Voluntary Tracking Devices Proposed for Children with Autism
White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) March 11, 2014 - Senator Charles Schumer has proposed legislation that would fund voluntary tracking devices for children with autism. The devices would help address the problem of wandering.
The proposed legislation is called “Avonte's Law,” after Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic boy who was found dead after he disappeared from his school in Queens, New York.
The law would increase funding for a Department of Justice program that provides grants to police departments and other groups that allow them to supply tracking devices for people with Alzheimer's disease. The law would allocate $10 million to expand the program to cover children with autism. Each tracking device costs between $80 and $90 to purchase and a few dollars per month to operate. Interested parents would have free access to the devices, which can be sewn into clothing or worn around the wrist.
Use of the devices would be the parents' decision, and local governments would decide exactly how they would be implemented. The devices can be programmed in different ways: to alert authorities automatically when a child leaves a certain perimeter, like school grounds, or to activate only when authorities are notified.
Avonte Oquendo disappeared from his school by the Queens waterfront in October 2013. He had no prior history of running away. Due to his severe autism, he was not able to communicate verbally, making him more vulnerable to danger. The New York Police Department, along with the boy's family and volunteers, searched for him by every available means. Bloodhounds were put on the scent, divers searched the East River, and neighbors and subway riders saw the boy's face on posters and heard announcements regarding his disappearance. His remains were discovered along the East River shoreline in January. DNA testing confirmed the identity of the body, and an investigation continues into the cause of death.
According to Senator Schumer, the tracking equipment is “a high-tech solution to an age-old problem.” Research indicates that nearly 50 percent of children with autism are prone to wandering or bolting, often to get away from noises that overstimulate them. Many are drawn to bodies of water because they seem soothing, which creates a significant drowning risk.
New York Contact:
Maria M. Brill
Littman Krooks LLP
New York City Office
655 Third Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, New York 10017
(212) 490-2020 Phone
399 Knollwood Road
White Plains, New York 10603
(914) 684-2100 Phone
300 Westage Business Center Drive, Suite 400
Fishkill, NY 12524
(845) 896-1106 Phone
View Larger Map
- Summer Extended School Year Programs for Children with Disabilities
By Marion M. Walsh, Esq. The end of the school year can bring relief for many students and parents, but also uncertainty and trepidation about the summer months. The new school year technically beings on July 1, 2015, although most students will not begin school until September. Many students do regress academically, behaviorally or emotionally […]
- Trusts and Your Heir with Special Needs
Trusts are a common estate planning tool and are used to keep assets out of a probated estate or to reduce an estate tax burden. Trusts can also be used to protect one’s heirs. There are instances when it may not be in a person’s own best interests to inherit funds directly. A direct inheritance […]
- How Much Does It Cost Appoint a Guardian?
By Bernard A. Krooks, Esq. Clients often ask us how much it will cost to get a guardian appointed for a parent or other relative. It is hard to answer with precision, but it is a fair question. Let us see if we can give you some guidance. First, let’s not forget that you should […]
- Special Education Waiver Update: 2015-2016
By Stacy Sadove, Esq. Advocates and parents eagerly awaited the passage of the 2015-2016 New York State Budget. In particular, the budget proposed many changes with regard to education– through the Education, Labor & Family Assistance Bill. The modified budget passed shortly before 3am on April 1, 2015. A proposed special education waiver remained of […]
- Robot Teaches Social Skills to Children with Autism
A robot has been developed to teach children with autism about social interactions, and in some cases it has proven more successful than human therapists. Experts have long known that children with autism can find it difficult to talk with or even look directly at therapists, but they often readily engage with technology. The developers […]