Tracking devices can help families who have children with autism

By: Megan Lowry Email
By: Megan Lowry Email

It was a story that rallied a community last week, when Scott Meyer disappeared from his Pierce County home.
This particular case was all the more urgent.. because Scott is autistic.. And doesn't talk.

Luckily, he was found by one of the numerous volunteers that came to the area to help search -- the morning after he was reported missing.
This weekend, we learned the Pierce County Sheriff's office has special bracelets they give to families who have children with specific needs.

A tracking bracelet can be a lifesaving tool because it can tell you where the child is when he or she can't.

8 year old Nathan Drinkman is much like any other boy his age he loves cars and can barely sit still

But Nathan has down-syndrome and autism making it difficult for him to communicate.

"Nathan he basically doesn't speak he can't go up to someone and say hey I'm lost and this is my phones number," says Shelley Drinkman

That's why the Drinkman's got their son a tracking bracelet.
The bracelet gives off an FM frequency--unique to only Nathan's bracelet.
It’s part of a program called 'project life saver' that st. Criox county uses.

"The reason we wanted the tracking device is because he's at the point where he can open doors himself and take off and I felt like if he did at least we could find him,” says Shelley

Drinkman says the bracelet was a huge comfort for her family because if Nathan was lost authorities could use the frequency from the bracelet to pinpoint his location much faster than a search party could.

But when the Drinkman's moved to Eau Claire--they were disapointed to find out Eau Claire County Sheriff’s department doesn't have the program.

“It’s really upsetting because there are so many kids in the area that would benefit," says Shelley

The Drinkman’s say without the bracelet they are having to take more precautions.

“If I'm not in the living room my doors are locked because I'm afraid he will get out,” says Shelley
"We are going to get an alarm on house so that it will go off if he opens a door," says Bob.

The Eau Claire County Sheriff's Department who said they have looked at program's like project life saver but hasn’t had enough requests from the community to do it.
The La Crosse County Sheriff says they used to have a similar program but got rid of it because not enough people wanted to participate.

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  • by dealingwithit on Jul 10, 2012 at 05:11 AM
    The idea of the bracelet is excellent, but, most autistic children cant stand to have anything next to their body that is rough. For most, even the seam in their soxs bother them, and only very soft fabrics can be worn, or used as bed covers. Anything binding like a pair of jeans fastened at the waist are avoided, and elastic waistbands are preferred. Whatever material is used to manufacture these bracelets has to accomadate the users comfort and sensitivity so they wont remove it.
  • by anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Jul 9, 2012 at 06:56 PM
    Sounds like a perfect start up business that could employ a few people in the area and serve a good cause at the same time, what group would turn down a small business loan for this?
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