Empowering the Special Needs Community
Is AngelSense Allowed in Schools?
Yes, AngelSense is allowed in schools nationwide. Thousands of schools across the country have not only welcomed AngelSense but fully embrace its use, especially by special needs students. Many schools have even sponsored and paid for the device as a part of complying with their school safety requirements for special needs.
The lifesaving features and peace of mind it provides parents are undeniable and schools have been very receptive to children wearing the device. When a child is prone to eloping or has other safety concerns, it is not only stressful for parents, but for teachers and school staff alike. Aside from wandering prevention, it also helps ease the anxiety that special needs children experience. A proactive safety device like AngelSense can save a child’s life. This gives parents so much peace of mind.
At the end of the day, it’s about what the child needs to be safe, secure, and happy while away from their parents. Therefore, it is very rare that a school would not allow it.
How to Overcome School Concerns
There have been a few occasions where schools were initially reluctant as new technology raises concerns of liability, but once they understand the features and how important they are, they quickly become advocates of it. Our School Liaisons are very helpful in collaborating with schools and parents to resolve these issues.
In some cases, schools are concerned about the voice features being used while the child is at school – for these cases, AngelSense offers a way to automatically turn on and off one or both of the voice features during specified school hours. There is also an optional school dashboard that allows designated teachers and staff to have control over its use.
Unique Challenges of Autistic and Special Needs Students
Many parents and teachers may not understand the necessity of a GPS tracker for kids, thinking it’s just for overly controlling, paranoid parents but this just isn’t the case. There are hundreds of thousands of children at risk of wandering, getting lost, and the dire consequences of them not being aware of danger. The latest National Survey of Children’s Health by the CDC shows that 1 in 40 children are now diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and it is a statistic that is steadily and rapidly increasing. Ten years ago 1 in 125 children were diagnosed, that’s a 68% increase! The study also shows that over half of the children with ASD are prone to wandering and it is also a known issue for other special needs children as well.
What is wandering?
In simple terms, wandering is when someone needing supervision to stay safe takes off on their own, but it is much more complex than that. In 2011 it was deemed an official diagnosis. A wandering diagnosis brings with it many challenges for parents, caregivers, and teachers. This is why autism parents created AngelSense to keep theirs and other special children safe. Running, eloping, and bolting are all terms to describe the behavior of wandering. It is not usually a slow, undirected movement as the word would suggest. Oftentimes it is a direct purposeful walk or run that happens quickly, without anyone knowing.
Why do children wander?
The reasons for wandering are numerous and various. They include anything from being fixated on getting somewhere or seeing something to a fight or flight response to escape a stressful situation. Children with Autism often have sensory sensitivities and anxiety that can make them want to flee any situation that becomes too overwhelming. When you combine this with other factors, like the fact that many of these children are unable to comprehend the danger they’re in or are not able to verbally communicate, the safety risk wandering poses is easy to understand.
AngelSense not only keeps children safe from leaving school grounds unattended, it also addresses other issues children with special needs face on a daily basis. Kids with autism and other special needs are far more likely to be the target of bullying and less likely to be able to defend themselves. They also have other behaviors like meltdowns that parents can sometimes handle more effectively than school staff. This is where the voice feature makes a huge difference, as it gives parents the ability to calm their child, hear what’s going on around them in an emergency, give the child directions or talk them out of hiding places, and be their child’s voice when they cannot speak.
Keeping Your Child Safe on the School Bus
For parents with special needs children, one of the most stressful times of the day is when their child is getting to and from school. School bus drivers and bus aides generally do not have extensive training in dealing with special needs, so there usually isn’t anyone on the bus who is able to help with their child’s unique symptoms. Parents with AngelSense are able to track the exact route, check on their child’s well-being, monitor the bus’s speed, and much more.
The intuitive alerts learn the child’s usual routes and schedule to notify parents when the bus departs, arrives, makes an unexpected stop, or is delayed. The peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly where your child is and that they not only made it to school but actually made it into the building is invaluable. AngelSense is the only GPS tracking device for kids that lets parents know that their child was left behind at the end of the day, got on the wrong school bus, was dropped off at the wrong stop, or was left on the bus. This feature alone has helped save the lives of so many children. In addition, AngelSense gives you the convenience of knowing your child’s expected time of arrival, so you can plan accordingly.
Using AngelSense to Prevent Bullying
Bullying is a problem that plagues schools and affects children of all different ages and backgrounds. Bullying can be problematic for any child. However, special needs children are at a much higher risk due to their physical and social challenges. They also aren’t as equipped to deal with bullies or get the help they need. AngelSense has helped several parents become aware of bullying, prevent it, and intervene.
As mentioned above, some special needs children are non-verbal and unable to communicate when something is wrong. A parent or teacher could have no clue what is happening between the child and other children. They can also be afraid to speak up for themselves or tell on the bully in fear of retribution. With the SOS button that lets the child request a call, the parent can use the speakerphone to become aware of what’s happening and take action.
Features Designed Especially for Schools
AngelSense is the only GPS Tracking Device for kids that has features specifically designed for schools. The purpose and mission of AngelSense is to protect children, and the place where children spend the most time away from home is at school. With this in mind, a School Dashboard was created to allow designated school guardians access to the child’s device, set and change school days and times, and disable the voice features. During school hours, the guardians will get notifications if the child leaves the school boundaries and can use a real-time, live tracking map to quickly find the child and bring them back to school. This is, of course, optional and up to the school to decide if they’d like to use the dashboard or not.
What Can You Do if Your School Doesn’t Allow Voice Features?
AngelSense has taken great care to ensure that the device complies with school regulations and policies. Although the device cannot record – therefore complying with all state and federal laws – there are some schools that do not allow the voice features. In these instances, the device can be set to automatically disable the features during customizable school days and hours. This ensures that the features are accessible when the child is going to and from school, while still adhering to the school’s requirements.
Designated School Liaisons are available to assist teachers and staff in using the dashboard and understanding the features and benefits. If you are a teacher or school administrator, learn how AngelSense can Keep Your Special Needs Students Safe.
Special Education School Requirements and Laws
There are several federal and state laws to protect students with special needs and ensure they have access to public education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires free education to those with special needs while providing extra assistance and a less restrictive environment. When possible, this allows these students to participate in activities with general school children.
Furthermore, the No Child Left Behind Act addresses school assessment and performance accountability of students, with or without disabilities. As a part of this act, schools receive incentives for demonstrating progress with special needs students. Additionally, it also allows those students who aren’t getting the support they need to find alternative options.
Although laws differ from state to state, the IDEA sets the foundation to protect special needs students. Therefore, regardless of the state, an Individualized Education Program is required. The IEP addresses special needs students’ specific goals and needs. It provides an educational plan that also addresses safety concerns. In addition, it gives parents the right to seek assistance through a neutral third party in disputes with the school.
Some of the more common issues special education teachers have to face are lack of support, budget constraints, accommodating personalized IEPs, and dealing with overprotective or uninterested parents. In addition to these issues, they are also responsible for keeping their students safe. This poses its own unique challenges when children have little to no safety awareness and a tendency to elope.
AngelSense and Your Child’s IEP
A child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) should address all of their unique requirements and include all of the things necessary to ensure the child’s educational needs are met. A part of the IEP should address safety concerns and many parents successfully include AngelSense as a “GPS device and service (assistive technology) to reduce safety risk due to eloping from school, home, and in the community.”
To learn more and to get tips on how to include AngelSense in your child’s IEP read Yes to GPS in the IEP by Special Education Advocate Julie Swanson. As a part of the IDEA, schools are required to provide supplementary aids and services. In turn, Julie also provides information on how to request funding from the school to cover the cost of the device and service plan.
AngelSense School Liaisons are available to help with this process. They have a sample doctor’s note with a wandering diagnosis and other useful information. They are also experienced in collaborating with parents, teachers, and administration to ensure AngelSense meets school policies and regulations. For more information read our AngelSense at School Quick Guide for Parents.
WATCH: Everything you need to know about using AngelSense at school
Using Voice Features at School – Benefits & Solutions
The AngelSense GPS location tracker does far more than just show your child’s location, it provides the maximum safety available with a vast array of features. As a complete safety device for special needs, it has an auto-answer speakerphone for 2-way communication.
When a child elopes the ability to tell them to stop, give them directions, or talk to adults nearby has proven to save lives, time and time again. One of the most frightening feelings in the world is not knowing where your child is. When this happens, it makes a huge difference to see where they are on a live map, speak to them, and listen in to what’s going on around them.
Additionally, the device has an SOS / Call Request button that can be pressed by the child, if they’re able. It sends the parents a notification that the child wants them to call. This feature provides so much comfort to a child away from their parents.
The AngelSense device provides some of the benefits of a cell phone, but it doesn’t offer any of the distractions like apps and messaging that could take away from the educational experience. This is why many schools with strict cell phone policies, still allow AngelSense.
What Can You Do if Your School Doesn’t Allow Voice Features?
We do understand that initially, some schools are apprehensive over the use of AngelSense. Introducing new technology can raise concerns over liability and if the features comply with school regulations and federal laws, such as HIPPA and FERPA. We do find that once schools understand the benefits AngelSense has to offer and how the voice features can be used or modified they fully welcome the device. It’s important to note that in order to comply with state and federal laws AngelSense does NOT record. Unlike cell phones, that are far more invasive, our device is not practical to use for privacy violations. Moreover, extended use of the voice features would be very expensive, as they are intended for limited use during emergency situations.
As mentioned, the voice features can easily and automatically be disabled during school hours. If school regulations prohibit voice features, we have several solutions to accommodate both parents and schools. Keeping special needs kids safe is a collaborative effort and our goal is to build relationships with schools to do just that. With this in mind, we offer our optional school dashboard. It lets parents give customizable access to designated school guardians during adjustable school times. Permissions for school guardians can be set to allow them to view the child’s location, edit school hours and days, or simply receive notifications that the voice features are disabled for the day. As an added precaution, it also immediately notifies them if voice features are enabled during school hours.
There are always solutions to ensure AngelSense meets school policies. The School Liaisons at AngelSense even have a pre-written contract that parents can sign that legally binds them to disable the voice features at school. We worked closely with the Chairman of the NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys to create our Parent-School Agreements so they are usually accepted – Read an article he wrote for The School Superintendents Association on parental GPS tracking. However, we’re happy to have our legal team make edits if specific wording is required. In extremely rare cases, with the parent’s permission, we can take it a step further and give the school complete control over the voice features.
Schools and parents want what’s best for the child and the School Liaisons are a great resource to help both schools and parents discuss the use of AngelSense. Our Guide for Schools has a lot of useful information for school staff and administration.
Your Child Deserves to Be Safe at School and We’re Here to Help
If you have a child with autism or special needs, AngelSense is by far the best GPS safety solution on the market. It was specifically designed to address the unique issues that special needs parents regularly face and to provide them much needed peace of mind. It not only offers continuous real-time tracking on a live map, it also has Advanced Autism Wandering Safety Features like Runner Mode, Late & Early Departure Alerts, School Bus Monitoring with Wrong Drop-Off Alerts, Unknown Place Alerts, and much more.
We are here to make sure that your child is safe at home and at school. If you need help with anything just let us know. Our Customer Care Team is staffed by parents just like you, they have special needs children who wear AngelSense, and they truly care. As mentioned, we also have an amazing team of School Liaisons who are experts at collaborating with schools. And if that’s not enough, as an AngelSense parent, you can join a private Facebook group where parents help each other, offer support, and share tips.