Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder to ask the Department of Justice to fund GPS tracking devices for autistic children–even though there are private companies that already offer this service.
14-year old Avonte Oquendo disappeared from his Long Island school a month ago. He has autism and does not speak. Unfortunately, he has not been found. Parents with autistic children are joining forces with Schumer, who issued a statement:
The sights and sounds of NYC and other busy places can be over-stimulating and distracting for children and teens with Autism, often leading to wandering as a way to escape. Voluntary tracking devices will help our teachers and parents in the event that the child runs away and, God forbid, goes missing. DOJ already funds these devices for individuals with Alzheimer’s and they should do the same for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Funding this program will help put school systems and parents of children and teens with Autism at ease knowing where their children are.
The Alzheimer service costs around $100, and the GPS tracking service is between $5 and $50 a month. Additionally, a service like this would require a federal database with private information. AT&T will now sell Amber Alert GPS for kids. The settings are determined by the parents and cost $199. They can get the device for free if they sign a three-year service agreement.
There are many links at the Autism Speaks website for safety products. One private company is Care Trak Systems. They are cost effective and as low as $3.29 per person but offer their service for free to seniors and families on fixed incomes.