New technology may be able to help parents of autistic children who are prone to wandering off.
Just last week 8-year-old Kaden, who's autistic, wandered away from his home.
“We didn’t know he had figured out how to unlock the front door,” said his mother Jessica Austin-Rowland. “Thank goodness within 5 or 10 minutes we found him”
That's when police told Jessica about Care Trak. It’s available for parents who live within Oklahoma City limits. The device goes on a child’s arm or leg and emits a radio signal that police can pick up.
It's one of several devices that can track or find children who wander off. Others use online use GPS technology.
Those who offer Care Track say it that can be more accurate than GPS because it will lead police to the exact location of the child. But police will need to get involved.
Local autism advocacy groups we spoke with don't recommend one device over the other. But the director of the Oklahoma Autism Network says keeping a child who wanders safe can be a big challenge for parents.
“They’re curious about something and you combine that curiosity or that interest in something with that lack of awareness of danger,” said Rene' Daman, PT, MS-Dir., Oklahoma Autism Network
Kaden's mom says is still researching devices, but will definitely invest in at least one.
“We’re looking at possibly a combination of two different products because we want to access it from our phone. But we do want the one where if the police were to come out they could use that one as well.”
The Care Trak program is available for anyone who is at risk of wandering. For more information, contact Sunbeam Family Services.
To contact the Oklahoma Autism Network:
Parents of children with autism may also get help and support with AutismOklahoma.org