people he works with said that he didn't want to live in Smyrna. They said it was too crowded. I don't know if that was their only complaint.

I started looking east in Sandy Springs, but housing is pretty high over there.
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Unread 09-16-2011, 05:06 PM
 
1,528 posts, read 1,271,615 times
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I love living in Smyrna - it is definitely no more crowded than any of the other areas that you have mentioned (Sandy Springs, Marietta etc.)

There are many of us that love this area but recognize that education is still a weakness. I would say the schools are a B with elementary and middle schools hit and miss. This is compared to other areas where there are A+ schools that are more consistent. That is not to say that there are not excellent schools in Smyrna.

If your husband is still in town on Saturday, he should stop by the Taste of Smyrna. The Smyrna Education Foundation will be there and available for questions

Smyrna Education Foundation
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Unread 09-16-2011, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Sandy Springs, GA
182 posts, read 226,590 times
Reputation: 144
As far as Asian groceries go, there is a large Asian population here and you can find stores throughout the metro area. We have Hmarts here too which are full size Asian groceries:

Better Food Better Life H Mart

I don't know that I can really help with your other questions except to say that you would probably really enjoy living in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody or John's Creek. Your husband could easily hop on the train in Sandy Springs or Dunwoody to commute downtown. Your budget may make it tough to find a home in those areas although in this economy they can be found.
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Unread 09-16-2011, 10:12 PM
 
Location: Sandy Springs, GA
865 posts, read 952,127 times
Reputation: 606
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriderg View Post
Hello everyone. My husband's job is moving him to Atlanta from Raleigh, NC (with a rather short 2 week notice). We have just put our house in Raleigh on the market and will hope that it sells. We cannot afford to maintain 2 complete separate residences AND the visiting commutes of 1,000 mi roundtrip (gas/wear and tear on vehicle). Ergo! We are moving the family to Atlanta and will hope our empty house sells fast.

Here's our info: We have a 2-year-old highly functioning autistic son and a 10-month-old daughter. We have zero pets. We will have a mortgage to pay in Raleigh and will have to live lean and mean in Atlanta until our house sells. My husband will go down before us to find a rental and set it up. We will follow in about 6 weeks. We plan to rent for at least 6 months and PRAY that our house sells so we can turn around and buy a house in/around Atlanta.

Per the moving to Atlanta sticky:

1. Budget: Rent $1,000 or less. (After our house sellls, Buy $200,000 or less.)

2. House/Apt/Townhome? We are open to any place that is safe and child friendly (places to play and run). I am not keen on walking up flights of steps to get to my home though. My autistic son is a very fast wanderer and it would be hard to carry the baby up and down stairs and keep hold of my son and hold the handrail.

3. Employment status: My husband will be working at the SunTrust Plaza on Peachtree Street in Downtown Atlanta. He will commute and/or is open to taking the train (MARTA?) to work. We want to live OTP, mostly due to my son's special needs when he starts preschool next year.

4. Children? Public school/private: I have searched and searched City-data for info on public schools and special needs kids. My son is very high functioning, but has sensory/speech issues that we are in therapy for. The private schools are very expensive, so public is our choice right now. I've gathered that Fulton, Coweta, Dekalb, and Clayton County weren't the best for special needs. Conversely, I've read that Fayette, Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee county had good programs. We are also curious about Douglas County and one of my girlfriends said to check out Smyrna, but we are worried about the commute.

5. Suburban or Urban: I could do a mix of the two, but am leaning towards suburban with access to the city. I love gardening (particularly Thai herbs and veggies) and the kids need a yard to play in. The only catch is that we plan to buy a membership to the ImagineIt Kid's museum, as my son is very science/math smart. We visit our discovery museum here on a weekly basis and he just eats it up. If he could go everyday, he would. Wherever we live, we'll be heading in to the museum once a week (and Ikea!).

6. Public Transportation: My husband is willing to take the train downtown if it is available. Otherwise, he will drive. He is from DC and a 40 - 60 minute commute is normal for him. He would prefer a drive 30 minutes or less, but is willing to take longer if it puts us in a good school system and safe neighborhood.

7. Preferable demographics: I am Thai and would LOVE to live in an area where I could pop into a local Asian market. However, my son's education comes first. (but I will suss out the first Asian store in my new neighborhood stat!)

8. Airport access: This might be important in the future. My husband is in supply chain and he might have to travel a bit to visit suppliers and such. We don't know at this time how much.

Another note: For some reason, my husband has the idea that west of Atlanta, down the I-20 corridor, is the place to be for houses with land (1/2 acre+). We were looking at an apartment in Lithia Springs called the Madison at Waterford.

I hope this wasn't TMI. He will be there this weekend (9/16) to look for apartments. I can't research fast enough on my own to make an informed decision. Any help is appreciated!
Try the cities of Chamblee (access to MARTA - rail and bus), Duluth (Gwinnett County Transit), Johns Creek, Sandy Springs (access to MARTA - rail and bus), Dunwoody (access to MARTA - rail and bus) or Alpharetta (access to MARTA - bus) . All of these cities are diverse as well.
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Unread 09-17-2011, 03:29 PM
 
Location: The big blue yonder...
1,689 posts, read 1,202,829 times
Reputation: 700
What part of town will you be living in? If you will need to be near the airport, living down in Fayette County is not bad and there is a GREAT Montessori school down there that specializes in autistic care. Fayette County is nice also. Although, it's not a place if you will need to be downtown often. If you can live and do most things south of the Airport, Fayetteville is a good spot.

If you need good access to the city, live near a Marta station on the Northern side, and there's a good Montessori near Emory Univ.
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Unread 09-17-2011, 08:37 PM
 
11 posts, read 28,357 times
Reputation: 13
Thanks for all the tips. I checked out some houses online and am wondering why the houses in Duluth are so much less expensive than anywhere else (for comprable size, etc...). Is it because of the distance from the city? Wouldn't Duluth and Alpharetta be a far commute to downtown Atlanta?

He was able to stop in at some houses in Symrna, Sandy Creek, and Dunwoody last Friday. He fell in love with a house in Dunwoody, but we can't buy until we sell our house in Raleigh. There were some nice houses in Marietta as well, but he didn't have the time to fit them in.

Right now, we plan to find an apartment in the County where we want to buy and move the family down. I need to nail down the county so I can transfer my son into the Early Intervention Program. Apparently, the programs and services are county based. If I move to the "wrong" county, I would have to disrupt his services and therapy when we do buy again.

By moving to Atlanta, my mom will be able to visit more often from Fort Walton Beach, Florida. She wants to know if there is a Thai temple where I'm going. I told her I'd have to google it and get back to her. :-)
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Unread 09-17-2011, 08:45 PM
 
11 posts, read 28,357 times
Reputation: 13
Psykomonkee - I raised my son following Montessori methods from birth and then enrolled him in a Montessori school when he was 23 months old. His developmental therapist did a session at his school and flipped out at what she saw. She was not familiar with Montessori, but swore that his needs weren't being met as far as working with his autism. I pulled him out and enrolled him in a developmental daycenter and he has blossomed and is becoming a social butterfly. I am curious how the school down there has managed to work with autistic kids.

Do you have any knowledge for a private message? or do I need to start a new thread separate from this moving one? I'm not sure of the etiquette on city-data.
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