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How Technology Helped Save My Son from Abuse

This is a post by Doron Somer, father to Itamar, a 17-year-old sweet child with Autism, and co-founder of AngelSense, a safety device for children with special needs.

I'd like to share how I was recently able to identify abusive behavior towards my son and improve his well-being. Our children are vulnerable and naive and we must protect them! The technology to assist in that is available.

This year, we had a new driver for Itamar’s school bus service to school. The driver seemed a bit aggressive, but the previous driver couldn’t handle our son so we have agreed to have this driver, even though we were nervous for the change. Itamar was giving us a tough time in the morning but since he always has difficulties with changes, and since the driver was able to manage with him, we accepted the acting out as a consequence of the switch.

I used the Listen-In capability of the Guardian GPS while Itamar was on the school bus, and I couldn’t hear Itamar speaking so I assumed he had relaxed during the ride while playing on his iPad.

Recently, after the driver had been out on sick leave, he returned to work and things went downhill. Itamar became nervous and started to self-injure. We were very concerned but as school staff had recently some changes due to the summer program, we attributed Itamar’s behavior to that.

We started listening in to the ride to school more carefully, especially the boarding time. The system alerts us when Itamar left school so we knew when exactly to start listening.

What we heard was shocking to us. The driver was yelling at Itamar, as he was entering the bus: "Shut up! Put your earphones on and don’t speak!". We were horrified. This is why Itamar was not speaking during the entire ride to school!

Immediately, I called the bus service and told them that from now on I would be driving Itamar until they found another driver. They insisted that the driver was ok, but this time I was empowered with real insights and I knew what was going on, I was very assertive. In the past, I would only have my suspicions but in this case, I knew exactly what was going on.

We got the new driver and Itamar was immediately better, it was simply amazing! Now, he runs to the bus every morning, happy again to be going to school.

Our special children need our protection. Since they cannot effectively share what they go through, assistive technology such as AngelSense that helps us understand how they are being treated is key in making sure they are safe and well cared-for.

One parent said about AngelSense: AngelSense has provided me with the ability to locate my son at any time, even in the densely crowded landscape of New York City. I use the diary feature to make sure Jaeden arrives at school safely and use the listen-in feature every day to hear his interaction with his teachers and friends at school. Once he’s home, we go over the diary together and I show him the Google map pictures of where he’s been that day; it’s a special time where we talk about his day together."

Learn more about AngelSense and Doron's story here!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.