I am a behavioral health professional instructor who provides the training necessary for behavioral health professionals to provide services to youth up to the age of 21, either in their homes after school hours or in their schools throughout the state of Maine, according to Maine Department of Health and Human Services regulations.

As it is not uncommon for youth (or adults) on the autism spectrum to wander from their homes, classrooms, etc., I was pleased to learn of the voluntary GPS units available to parents at no cost, funded by the U.S. Justice Department and to be distributed by local police departments.

I became aware of this opportunity through Disabilityscoop.com, which I refer to frequently as a teaching resource.

In March, I learned of the availability of the GPS units for youth with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. I assigned the class of behavioral health professionals I was teaching at the time to determine how the local police departments are handling the responsibility of notifying parents of this opportunity.

I personally received no response from my local department, and not one of my 10 students had any more success with their attempts.

After hearing that at least two Maine youths diagnosed on the autism spectrum have been reported as missing this year – and with the knowledge that this is not an uncommon occurrence or behavior – I am hopeful the press will have more success than I in gathering and providing the general public and professionals with the information regarding these voluntary GPS units.

Lyn J. Dowler

certified instructor, Ptooey’s Behavioral Health Professional Training Services

Wells