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Old 09-04-2008, 10:33 AM
15 posts, read 49,709 times
Reputation: 11


My family is considering relocating to Northern California. We are most familiar with the North Bay and South Bay/Peninsula area from travelling to those areas. We are currently located in Columbus, OH and have also lived in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
We would like to move to an area that has better weather. Our daughter has health issues (as well as special needs, ASD diagnosis) and the winters here are hard on her system. An area that has more consistent weather (warm climate) with milder winters appeals to us. However, due to her health and developmental issues we have to consider the school systems and what schools provide good services for kids with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Which is always a challenge even where we currently live. We have 2 other children, one older and one younger. Our daughter is still in preschool - transitioning to kindergarten next school year.

We are also interested in moving to that area because we enjoy living in places that have access to outdoor recreation. And we are finding that because of our daughter's issues we are unable to take a lot of long vacations - which when you live in the midwest you have to do in order to visit any coast area. When we were in New England we lived in Plymouth, MA - which is a coastal town with access to walking, playgrounds on the beach, lakes, kayaking, biking, hiking... and it was by far our favorite place to live BUT the winter weather is brutal there!

I would love to be an area with access to locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables. An area with farmer's markets.

I am a health professional - occupational therapist so I think that I should be able to find a job. I currently work parttime but would change to a fulltime position. My husband is also a professional - he is currently self-employed.

We would need to be in a location that has access to a hospital that specializes in pediatrics. My daughter has to follow-up with specialists on an annual to regular basis for various issues.

We have lived in a variety of environments - small town, small cities, etc. We have never lived in a "cookie cutter" neighborhood. We would consider all options.

If anyone has any recommendations or insights I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:59 AM
Location: SF Bay Area
18,982 posts, read 32,651,109 times
Reputation: 13635
I think Walnut Creek and the surrounding areas like Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Danville, and Pleasant Hill are great for raising a family. There are two large hospitals in WC, Kaiser and John Muir. Great downtown with lots of shopping, dining options, entertainment, culture, arts, etc... Great schools and low crime, just a little on the expensive side though.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:25 AM
Location: Northern California
3,722 posts, read 14,723,432 times
Reputation: 1962
I would recommend the mid peninsula from about San Mateo south towards Palo Alto. Other towns in this area include Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and Menlo Park. This suburban area is nice and safe with good schools in most cases. The beach is about 20 miles to the west. There is also a commuter train between San Francisco and San Jose that stops at all of the above places

Hospitals in this area include:

Mills-Peninsula www.mills-peninsula.org
Sequoia Sequoia Hospital Home
Palo Alto Medical Foundation Palo Alto Medical Foundation Regional Page
Stanford Hospital Home - Stanford Hospital & Clinics - Stanford University Medical Center
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:13 PM
3,244 posts, read 6,299,863 times
Reputation: 4924
California is not a good choice if you need to rely on public school and special education services. The recent budget crisis has made the situation even worse.

"The state now finds itself unable to pay bills for services such as regional centers, special education, and Medi-Cal providers."

California Budget Crisis Heats Up: Big 5 Meeting Scheduled for Tomorrow Afternoon—Senate and Assembly Meetings as Well - California Progress Report (http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2008/09/california_budg_14.html - broken link)

"Without a budget, there will be no funding for special education"

It is time for budget agreement - Marin Independent Journal

"Recently parents have complained that the district special education program is inadequate, that they're stalled by those supposed to assist their special-needs children and that some parents face an uphill battle trying to convince the district that their children need to be in the program. Others charge that the students' IEPs, which determine goals and services for them, aren't being met."

MorganHillTimes.com | Special education woes (http://www.morganhilltimes.com/opinion/247973-special-education-woes - broken link)

For an excellent ASD program plus mild climate plus look at Gwinnett County in Georgia.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:01 PM
2,144 posts, read 7,162,376 times
Reputation: 1540
Palo Alto and suburbs just West of PA...

Some of world's best weather and topography for yr-round outdoor activities; arguably best healthcare anywhere, esp in a posh suburban setting....both Stanford itself and the many Stanford alums who are in pvt practice (primary care and specialties), who tend to have offices in PA area nr where many prefer to live themselves (quality of hc, esp caliber of physicians, drops dramatically as one moves more than ?10mis N/S of PA area)

PA public schools are some of best in SF region, but like public schools anywhere, have issues to consider...

Quality of produce in SF region is notably superior to stuff they claim is produce in rest of US, ex-CA....numerous farmers' mkts scattered throughout region...

Biggest downsides of PA region are some of US' highest housing costs, esp along more desirable 280 corridor suburbs (LosAltosHills, Woodside, etc)....not surprising, as PA region is arguably only rivaled by Greenwich, CT in terms of its deep pools of wealth and new wealth creation....

Many regions are far cheaper, but also offer a far lower QOL/culture of achievement....
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:52 PM
15 posts, read 49,709 times
Reputation: 11
Default Thanks for input

Thanks. I hadn't thought about Georgia, wasn't aware of that particular program. I will check that out. My husband was interested in Florida - basically just because of the weather but I personally don't like the humidity that occurs in that part of the USA. California has seemed more dry to me (am I wrong about that??). I also must confess I am just hugely biased towards the culture and sites in California!
Thank you also for the recommendations on areas to live. Very helpful.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:39 PM
655 posts, read 1,983,525 times
Reputation: 375
This will seem like an odd suggestion, but Oakland has a terrific public school for children with autism. It is currently PreK-2, however, so I don't know what the options look like as your child gets older. (I believe the program has expanded to higher grades in recent years, so perhaps that's planned to continue....but I'd talk to parents there to see.) The school also offers support groups for families, so you might call the ASD group and see what they have to say about school options.

Tilden Elementary School, Oakland, California

My understanding is that a child with special needs can attend this school regardless of where you live in Oakland, but for your other children you'd need to pay attention to which neighborhood school you're districted to (some are excellent, some abysmal)--though they can attend Tilden's integrated regular/sped program for K-2.

For what it's worth, Oakland could be a great choice on other counts as well--several major hospitals in the city (including Children's), terrific weather, farmers' markets galore, hiking up in the hills and boating on the lake, and more. The city does have a reputation for violence in some areas, but this varies widely by neighborhood, as it's a large city physically. Not incidentally, the neighborhoods with the strong local schools are generally lovely, quite safe, and quite expensive.....
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:13 AM
2,106 posts, read 5,787,856 times
Reputation: 1510
You need to be aware that coming from Ohio, home prices are going to be stratospheric here in comparison. Expect to pay roughly 500k and up for a starter home here, and that's after a fairly sharp reduction over last year. Most places on the Peninsula are absolutely prohibitive. On the other hand, perhaps you could just rent until your daughter is old enough and then move to wherever fits your budget. You might also consider parts of Oregon and Washington which also have some areas that are dry and mild.
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:13 PM
15 posts, read 49,709 times
Reputation: 11
Yeah, we know that (about housing prices). We don't plan on purchasing a home, just renting. We have purchased properties here in Ohio, we have a few rentals and may even rent our current place out instead of selling. Thanks for the input though. It looks like the rents, considering it is California (we lived in the Boston area for a time) aren't too bad - at least in comparison to what the houses are selling for. So it seems like it is a good renter's market and bad purchaser's market. Kind of nice if you plan on renting, not so nice if you want to own.
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:17 PM
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 29,152,138 times
Reputation: 3631
You're right - rents in Boston are a lot more crazy in comparison to the purchase prices, because incomes aren't much lower than they are here.

Last edited by sonarrat; 09-05-2008 at 01:51 PM..
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