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Tracking devices are not the whole answer for children with autism

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Gifts come with responsibilities. The New York Times, The US Will Finance Tracking Devices for Children With Autism. Supported by Senator Charles Schumer and a plea from Avonte Oquendo's family, legislation will be called for. The senator had put the cost of each monitor at about $85, plus a few dollars in monthly fees.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. My own son, who has autism, and does have language, cannot bear the tags that are located in the back of his shirts. It is a tactile defensive issue that many children with autism suffer. He simply takes a scissors and cuts out the tags. Our story (here).

Tactile defensiveness is a common problem for children with autism. Cutting off a tracking device does not only defeat the purpose for safety, it does not address the need for community education. First responders, school staff, maintenance staff, security staff must be educated.

Lastly, every child has the ability to learn. Behavioral intervention, may work in helping children accept wearing a tracking device. All in all, this is not a one stop fix. In a perfect world, $85. should make everything all right. Not so, with the vast population and range of individuals living with autism.

A child should not have to die, for the nation to take notice. May Avonte Oquendo's death not be forgotten. Ten years ago, people may not have known someone who had autism; now, it is your neighbor, friend, family, schoolmate, co-worker, or teacher.

We have much to learn.



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