The risk of elopement (wandering) for autistic children is a reality and fear that many parents live with. It’s one of our worst nightmares. Wandering can mean bolting off while in the care of a responsible person, or running out of a secured environment (home, school) while nobody is watching. While not all autistic people wander off, many do. What makes wandering even more dangerous is when the autistic person is non-verbal, with limited communications skills or when their safety awareness is extremely impaired. This makes for an extremely critical situation, sadly though, with many ending in tragedy.
One story immediately comes to mind and that is Avonte Oquendo. Avonte wandered off from his school during lunch hour on October 4, 2013. He was found dead a few months later in the East River. I prayed for this young boy and his family so much because I knew this could easily have been my child. It could have been anybody’s child.
One person that I have recently had the pleasure of connecting with had his own personal experience with elopement. While vacationing in Florida with his family, Tony Fama’s autistic son had wandered off at a popular theme park. He was eventually located safe and sound.
Mr. Fama’s personal and stressful incident had birthed an idea and desire to help other families that live with the same situation. He wanted to create something that would help families and caregivers keep track of those they love dearly.
In 2012 Mr. Fama introduced TRiLOC™, a GPS watch for Autism and Alzheimer’. When speaking with Mr. Fama you can’t help but notice his excitement for this product. An idea that was born out of his own personal experience quickly grew into the need to help others and give back to the community. His passion and drive is palpable. You can read more about Mr. Fama and TRiLOC™ here.
TRiLOC™ is the only wrist-worn GPS watch using 3G/4G cellular and Bluetooth 4.0 technologies. This means that alerts come through within seconds rather than minutes. This is extremely critical when elopement occurs, as every second counts in finding our loved ones safe and sound.
Here are more features:
• WATERPROOF up to 1M
• Lockable clasp, with tamper alert
• Battery life of over 2 days on a 90 minute charge
• SOS / Check-in button (with disable feature)
• Wandering prevention technology
• Two-Way Voice
• Easy tracking set-up system for the caregivers via web or Smart Apps for iOS on Android phones
• A standalone solution – does not require a base station
• Fall detection technology
• Wireless connectivity
• Airplane Mode
• Over-speed alert
• OTA (over the air) software updates
• The capability to work over 2G, 3G or 4G networks: This is important because:
• 2G, which will no longer be available in less than 30 months time rendering all other units obsolete.
TRiLOC™ sells for $399.99 with a monthly service plan of $29.99 that includes unlimited data and voice calls ($0.75/minute).
Last year TRiLOC™ GPS watch won the 2013 MedTrade Providers Choice Award for “New Product that best exemplifies Optimal Use of Technology”. For more news and progress that TRiLOC™ has made in such a short amount of time, I encourage you to visit their website here.
As mentioned earlier, TRiLOC™ is also beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s or other individuals that have an increased risk for wandering.
Mr. Fama is the parent of an autistic adult son. He completely understands the challenges, joys and unexpected adventures we face on a daily basis. When designing TRiLOC™, he knew exactly what was required because he personally lived through the experience of elopement with his own son. I couldn’t think of a better person to create a GPS like this one, other than someone who has walked the path and experienced the journey.
Personal GPS locators are specifically designed to help protect people who cannot protect themselves; the vulnerable who do not have the language skills to communicate or when the cognitive understanding of safety and danger is significantly impaired.
For some, it could mean the difference between life and death.
I leave you with this short video of TRiLOC™
Thanks for stopping by…