The term “developmental disabilities” is used to describe any group of conditions that leads to a general sense of impairment in children, in, not only physical behavior, but also in regards to their ability to learn, their ability to communicate, and the way they ultimately behave in the world around them. Not only do these conditions usually first appear during the early stages of childhood, but they also typically last for the rest of that child’s life, too.
GPS Tracking DeviceAs stated, this is a term that can encompass a wide range of conditions, including, but not limited to, things like:

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Hearing Loss
Intellectual or Learning Disabilities
Vision Loss
Cerebral Palsy and More

Developmental Disabilities in Children: Facts and Figures

According to one recent study, these types of conditions affect about one out of every six kids between the ages of 3 and 17. That number breaks down to about 15 percent of the total population within that age group. Developmental disabilities are a struggle, to be sure — both for the kids themselves and for the parents who look after them. Unfortunately, that struggle doesn’t end with a diagnosis. In many ways, it’s just beginning.

The Increased Risks of Developmental Disabilities

Kids that fall under this category are at an increased risk for the types of issues that a lot of other children their own age don’t have to worry about. Chief among them is an increased risk of abuse or neglect. According to a recent study, kids with certain conditions like autism, spina bifida, Down syndrome and others weren’t necessarily more likely to be abused… but kids with intellectual disabilities were. Kids who also had mental or behavioral issues — like depression and anxiety or even personality disorders — fell into the same situation.

Likewise, it’s important to understand that one of the major issues that kids experience when dealing with developmental disabilities has to do with the fact that they’re failing to reach certain developmental milestones for their age group. That in itself is a term that describes the things that influence how a child plays, speaks, behaves, learns and even moves. While it’s certainly true that kids develop at their own pace, developmental milestones are generally a good guideline to know exactly how far a disability might reach.

The implications of this are severe for any parent. If a child is having difficulty learning at a rate that is similar to other kids their age, in general, it’s more difficult to teach them lessons such as, “don’t talk to strangers” or “don’t wander away from the house without a parent.” That in turn brings with it the worst-case scenario for all parents: losing track of your child entirely.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there were 464,324 FBI case files opened for missing kids during 2017 alone. During the last three decades, NCMEC’s national toll-free hotline, which was designed to help parents reconnect with these kids, has received a massive 4.8 million calls. Many of these kids have developmental disabilities and are in these situations due to factors like those outlined above. Based on that, it stands to reason that parents would want to use any available opportunity to stop these types of things from happening in the first place.

Thankfully, these days, those opportunities are plentiful, thanks in no small part to the rate at which modern technology continues to advance. Case in point: GPS trackers. Even as recently as a decade ago, GPS trackers were essentially used for one basic purpose: to provide you with turn-by-turn directions between any two points in your car. They were big, bulky and expensive standalone units that you purchased and kept locked safely in your vehicle when you weren’t using them.

Flash forward to today, and there are specialized GPS trackers designed for nearly every type of purpose you might have… including to keep your kids with developmental disabilities safe and sound at all times. Not only that, but these are powerful devices that you can purchase for a few hundred dollars (or less) in most cases right from your web browser.

At the same time, it’s critical to know that no two GPS trackers for kids with developmental disabilities are created equally. If you truly want to make sure that you’re buying the right unit — the one that will be able to protect you and your loved ones when you need it the most — there are a number of absolutely essential features you’re going to want to know more about.

GPS Trackers for Kids With Developmental Disabilities: What You Need to Know

For starters, the importance of buying a device designed for kids with developmental disabilities — as opposed to just devices designed for kids in general — cannot be overstated enough. Many different kid-centric GPS tracking options exist, but a lot of them require your child to interact with them in some way.

GPS Tracking Device

If your child is ever in a dangerous situation and needs to quickly get help, for example, they could use the included SOS button to contact you. A child with a physical disability like cerebral palsy, however, might not have that option. A lot of the GPS tracking devices designed for developmentally disabled kids use voice commands to help make their control and operation as easy as possible. This is absolutely a feature that you should look for.

Beyond that, it’s also important to remember that at the end of the day, you’re still dealing with a small child. You can’t give them something as complicated as a modern-day smartphone and expect them to properly use it. These devices need to be simple and discreet — ideally, something you can attach to their belt or shoe that they can forget about so you don’t have to worry about something going wrong.

Likewise, because one of the major risk for kids in these categories is the fact that they might wander away from home unexpectedly, any GPS tracker you invest in needs to have both cellular and Wi-Fi capabilities. Wi-Fi networks are everywhere, so this connectivity will absolutely help you get a more accurate location in the event that you should need it. But if your kid wanders away from a place with a Wi-Fi network, you still need to be able to see exactly where they are. Not only will cellular connectivity do that, but you’ll be able to check in on them at any time from any device (either a desktop computer or something like a smartphone) on earth with an active internet connection. The peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re only a few quick mouse clicks away from seeing your child’s current location is often more than worth the initial purchase price.

Finally, kids tend to play pretty hard — so any GPS tracker you buy should be able to withstand anything life (and your little ones) can throw at it. Look for GPS trackers that are encased in rubber, hard plastic or other durable materials so that this is yet another in a long line of things you don’t have to worry about.

Understand Your Options

Based on all of that, there are a few key products available on the market today that are absolutely viable options for parents looking for GPS tracking options for their kids with developmental disabilities. One of those is called AngelSense, which was first introduced in 2014 and was recently upgraded to bring even more features to kids with special needs.

Whenever your child leaves the boundaries you’ve defined for them — be it your home while you’re at work or their school’s grounds — you will get an instant text alert letting you know exactly what is going on. You can even get a real-time map of bus routes, transit stops and other location-based information to help you get to your child as quickly as possible.

Additionally, AngelSense includes a unique two-way communication feature that lets you listen in on what is going on with kids who might have difficulty speaking. If you’re worried that your child might be getting bullied, for example, you can listen in and get a better picture of the situation. Likewise, you can always use the device to talk to your kids at any time — even without their needing to pick it up or interact with it in any way.

AngelSense also includes a number of other features that are worthwhile on a day-to-day basis. You can see where your kid’s school bus is at all times, for example, and you can learn more about the vehicle’s current speed. You can even set reminders for yourself so that you know exactly when your child is expected to get home. If something should happen on their way back to your house, you can snap into action as quickly as possible.

At the time it debuted, AngelSense was the only GPS and voice-monitoring solution designed for these groups — thankfully, more have entered the field since that time. These include but are certainly not limited to things like:

  • Pocket Finder, which is a small device that kids can put in their pocket to give you access to real-time, location-based information by way of a free mobile app or web browser.
  • Filip. This is a small mobile device designed for kids with developmental disabilities between the ages of 5 and 11 that they can wear on their wrist just like a watch. It’s got a lot of the same features of a product like AngelSense, including two-way communication, and it can store a list of up to five trusted contacts and more.
  • Be Luvv Guardian, which is another wearable device that is as rugged and durable as it is powerful. If your child should ever go missing, you can immediately launch a search via the included Guardian app that, via the service’s vast network, can significantly decrease the time it takes to find your child.
  • And more.

In the end, it’s certainly true that kids with developmental disabilities and their parents have a difficult battle ahead of them — but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, that battle just got a whole lot easier. If you’re a parent who is concerned that their special needs child might wander away, or that they’re being bullied at school, or that they may find themselves in any other kind of difficult situation, devices like those on the list above and the best practices outlined here will go a long way toward making sure that these are the types of situations that you do NOT find yourself in.