Investigations

Alarm system used to keep autistic children safe

Seven-year-old Vincent was recently diagnosed with autism. He is full of energy and likes to run, but his mom says he doesn't quite understand danger, and even though his parents put locks on the doors to keep him safe, Vincent has managed to escape 

"We are very vigilant parents, but from time to time we have our back turned making dinner and he opens the door and just takes off," said Pam Acri, Vincent's mom. 

Pam wanted something to help keep her son safe.

"I was looking for something that was out there in the marketplace to help us, and I thought we can't be the only ones with these challenges," said Pam

The timing couldn't have been better, Vivint Smart Home was holding a national giveaway for Autism Awareness Month. Pam submitted a video about her son and was chosen to have a smart home technology system installed for free.

"We are very fortunate to have been selected," said Pam.

It only took workers a few hours to install indoor and outdoor cameras, which also record.

"That way if he gets out of the home without us watching, we can see where he is going," said Pam. 

Sensors were also installed on windows and doors in the home, adding another layer of security. 

"So if he should open a window while he is supposed to sleeping, an alarm will go off," said Pam.

If someone else is watching Vincent while his parents are out, they can see what's happening at home through an app on their smartphone.

"I am hoping that it will provide some peace of mind for us," said Pam.

Five weeks after the system was installed, abc27 went back to Pam's home to see how it was working. Pam says they did experience a few glitches. For example, the cameras froze when they were not home and the only way to reboot them was to go back to the house.

Overall, she was pleased with the system. 

"It has come in handy because when Vincent has been out of our line of sight and he opens a window, which he does frequently, or tries to open a door, we have that alert for us. We can hear that something is happening before it's too late and he is already gone," said Pam.

"It has really given us some peace of mind."
 


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