Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Clinic Notes: Do You Know Where Your Child with Autism Is?

Every year one or two of the kids with autism who comes to my clinic gets lost. Mom is carrying in the groceries and thinks her child is behind her, but they have darted off someplace. Or a child with autism can't sleep and gets up during the night and wanders out of the house. I caution parents about security and double locks on the doors, but some child always gets away. A civic organization in my community brought GPS bracelets for all of the children with autism who live in the county and a GPS tracker for the Sheriff Department and that has helped a lot. But some of the children don't get the bracelets or take them off and get lost. So far all have been found safe, but tragedies have been reported in other communities.
Google upgraded its mobile maps and tracking people who have a mobile phone is now going to be as easy as surfing the internet. Of course, some type of sensor will have to be made available for children with autism, hopefully something they can't take off easily, but that shouldn't be a big problem. I don't know how many children with autism are lost each year and drown or suffer some injury or other fatality each year. If this new Google technology saves just one child it would be worth it. And I wouldn't be surprised if Google would foot the bill.

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