Federal Grants for Electronic Tracking Devices Now Available for Autistic Children

The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that a federal grant program that provides electronic tracking devices for adults with Alzheimer’s disease has been expanded to apply to children with autism.

The announcement came after tragedy struck Queens, New York, where the remains of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic boy, were recently discovered. Avonte wandered away from his school on October 4, 2013. A massive search, lasting over three months, resulted in the discovery of the boy’s body in the East River on January 16.

The voluntary program will allow parents of children with autism and other developmental disorders to obtain a tracking device through local law enforcement agencies and nonprofit groups. The devices may be worn as bracelets or anklets and attached to belt loops or shoelaces.

A recent study showed that 49 percent of children and teens with autism have attempted to run or wander from their caretakers. Recovery time of an individual wearing a tracking device averages as much as 95 percent less than that of an individual without a tracking device.

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