Sen. Schumer Wants GPS Devices For Children With Autism to Prevent Wandering
U-S Sen. Charles Schumer has proposed new legislation that would utilize $10 Million in federal funds to purchase GPS tracking devices for autistic children.
Schumer is proposing the new voluntary program in honor of an autistic New York City boy who disappeared from school and was discovered dead in the East River months later.
"Avonte's Law" would create a program that provides the tracking devices and expands support services for families with autistic children.
Schumer says it would be similar to a federal program that tracks seniors who have Alzheimer's.
About half of autistic children are prone to wandering, according to research published in 2012 in the journal Pediatrics, and wandering has led to the deaths of more than 60 autistic children since 2008. About 90 percent of the wandering fatalities in recent years have been drowning victims, according to the National Autism Association.
The study found that half of parents with autistic children never received advice or guidance from a professional on how to cope with wandering. Experts have recommended precautionary measures, including autistic children wearing ID bracelets or tracking devices.
Each device costs about $85, plus a few dollars in monthly fees, the senator said, adding that hundreds of families with autistic children already have used privately funded tracking devices