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This Phone App For Autism Parents Is Saving Wandering Children’s Lives

Having a child wander off and getting lost is a parent's worst nightmare. For many parents of kids on the autism spectrum, that feeling is all too common; children with autism have a tendency to “elope.” Thankfully, a life-saving app and wireless device can help parents and children. In fact, AngelSense has already saved the lives of a few kids since its inception in 2014.

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How AngelSense Works

AngelSense, created by two dads who have children with autism, works to circumvent wandering in several ways. The technology uses a GPS tracker that attaches to a child's clothing or belt. The device can't be removed unless a parent uses a special magnetic key. If a child has a tendency to take clothing off, one device comes with a belt that can't be removed without the key. The GPS links to a smartphone app that uses several information points to keep parents updated about their child's location.

Any deviation from a normal route creates an alert on the smartphone. A feature added in January 2016 lets parents notify first responders with the click of a button. When a child wanders off, finding him becomes a race against time. AngelSense seeks to get help to the wandering child as fast as possible.

Success Stories

AngelSense saved the lives of at least three children in 2015 alone. When a 15-year-old girl with Asperger's syndrome was kidnapped, the AngelSense app alerted the girl's mother that she was not on her normal route. The mother used the listen-in feature on the tracker to determine the attacker was trying to sexually assault her daughter. Once the kidnapper realized the girl had a tracker, he returned the teen to her neighborhood.

Another harrowing situation occurred in The Bronx when 17-year-old Hanzel wandered off for seven hours, traveling partly via New York commuter train, in December 2015. Hanzel's mother, Lency Nunez, says AngelSense allowed first responders in New York to find her son at 3 a.m. after he came above ground at a subway station. The GPS tracker saved Hanzel's life after he wandered onto the streets of New York in the late night hours.

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GPS locators and trackers are great devices to help find children with autism who wander away from their parents. Unfortunately, many parents may not be able to afford this type of piece of mind. Help find a lost kid with autism by checking out the FOUND program.

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