HOUSTON - KHOU 11 News is digging deeper for solutions for families raising children with special needs.
Our search comes after 9-year-old, Marcus Mcghee, a child with autism wandered off his uncle and former Rockets player, Marcus Camby’s property, Thursday. Police recovered the boy’s body Saturday morning in Pearland near Camby’s house.
Nationwide, parents like Dayann McDonough are turning to technology to safeguard her two boys, Douglass and Donovan. Both boys have autism and a history of breaking out of the house and wandering.
“It’s a very small device. It’s similar in size to the old pagers,” said McDonough. “You just pin it on to your child but it can only be removed with a special magnet.”
Devices like Angelsense send McDonough a text or email when her children leave home. She can track where they are and where they stop, like at school.
“Then it lets me know he arrived at school,” said McDonough.
If an alert says Douglas or Donovan is wandering, their location is tracked by Angelsense GPS. The live tracking and warning system gives emergency responders a priceless head-start to avoid tragedy.
Getting that kind of tracking technology into the hands of parents or even school has been a lengthy process. Federal legislation like ‘Avonte’s Law’ have been sitting in Washington since 2013.
The bill is named in honor of Avonte Oquendo and Kevin Willis, two boys who died after wandering, The bill would allocate funding to the appropriate agencies for more training programs and autism education. If approved, the law also provides access to resources for individuals who’ve become separated from their caregivers. Additionally, local tracking technology will be made available if the individual has gone missing.
The bill currently awaits a vote from the House of Representatives and a presidential signature before it becomes a law.