I could tell you what I think but as a past educator (I have a doctorate in education) and as a realtor I would be doing you a disservice. I would also be breaking the law. It's unadvised because I don't know your child's specific needs. Only you can determine if a specific district or school will meet the needs of your child.
When you narrow your search to a couple of specific towns, I would be happy to help. You can find more information on my website.
I am currently looking for a home myself. I use these three sites on a regular basis.
1. http://www.homefacts.com - statistics regarding demographics, environmental, crime , etc
2. http://www.greatschools.org - searchable database of school reviews, test scores, and other stats.
3. http://www.redfin.com - to search homes for sale
Hope this helps.
Best of luck !
The good news is most towns will have inclusion programs which is a huge plus.
I think your first step should be to find yourself an exclusive buyer broker, someone who only has your interests in mind throughout the entire purchase process. I think you will find working with a buyer broker, especially in this case (you are relocating and looking for a specific type of community) the process as whole will go a lot smoother. Exclusive buyer brokers don't have anything to sell you so your needs come first :)
Hard to know exactly what you mean by affordable because that is a little subjective for each individual (price range) however in the general sense there are lots of "affordable" areas in and outside of Boston. Below are some to name a few with links to what is on the market:
Waltham - http://goo.gl/2cl3T
Milton - http://goo.gl/LSAQs
Medford - http://goo.gl/6X1Fg
West Roxbury - http://goo.gl/X22d1
Jamaica Plain - http://goo.gl/i1BLM
Watertown - http://goo.gl/eXCk6
Somerville - http://goo.gl/tdrWi
Arlington - http://goo.gl/U3oyr
I hope that helps!
I'm not assuming you can make it but there is contact information there for this particular group and you can research other groups in other towns.
As someone said earlier most towns will have a Special Ed PAC. They would be a great resource for you to learn what each town offers. Good Luck.
You have received lots of great answers here and I know you've got your work cut out for you. This is a huge undertaking, I know, and there is no room for mistake.
I would recommend you interview one or two Real Estate "Relocation Professionals" who have a general knowledge of the whole Greater Boston Area...including the MetroWest Area and towns due North and South of Boston. Once you've found someone who you click with....demonstrates that he or she really understands your needs...put yourself in the arms of that individual and save yourself a lot of time and undue stress! From there you can start to identify communities that best suit your needs and budget.
As for communities that offer "inclusion" programs, I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you find out that this is more common than not! If you haven't already discovered, the State of Massachusetts invests a crazy amount of time and money to ensure that the standards here EXCEED national requirements!
Rest assured, the perfect home and community are here for you! You just need to know how to find them!
Your questions is wide open as there are lots of great town surrounding the Boston area. I don't know how the Denver housing market compares to this area but I have definitely works with folks coming in from other states. You may have a bit of sticker shock in terms of housing costs, so I'm not sure how to address the affordable area comment.
However, I'm attaching a link from an article in Boston Magazine last year. They rated the school systems of different towns.
Hope this helps with some preliminary research.
Jessie Cuddy, Realtor
Boston Bayside Properties
2253a Dorchester Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02124
Bedford has high commercial taxes and not too many residents, so there is higher per-student spending there and you may get better services, with a more affordable cost of living. But the school rankings aren't amazing.
I have a special needs child as well and we are in Newton. Call me to brainstorm.