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Reasons to get a tracking device for your children, especially if they have autism:
You’re at the park watching your 18-month-old dig in the sand. You reach into your beach tote to retrieve a water bottle, glance back to check on your toddler, and she isn’t there. Your eyes quickly scan the grassy perimeter, your heart begins to palpitate, and you tell yourself to stay calm while you ask for help. Every second brings increasing anxiety, until the moment when your child is, at last, safe and in your arms again.
It’s every parent’s nightmare: the disappearance of a small child.
For many parents of autistic kids, such as scenario is not uncommon.
Children with autism often behave impulsively, and as a result, there are high incidences of autistic children wandering off and going missing, such as the case with two-year-old Adam Benhamma of Quebec, Canada, diagnosed with autism, partial deafness, and speech difficulties.
For peace of mind, many parents of children with autism spectrum disorder invest in a tracking device to locate their kids at all times. There is a variety of child locating devices to meet your needs. Some operate over a 150-foot range, and are practical for the mall, while others feature high-tech GPS positioning and emergency alarm for round-the-clock security. Similarly, prices can range from $40.00 and on into the hundreds.
Regardless of which tracking system you use, please keep in mind that no electronicdevice works properly without fully charged batteries. Make a habit of checking your battery pack every day, and keep a backup supply of replacement batteries handy.
Below is a review of 8 popular tracking devices for autistic children:
LiveView is one of the leading manufacturers of quality GPS devices, and for good reason. While most GPS trackers receive a weak signal or fail completely while indoors, the LiveViewGPS Covert GPS Tracker continues to operate efficiently in underground parking structures, from inside elevators, or even in high-rise buildings. It has a long battery life of 10-30 days per charge, and can be accessed remotely via the internet. $799.99 plus subscription plan.
The WorldTracker Endure GPS Tracker is one of the smallest, lightest, and most competitively priced security devices of its caliber. It’s waterproof, uses real-time GPS, and has a battery life of 5-10 days. It costs $240.00 for device, plus $49.95 per month for tracking service.
Care Trak, Inc. offers a home security plan that will notify you any time your child leaves the designated Care Trak Perimeter System. Their Mobile Locater tracking unit covers a one-mile radius and measures signal strength coming from the waterproof transmitter. The Care Trak Wrist Transmitter operates on radio frequency. This is not a GPS device, nor does it communicate with cell phone networks. Contact Care Trak for pricing at 1-800-842-4537
Your kid will love this cool-looking watch/GPS tracking device. For ages 3-12, the GPS Child Locator is compatible with Google Street Maps and network coverage such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Network Partners. Battery life is only good for 3-8 hours, so it’s best used for outings at the park. Unit is $199.99, and available in black and hot pink.
The compact Amber Alert GPS 2G is the smallest GPS tracking device around. It comes with a tiny carrying pouch that clips easily onto backpacks and threads onto shoelaces. Receive alerts on your AT&T or T-Mobile cell phone. It’s only con is that it’s slightly less sensitive than many of the more expensive, larger models. Prices vary by plan.
While not technically a tracking device, the Safetytat has a convenience and practicality that is worth mentioning. Choose from the original custom-designed tattoos, Quick Stick Write-On’s, or the new Safetytat QR, which utilized QR (Quick Response) codes. All tattoos are sweat-proof and waterproof. Just $9.99 for 6-pack of Write-On tattoos.
The cute Mommy I’m Here tracking device is a popular alternative to a child leash, which many parents find awkward. The teddy bear’s receiver emits a virtual tether that covers a 150-foot range, and will alert you when you child wanders more than 15 feet away from its keychain transmitter. $39.99
Here are some sensational stories of autistic children who found solace through animal therapy. Have you hugged your Horse today?
Meet Rowan. Diagnosed with autismat the age of two, Rowan used to have 12 toddler temper tantrums per day. But unlike typical temper tantrums experienced by non-autistic kids, these fits were explosive and potentially harmful. It was all his parents, Rupert and Kristin Isaacson, could do to keep him from injuring himself: stay calm, keep him secure and hope.
Mama horse “adopts” boy
Then, an amazing thing happened. While on a walk with his dad, Rowan came across a small group of horses who were grazing outside their property in Elgin, Texas. Rowan impetuously ran towards them and flung himself on the ground underneath their bodies, a move that could have resulted in debilitating injuries or death. Then, the old mare of the pack, Betsy, casually sauntered over and, using her muzzle, gently “elbowed” all the horses away from the small boy.
On the backs of horses
It became clear to Rupert, a long-time horse trainer, that Betsy might be the answer to their prayers. He began taking Rowan on horseback rides around the area, and found that the horses’ swaying canter had a relaxing, therapeutic effect on Rowan. The boy who used to have meltdowns every hour of the day at home became content and focused on the back of a horse. Incorporating applied behavioral analysis in their homeschooling program, Rupert and his wife cured their son of his symptoms of autism, if not the disability itself. Today, their Horse Boy Foundationexists to help low-income families affected by autistic spectrum disorder receive horse therapy.
The Isaacson’s story is just one example of many families who successfully utilized animal therapy in treating their children with autism.
Animals provide autistic children with unconditional love
Recently, a Santa Ana, California judge awarded permission for Caleb Ciriacks, a first-grade autistic boy, to take his service dog, a golden retriever named Eddy, to school next semester when he begins second grade.
Many other such stories abound, like the one about Richard, the autistic son of a widower, who found his words through cat therapy. Or the 15-year old autistic kids, twins in Doncaster, U.K., who learned how to cope with their Asperger’s syndrome by training bunny rabbits for pet shows.
Can a simple questionnaire pick up signs of autism in your baby?
A 5-minute screening test could warn you if your baby has any of the signs of autismor autism spectrum disorder, from as early as 12 months of age, which, on the heels of Autism Awareness Month, is good news for parents everywhere.
Scientific study buys parents and children more time to get treatment
Recently, researchers tested a questionnaire designed to diagnose autism on 10,500 children in San Diego, California.
The study was led by Dr. Karen Pierce, neuroscientist at the University of San Diego School of Medicine, and involved 137 pediatricians in the San Diego area.
Parents who brought their children in for their 12-month checkups were asked to fill out a 24-part survey which inquired about their children’s emotional health, communicational abilities and eye contact.
Out of the 10,500 toddlers tested, 32 were diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder.
Also, 100 children were diagnosed with language-related disorders or delays.
Children whose parents participated in this study were able to begin treatment as early as 19 months of age.
According to theJournal of Pediatrics, most children don’t begin to show noticeable signs of autism such as eye contact avoidance until the age of 2 or 3. Another study suggests that autistic children don’t usually get diagnosed before the age of 5 or 6. This simple checklist means that autistic children will be able to be diagnosed and start receiving therapy for autism as many as 1 to 5 years earlier.
What kinds of questions were used to detect autism?
In this study, parents of toddlers were asked to answer questions such as:
Do you know when your child is happy and when your child is upset?
Does your child do things just to get you to laugh?
Does your child wave to greet people?
When you call your child’s name, does he/she respond by looking or turning toward you?
Does your child smile or laugh while looking at you?
What symptoms of autism were included in this test?
The checklist given to parents of 1-year-olds was designed to detect autism, autism spectrum disorder, delays in communication and other developmental issues. Symptoms of autism include:
difficulty communicating, both verbally and nonverbally
low attention span
obsessive compulsive behavior, such as fixations on certain objects, repeating words or phrases, body rocking and hand flapping
difficulty being in a group or social gathering
avoidance of eye contact
difficulty bathing, grooming, feeding and dressing oneself
How effective was the survey at diagnosing autism?
According to Dr. Pierce, the survey was wrong only 1 out of 4 times- meaning it was 75% accurate at diagnosing children with autism, autism spectrum disorder or other language problems. Currently, approximately 1 out of every 110 children exhibit some of the symptoms of autism or autism spectrum disorder.
Many researchers and physicians confirm that vitamin B12 supplementation is an effective treatment for some of the symptoms of autism, including anxiety, depression and digestive disorders. Numerous studies have indicated a high correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and autistic behaviors.
April is National Autism Awareness Month; numerous charity foundations have been in full force this month raising funds for autism research in the hope of finding some cures for the many symptoms of autism. On the flip side, it’s also important direct some focus on some of the non-autistic children in the world, including the siblings and classmates of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome.
Here is a list of books which may be read to non-autistic children to help them better understand the struggles autistic kids go through, and the many ways they are just like you and me. Also included are some excellent guides for parents or educators of autistic children.
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopmann: this picture book used playful and colorful photos of kittens to illustrate some of the attributes of children with Asperger’s, drawing on research which proves that autistic children who have difficulty interacting with peers often find comfort with animals. Also by the same author: All Dogs Have ADHD.
The Butterfly’s Flight: A Story About Autism And Hope, by Heather Porazzo: Baby butterfly was reluctant to come out of his safe cocoon, but with some help from his loving parents, friends and neighbors he slowly emerges into the big and sometimes overstimulating world.
Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence, by Luke Jackson: It’s hard enough being a teenager; add Asperger’s Syndrome and four teenage siblings to the hormonal mixture, and you have a sometimes witty and always enlightening story of a teenager who comes to terms with Asperger’s Syndrome and being “different.”
What’s Wrong with Timmy? By news anchor Maria Shriver, a sensitive picture book about 8-year-old Kate, who meets a boy with autism and finds that he is not so much different from her in the ways that really matter.
Rules, by Cynthia Lord: for grade school children, Catherine tries to teach her younger autistic brother David some “rules” of behavior so he won’t embarrass her in front of her friends, but she ends up learning a few rules for herself.
The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s, by Temple Grandin: Recently the subject of a feature film in which she was portrayed by Claire Danes, Grandin gets to the root of the matter in this honest, no-nonsense inside look at what autism is…and what it isn’t. Includes helpful strategies, tips and research.
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Most of us know somebody who has been “touched” by autism, either a mom mainstreaming her child, diagnosed with Autism-Spectrum Disorder, into the public school system, a neighbor who teaches special ed classes for kids with autism, or perhaps a nephew with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The Autism Society has been celebrating April as National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s; their goal is to better educate the public about autism and the people it affects. The Autism Society site has many links to help you get actively involved in the community and support the rights of children with autism.
Find state-specific resources to help you find the appropriate educational services and community support available to you and your autistic child. The Autism PDD site also includes disability resources, legal resources and financial resources.
The Autism Research Institute offers information to families, educators and health providers about all the most recent scientific advancements regarding autism and innovative treatments and learning programs.
Kids Health is a kids’ landing base for all things related to children with autism, and it’s organized in a straight-forward yet bright format with lots of kid appeal. Tweens and young adults can easily navigate this site to find out everything they might have been wondering about autism.
The Daily Strength is an online forum for parents or educators of kids with autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder; their site also has links to related health blogs, expert advice and ongoing discussions.