As a former Superintendent of Schools and a parent, I can appreciate your position of the importance of neighborhood and school.
Without getting too much into the special needs issue, I'm sure you can appreciate the importance of pairing up your child's specific needs to the strengths of any individual program. With this said, the merits and success of a mandated program can vary greatly from district to district and from one building to another even within a single district. Often the credibility of a program can be created by one or two people at a certain level that do exemplary work.
From a real estate perspective, consider looking at Stoneybrook. It's a newer community that has been billed, from the very beginning, as a family focused community. To this end, there are many other children and facilities that support youth interest and activity.
The best rental/purchase scenario is the opportunity to rent in the community in which you will some day buy. This experience should avail you the chance to formulate a clear and accurate opinion of whether or not the location is right for your family's needs. There are often rental availability in Stoneybrook. It's worth a drive through and be sure to stop at the recreational facility.
Michael Saunders & Company