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Personal GPS Saves Autistic Teen In Bronx
When it comes to safety technology, personal GPS monitoring solutions are becoming more commonplace. One mother in the Bronx knows this firsthand as she credits a live GPS locator in helping her save her wandering autistic son.
All parents fear for the safety of their children but for those parents with children diagnosed with Autism the issue of personal safety is a daily battle and worry. Lency Nunez understands this all too well because her 17-year-old autistic son has constantly had an urge to wander (wandering is a fairly common behavior among those suffering from autism). However, Nunez was determined to maximize safety and therefore invested in a real-time GPS that would help her locate her son Hanzel in case he ever wandered off.
Autistic Teen Goes Missing
Literally the day Nunez received the live GPS device her son wandered off. According to the tracking history, somehow the teen wandered to a train station and made his way all the to Queens. Live GPS systems have difficulty acquiring signals if a device is underground because GPS signals can’t penetrate the concrete. This made it difficult for the GPS to determine the exact position of Hanzel until he surfaced above ground around 3 a.m. At that time the tracker was able to accurately locate Hanzel and which time police were called upon to help the autistic teen.
Hanzel, like most autistic people, has many cognitive challenges. The Bronx teen has difficulty writing and can read very little. Not to mention, he has trouble expressing himself, making emergency situations that much more complicated. His mother describes Hanzel as a “big kid” one who watches cartoons and plays with toys but to the outside world may look like an average teenager. This is part of the struggle with autistic teens because when someone sees a child wandering alone that can set off red flags, but nobody pays attention to a wandering teen even if that teen is cognitively at the same level as a 3-year-old.
Parents Turn To GPS Tracking
One of the things that Nunez first thought about when her teenage autistic son wandered off was a story about a 14-year-old teen in the local area named Avonte Oquendo. The tragic story involving Oquendo began when the autistic teen wandered out of school through a side door. Authorities searched for the teen but it was not until 3 days later when everyone’s worst nightmare came true and the teen was found deceased near the East River. The story highlighted the dangers of what can happen when a person with autism wanders off and they are not located quickly. The story also resulted in many parents with autistic children investing in personal GPS trackers to enhance safety. The Oquendo case was one of the primary reasons why Nunez invested in a real-time GPS tracking device.
Nunez credits the personal tracking system for helping the family quickly locate her son and bring him back home before anything potentially tragic could have happened.
Editor’s Note: Parents are also utilizing GPS teen tracking technology to help boost driving safety.
Sage is a freelance writer with a background in information technology.