Schumer: Tracking device help for kids with autism is included in federal budget


Trevyan Rowe was a special needs student who had autism. Following the disappearance and death of Rowe, there are now possible changes on the federal level to help locate children with autism who are prone to wandering. 

Dan Whalley has a 9-year-old son, Danny, who has autism. With wandering a constant worry, securing their home is only just one step. 

“We actually have a tracking device on him. A band on his shoe that gives personal information to him,” said Whalley. 

Not all families have this, but today Senator Chuck Schumer announced good news:  a bill called “Kevin and Avonte’s Law,” will be added to the federal budget . The bill will give grants for wearable personal tracking devices, like a wrist watch, for kids who have autism. 

“That “Kevin and Avonte’s Law,” is going to be included in the federal budget is just an incredible, wonderful feeling,” said Rachel Rosner from AutismUp.

So how do the tracking devices work? When users of the device are missing, the caregiver/school system notifies the device company and an emergency team responds to the area.

“It will tell emergency personnel who he is, where he lives, what his phone number is,” explained Whalley. 

Mary Cariola Children’s Center held an event today featuring alarms and signs to notify loved ones,when a kid wanders off preventing a parent’s worst fear.  Rosner says the timing of this announcement could not be better.

“This will make everything that we’re talking about, be able to be afforded by agencies and schools,” she said. 

Mary Cariola, played a personal role in this as well.

“We hosted the press conference that Senator Schumer had where he talked about the tracking devices and resources that could be made available to families,” said Keri Lazenby Neathawk, with Mary Cariola Children’s Center.  

Supporters add, tracking won’t completely stop wandering, but anything that can help prevent the heart break of a family; is worth it.

According to Schumer’s announcement, recovery time for Project Lifesaver, one of the companies, averages around 30 minutes,  which is 95 percent less time than it takes to find those without these tracking devices.  Schumer adds, these life-saving devices are currently only offered in about two-thirds of New York State’s counties.

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