Last night, the wife and I were sitting around after the kids went to bed, checking out the news while playing around on Facebook. (Though, when did this become a thing, a married couple sitting in the same room, both perusing their own Facebook accounts on separate laptops?) Due to the groups that we’re in on Facebook and elsewhere, we were reading quite a bit about the search for Avonte Oquendo.
And that brought us back to the incident two weeks ago in our own lives.
The real reason is that we’re very lucky that we didn’t end up in the same situation as his parents. (See Security Matters.)
There are a lot of parallels right now for us – in both cases, the child got away from caregivers and the disappearance wasn’t noticed. In both cases, the child got out of the school and into a far less secured area. In our case, we’re fortunate that he was only going to the bus, taken there by another person… but still. (And I imagine, if they have any common sense, Baltimore City Public Schools is watching the case in New York and thanking their lucky stars that the Monster was found so quickly.)
And that led us into the discussion about the fact that we’re just essentially getting warning after warning that our child could wander off at any time, and that no one’s going to notice unless we’re eternally on guard… which is exhausting.
So now we’re debating a GPS tracker for the Monster.
I’m still not really sure that I like the idea of a tracking device on him – be it a watch or something else that’s attached to his clothing. (I’d not be sticking it in his bag, since I can’t guarantee that he’ll have his bag with him out and about.) But at this point, there are enough examples of children with Autism wandering off that it’s a real concern for us. Like the missing child in NYC, the Monster is mostly non-verbal – he’s not guaranteed to respond properly to a prompt for his name, barely knows his last name, and does not know his phone number or address. While many of his clothes have his name and my wife’s cellphone number in them, not all of them do, and many folks aren’t going to think to look in his shoe or the back of his shirt. And that doesn’t even deal with the possibility of his simply stepping into traffic.
I have a feeling that before the new year, we’ll be technology shopping, that’s all.