It’s a hot, humid afternoon and the sun is starting to go down. Everything is still – everything, that is, except for my mother. She is running around the house opening closets and pacing up and down the bayfront in the backyard, scanning the water. My mother is panicking, I am frozen, and the seconds barely crawl by. Where has my brother gone?
The scary truth is that children with Autism are more likely to wander, and my brother did that a handful of times when he was little. It’s incredibly dangerous for any child to go off on their own, but it is even more dangerous if the child cannot communicate their name and address. My brother was very scarcely verbal when he wandered for the first time, so we were lucky someone who knew our family happened to see him when he rode his tricycle to the convenience store to look at candy.
I’ll never forget how petrifying that experience was, and understandably, the majority of parents report that wandering is the behavior they worry about the most in their child.
Fortunately, nowadays there are all sorts of wearable devices to help parents locate their child if they are nowhere to be found. Wearable devices are little technological wonders that are full of life-improving power. They are extremely trendy right now and are used all the time to track personal fitness and wellbeing. Now they are being developed specifically to keep kids who wander safe!
For parents who choose to use a wearable to keep track of their children, this approach alleviates anxiety and greatly increases the odds of ensuring a safe return of their child.
Wearables come in all sorts of designs with varying features, from watches with voice calling capabilities to tiny devices that can be attached to clothing. Because not all children with Autism feel comfortable wearing watches or bracelets due to sensitivities, devices that do not directly touch the body may be preferable.
Exciting public health measures concerning wearable technology are in the works. In January of this year, New York lawmakers made moves to pass Avonte’s Law which would ensure that the government would provide wearable devices for children who are at increased risk of wandering. These tracking devices will be made available through local police departments.
If you’re interested in employing a wearable, check out these neat devices! Hopefully Avonte’s Law will make wearables even more accessible in the near future!