Issues surrounding safety, bullying, abuse and wandering have always been a priority topic here at Autism Daily Newscast. Over the past year we have been saddened to have to report on so many children who wander. While many have been found, there are tragedies like the story of Avonte Oquendo.
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has proposed Avonte’s Law to fund voluntary tracking devices for autistic children. The legislation seeks allocate $10 million specifically to pay for technology. There is currently an existing plan that funds tracking devices for individuals at risk for wandering who have Alzheimer’s disease.
A similar model will be used by the Justice Department according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who has stated that Byrne grant funding could be used to pay for tracking devices. Approximately $280 million is funded but the portion allotted to tracking devices is not specified. Police departments nationwide are now being encouraged to request funds to purchase devices for families that need them.
Coordination will be through local law enforcement agencies and since this funding is federal it will be available throughout the USA. However, it is no clear which devices may or may not be approved or purchased.
As we reported last summer, a recent study conducted by the Kennedy Krieger Institute has shown how much more common it is for children with autism to wander compared to children without.
Children with autism from the ages of 4 to 7 are 35% more likely to wander than typical children without autism. When it comes to children between 8 and 11, neuro typical children have a 1% chance of wandering, while children with autism have 21% chance of wandering. This figure drops significantly for children between 4 and 7, but it is still high.
In regard to children who do end up wandering, 65% have close calls to traffic related injuries and 27% have close calls with drowning.
Autism Daily Newscast continues to offer series on various products and devices to help track, locate and bring our children home safely. We begin a new series which covers both tracking devices as well as items that may assist in the reduction of a child wandering in the first place. Not all are suitable for all situations and some may not be the best choice for those on the spectrum. However, we asked our resident tech reviewer Waqar to take a look at some options.
Dr. Adel Najdowski talks about elopement and how it is important to have an understanding of why a child my wander from Autism-Live.