Blog #62~Wandering and Autism, Part II
One of the worst nightmares any parent can experience is a missing child. It’s awful to imagine that it can happen. Being prepared is important in case the nightmare ever becomes a reality.
A few weeks ago in Blog #60~Wandering and Autism @https://nickspecialneeds.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/blog-60wandering-and-autism/ I wrote about a personal experience we had when Nick took off and provided some safety tips and links. This week I want to expand on this topic and provide more resources that I have found.
I placed a call to our local police department here in Aurora, IL to see what systems they had in place for dealing with a lost child who has special needs. The detective assured me that all missing child cases are handled as high priority. Canine units are also utilized in searches as well. I found it interesting that all intersections are equipped with cameras that are monitored 24/7. Since this phone call I have provided the police department with the vital information about my son Nick, who has Down syndrome and autism.
Information to provide to local police department:
Home address with names of family members and phone numbers
Child’s diagnosis/ is the child verbal or non-verbal?
Physical features (height, weight, etc…)
Behavior concerns (no fear of danger, possibility of a meltdown, how to approach child)
Our address is now flagged in the department’s data base with this information. Check with your local police department to see what system they have in place. Some departments such as nearby Naperville and Plainfield, IL both offer the GPS bracelets (through the police departments) for special needs kids and the elderly with a tendency to wander. The bracelet costs about $150. Radio monitoring kicks in upon calling 911. There is no cost and the police are in charge of this. If there is a financial hardship, check to see if the department will waive the cost of the bracelet. The device is called Care-Trak (www.caretrak.com).
Here is another site with some great safety devices and information:
In addition, there are phone apps that are available for monitoring and providing information to the authorities about your child. Here are a few that I found:
iPhone Baby Monitor ($4.99) acts much like a baby monitor does to watch your child while they are sleeping.
Kids ID ($3.99) Takes recent pictures of your kids so they are readily available, plus you can input their size, medical history, and other important data that would help law enforcement find your child as soon as possible. The app allows you to send all of your child’s information directly to law-enforcement agencies.
KidStatz ($0.99) provides you with the opportunity to store information about your kids in the iPhone that can later be shared with law enforcement if they go missing. As with Kids ID, the app lets you to take a picture of your kids, input important identifying information, what kind of medical conditions they have, and any birth marks or other identifying information that might help law enforcement find your children. The app also provides a way to e-mail or call law enforcement to quickly react to your missing child.
Pictures and videos of your child in a natural setting (not forced smiles) are advisable to have available for officers as well. If your child is drawn to anything (railroad, water, small spaces, etc..) be sure to include that information to the police department.
The following advanced GPS locaters range from $125-$250 and the monthly monitoring fees vary:
Angel Sense GPS tracking device (www.angelsense.com)
Amber Alert GPS tracking device (www.amberalertgps.com)
Trax GPS tracking device (www.traxfamily.com)
Being prepared and proactive is vital if you have a child who wanders or likes to bolt. I hope these tips and links will help insure the safety of all children and especially those who have autism and other special needs. That’s what is in my noggin this week!