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Parents find solution for elopments

Thriving Through Technology

AngelSense is a GPS tracking device that helps ensure the safety of the person wearing the device. The staff at AngelSense are all parents of children with developmental disabilities whose children have run away (or eloped) in the past. As Jeannie Callahan explained, they promote this tool because they use this tool and know how helpful it can be.

A small, simple black devise has one button in the center that says SOS and two buttons on the side. Measurements indicate the devise is 2.4 inches long, 1.73 inches wide, and .63 inches deep.
Photo Credit: AngelSense

The AngelSense device looks like a pager and can be secured to the user in several ways. The GPS tracking device was developed with sensory sensitivities in mind. The device can be clipped to a belt, worn as a watch or pendant, inserted into an incredibly soft, stretchy shirt, or worn around the ankle.

According to Callahan, it is reported that 50% of children with autism will elope after the age of four. This number, she says, is grossly inaccurate because it’s only based upon reported elopements and doesn’t include all the times a child runs away but the parents or caregivers are able to recover them before reporting.

With that in mind, she says, this device supports safety and independence.

The device sends information about your child’s whereabouts to an app on your smartphone and has many helpful features including the ability to set an alarm off on the device so you can find your child in a busy store, for instance. It gives real-time feedback every 30 seconds and can even track the speed of the user so you can tell if they’re on foot or in a vehicle.

It will give GPS coordinates and you can determine what hotspots are in the vicinity. This, Callahan says, is helpful in settings like a multi-story mall. The GPS coordinates can show where the user is, and the Wi-Fi information can help narrow that down even further. If you can see that they are nearest to the Cinnabon hotspot, you can determine what floor they are on.

The device uses an AT&T or T-Mobil sim card but in instances where reception is spotty, you can have the device send real-time coordinates via text message so that when other features aren’t working due to reception, you can still get very accurate information.

Callahan says she’s passionate about promoting AngelSense because it has had such an impact on her own life. Her son, she says, began eloping. “After he eloped the second time, at night, we knew we had to find a solution.” And with AngelSense, she did. He did elope again after that, but she says now instead of him being missing for 30 minutes, it’s two minutes.

Animated boy runs while smiling. Hanging from a lanyard on his neck is the AngelSense device.
With AngelSense, 30 minutes becomes 2 minutes.

When a parent calls for information, Callahan says it’s almost always reactionary. “They call because something happened,” she says. That’s why they’re seeking a solution. “And we’ve been there. We’ve all been there.”

The device itself typically costs about $119 plus a $300 annual subscription to the service. FSS, or family support services funds, has been used to cover this cost under certain circumstances.

If you are interested in learning more, you can contact AngelSense at 646-770-2950 or through email at

You can also talk to your support coordinator or direct service provider to see if this option is suitable for you.

Thriving Through Technology Team

In response to the Technology First Initiative, the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities has formed a team focused on improving access to technology for anyone served by the board. Every month, this team gathers and learns about tech opportunities in the area and then brings that information to you! This Thriving Through Technology blog will offer highlights from those monthly meetings so you are as up-to-date as we are! If you have any questions or would like to suggest a topic for discussion, please email