There are many new tech companies aiming to improve the safety of people with autism who are prone to wandering through the development of wearable technology. Autism Speaks encourages families to develop a multi-faceted approach to safety for their child with autism. Technology can be one of many added layers.
Autism Speaks' Lindsay Naeder, director of the Autism Response Team, told CBS that if parents do choose wearable technology as part of their safety efforts, ideally the wearables should be waterproof, durable and offer strong battery life.
"Fifty percent of our population is prone to wandering," Naeder told CBS. "And it's not scientific, but my point of view is that the other 50 percent just haven't wandered yet."
More than 50 individuals in the autism community in the U.S. have died since 2011 while wandering away from caregivers. Of those deaths, 90 percent were drownings.
As part of Autism Speaks’ efforts to ensure the safety of the autism community, the organization has awarded $98,000 to Project Lifesaver International. Project Lifesaver serves approximately 18,000 individuals with autism who wear small personal transmitters that emit an individualized locating signal. If an enrolled person with autism wanders from safety, the caregiver notifies their local Project Lifesaver agency and a trained emergency team responds in the wanderer’s area.
Read more about Project Lifesaver here.
To search for your local Project Life Saver Agency, click here. Please note, PLI requires documentation of diagnosis and wandering risk for enrollment.
If you are seeking additional safety information or resources, the Autism Response Team is happy to help! Call us at 888-288-4762 (en Español 888-772-9050) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!