Listener Supported Public Media from Fordham University

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tunein
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • RSS

NY State Senator Schumer Calls for Program to Help Monitor Children with Autism

by Kelsey Schappell

Kelsey Schappell, WFUV

One month after 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo bolted from his Queens middle school, advocates call upon the Department of Justice to help monitor children in such situations.

Bronxite Kpana Kpoto has a 6-year-old son with Autism.
"My son has bolted in the street before. It was just by the grace of God that he's alive today," said Kpoto. "Wandering is a real issue in the Autism community. It is something that parents like myself wonder about all the time." 
It’s because of situations like Kpoto's and Oquendo's that Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on the Department of Justice to fund a program to provide tracking devices for autistic children. The proposal is similar to programs already in place that track people with Alzheimer's or dementia. 
Schumer said the tracking devices will reduce the time it takes to find a missing child by nearly 90 percent, giving parents peace of mind.
"No matter how many eyes are watching the child, it only takes one turn of the head, one blink of an eye, for a child to bolt," he said. 
If the program were to be instated, devices would range in size and shape. Some could be put in a child's shoe or pocket, or worn like a wrist watch. The program would be completely voluntary, and would be run by local police departments.


WFUV News and Public Affairs

From interviews with newsmakers to features about local issues, the WFUV News team keeps listeners informed about the Tri-State area. Learn more.
How are we doing? Take our WFUV News survey.