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New law could help parents with autistic children get GPS devices

By: Deven Clarke

DUBOIS, Pa. -- It's a common thing for all parents to want: To make sure their children are safe. However that can become a big challenge for parents of children with special needs, like autism. Now, a law proposed by a New York legislator could help parents with autistic children better keep track of them.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer has proposed legislation that would help families with autistic children work with local police departments to get tracking devices to better keep their children safe.

The program could cost up to $10 million, but parents like Stacy Hanzely, of DuBois, who has twin boys with autism and Down syndrome, support the program.

"We have fenced in our backyard, we have door alarms on," she said.  "Even with those barriers, they left."

Data from the National Autism Assocation shows 49 percent of autistic children wander off. That's four times higher than their siblings who do not have autism.

The proposed law comes after an autistic New York state teenager left a school and was found dead days after he was reported missing. His family believed tracking devices would have helped find him and kept him alive.

Tonight on 6 News at 5, Deven Clarke takes a look at the proposed legislation and breaks down the costs and shares local parents' stories as they work with their autistic children to keep them safe.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times