It isn’t possible for a parent to keep an eye on his or her child at all times. Children that have certain types of special needs often have a tendency to wander off. This can be a terrifying thought for parents! Fortunately, there is some technology that can help you locate your child.
Kids that have a severe autism spectrum disorder typically have a tendency to wander or “elope”. Studies show that around half of all children with autism will display a tendency to wander off.
Unlike children who do not have any types of special needs, some kids who have autism are non-verbal. This means that these children cannot call out from where they are “stuck”, or ask someone for help if they become lost. Often, this same group of kids will feel a need to “hide” from the rescue crews who are trying to locate them. The kids may or may not come out from their hiding place when they hear someone calling their name.
This has to be a terrifying concept for parents of kids with autism to cope with. Parents are human, and cannot possibly expect to be watching their children 100% of the time. Eventually, parents are going to have to sleep! Or, their child will have to go to school, or be watched by a family member or caregiver while the parents are working.
In the past, some parents resorted to setting up door chimes or bells that would make sounds if the door was opened. This can alert the parent that someone, possibly their child, has opened the front or back door of their home. It doesn’t actually help locate a child who has wandered off, though.
A company called EmFinders has created a product called EmSeeQ. It looks a lot like a wrist watch. The device can be placed on the wrist of a child who has autism. The device works with 9-1-1 emergency systems. It uses a technology called U-TDOA Phase II that helps the 9-1-1 operator to locate where the EmSeeQ device, and the child who it is attached to, is at. The device emits it’s own emergency signal to help rescuers to locate a child.
Another company is called Caretrak Systems. They have a product that is to be used in the home of a family. The child who has autism wears a device. The device sounds an alarm if the person who wears it leaves a pre-determined area. The device emits radio waves that can be used to help locate a missing child. Rescuers can use a wearable transmitter that shows when the signal from the device is getting stronger. This can lead rescuers to find a missing child.
Does your child use an iPad? The iPad has a function in the settings app that you can enable. The app can be used to locate the iPad from a computer. If a child wanders, but appears to have taken his or her iPad along, then a parent can get on the family’s home computer, and locate where the iPad is at. Technically, this is not at tracking device, and was not designed to be used to locate missing children. But, it could give a frantic parents more information about where their child wandered to.
Image by oliverlindner on Flickr