U.S. Senators Putting Tracking Devices On Children With Autism To Prevent Early Death [VIDEO]
People with autism have the tendency to wander away and get lost in the process. More often than not, they end up in unfamiliar places that may endanger their safety or worse, kill them. This is why some senators in the United States have proposed to put tracking devices on students with the condition so their guardians can locate them in case they went missing.
When children with autism wander away, they naturally gravitate towards bodies of water because it relaxes and fascinates them. How light sparkles in the water attracts these kids and since they don't feel fear or understand the real implications of danger, they have no trepidation in getting dangerously close to ponds or rivers that can eventually lead to accidental drowning.
Jennifer Smith, president of the Autism Society of the Heartland in Kansas, Texas, said that children with the developmental condition are certain and adamant in their destinations (e.g. ponds, a certain corner of the street or the neighbor's dog, among others), KCTV5 reported. Oftentimes, these kids have trouble communicating verbally so they can't call for help when their safety is being compromised.
Such are the cases of Avonte Oquendo and Kevin Curtis, young autistic boys who tragically drowned in bodies of water in 2015. To help prevent this type of accidents from happening, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer co-sponsored SB 2614, and New Jersey Rep. Christopher Smith led House Bill 4919, according to the School Transportation News.
Both bills will provide financial support to prevent students with autism wandering away from safe environments. They will do this by putting tracking devices on autistic children, and educating and training school personnel about how these kids see the world differently due to their condition. Students will also learn basic safety and swimming skills so they can save themselves when their wanderings become too dangerous.
Schools' transportation staff such as school bus drivers must be trained in how to handle students with the condition, too. It is their responsibility to divert autistic children from wandering away and set up specific routes to accommodate them.
Children and young people with the condition are 40 times more likely to die from injuries (accidental drowning and traffic mishaps) than their counterparts who don't have the disability, KTLA5 noted. Other causes of death are epilepsy, suicide, cancer and heart problems. These people's life expectancy is only 36 years old, while the general population is 72.