News | Published March 26, 2014

Government to provide tracking devices for children with autism

Children who are diagnosed with autism have varying degrees of difficulty with social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, repetitive behaviors, intellectual disabilities, motor coordination difficulties and physical health issues.

It is estimated that one in 88 American children are on the autism spectrum, a 10-fold increase over the past 40 years. The increase in autism diagnosis is attributed to improved diagnostic tools and increased awareness. Although researchers have not identified a sole cause of autism, scientists have found a number of rare gene mutations associated with it.

Due to the prevalence of autism and the physical, mental and verbal limitations of those with the disorder, nearly 50 percent of those with autism wander and go missing. This led to the proposal of Avonte’s Law, named for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo who went missing in October 2013 and was later found, an apparent victim of drowning. The law designated $10 million in federal funding to help locate missing children with autism, similar to the federal program that helps to track seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease. The system makes voluntary tracking devices available for children with autism.

The devices can be worn anywhere, including on a belt, watch or shoelaces. The tracking devices will help to prevent further tragedies by locating missing children with autism quicker. To take advantage of this offer, contact your local law enforcement agency, which can apply for funding to help for the devices.