Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you the safety of their child is the most important thing. Because of this, a missing child is a parent’s biggest concern. For parents who have children on the autism spectrum, this worry is even more pressing, as children with autism have a tendency to wander.
And sometimes, simply tracking a child with autism’s whereabouts isn’t enough — particularly when their imminent safety is at stake.
But now, a new app and wearable device, called AngelSense, has a new feature for emergency situations, called First Responder Alert. The new feature not only alerts parents on the location of their child but provides them with data on how long it will take them to get to certain location.
The app’s GPS tracking system and alert features were developed by Doron Somer and Nery Ben-Azar, parents who each have children with autism spectrum disorders. The app came about when they both decided to create a way to keep track of where their children were.
The app comes with a wearable GPS tracker, small enough to fit in a pocket or attach to an item of clothing via a magnet. As the wearer moves about, the tracker collects their location data every 10 seconds, sending text alerts to parents when the tracker senses movement.
Additionally, the device has a microphone that helps parents to better understand the environment their child is currently in.
The app also has mapping capabilities. With one swipe, parents are able to pull up Google Street View images and directions to where their children are, and they are able to send contacts the information as needed.
AngelSense could potentially save the lives of many children on the autism spectrum. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 50 school-age children are diagnosed autism. A 2012 study reported that 49% of parents of children with autism said their child had wandered or attempted to run away after the age of four. Wandering can quickly escalate to danger — in 2015, the National Autism Association recorded 32 wandering-related deaths.
“I know exactly how families feel and have experienced [this before],” co-founder Ben-Azar told Mashable.