One of the things I aim to do with this blog is share my family’s experience with Autism. Along with sharing that experience, I also want to share some of the things that we do to make life both safer and more manageable.
Today I wanted to talk about how we are using the camera’s connected to our Vivint security and home automation system to help us keep tabs on our kids.
My wife and I are worn out on the best of days anymore and anything that helps us to make life easier, takes that much more weight off our shoulders.
We have employed cameras both inside and outside of our house.
On the outside of house we have a doorbell camera and a hi-def security camera. These both monitor everything that happens on the outside of the house. If anything is detected by either camera, I immediately get an alert on my phone, watch and the main panel. I can then tap the alert and pull up a live feed from whichever camera sent the alert.
Sometimes we catch some pretty crazy things. The video below is a good example of that.
Below is an example of what I see on my phone/tablet when the doorbell camera detects someone. This happens to be the boys and I coming home from school but at its really nice to see who’s at the door before responding, especially in the neighborhood I live in.
Should any of my kids ever sneak out of the house, aside from the loud announcement that the door has been opened, I can immediately respond to ensure they don’t get very far. This has only happened once or twice but it’s been a huge relief to be notified right away.
That pretty much sums of the outdoor cameras. I should add that there are tons of settings and tweaks that can be done to adjust how things work. It really is an awesome technology.
The meat and potatoes so to speak is the indoor cameras. We are using the Ping camera from Vivint and it works really well.
We have mounted a camera in each of the boys rooms. This isn’t meant to be an invasion of privacy, it’s meant to help us keep a watchful eye on them without hovering and it gives them some independence.
These cameras help us monitor behavior as well.
In Gavin’s case, we need to keep a close eye on him because aside from Autism and some serious health issues, he’s also living with a form of Schizophrenia. He spends a great deal of time in his room interacting with what amounts to his hallucinations. (see video below)
Being able to both monitor his behaviors and pull video clips to show his doctors, has proven to be an invaluable tool for us. This is something that is not easy to manage or understand but allowing the doctors to see what we’re seeing helps to improve his care.
The main reason for the cameras in the boys rooms have more to do with safety at night.
With the Vivint app on my phone, I can setup all kinds of alerts for situations that are of concern to us as parents. A good example is with Emmett, my youngest.
He’s been known to wake up in the middle of the night and wander the house. Sometimes he’s looking for a snack and other times he will go downstairs to watch TV.
Typically, he doesn’t get into trouble but we aren’t comfortable with him wandering the house at night. There are just too many things that could go wrong. This is one of the many reasons I don’t sleep well at night, even when the boys are sleeping. I’m always on alert for them to wake up and move around the house. I know many of you can relate.
What I’ve done is setup a custom notification that will alert my phone, the moment movement is detected in their rooms. I have a specific time frame setup for these alerts so they aren’t going off all the time and driving me crazy. 😜
It works really well and while sleep will likely always be an issue for me as an Autism parent, this is one less thing I have to worry about.
We’ve caught some really cool things on the cameras during the process as well. In the video below, I was monitoring Elliott because he was sick with the flu. I had a live stream on my tablet and was able to react immediately should he need me.
What I ended up catching on video in the middle of the night was pretty amazing. Emmett had woken up to Elliott sorta growning because his tummy hurt. He hopped out of bed and went into the bathroom to retrieve the thermometer. When he returned, he very carefully took his big brothers temperature and tucked him back into to bed.
That was a pretty amazing moment.
Having access to these cameras has really made a difference for us. We basically have several extra sets of eyes that never need any sleep.
We have a camera pointed at the front door to monitor that entry point from inside the house, as well as one in the living room that allows us to keep an eye on the kids while we’re in another room.
All of these cameras are equipped with night vision and automatically switch over when the lighting conditions change.
The whole point in sharing is to give you some ideas should you find yourself in a similar situation as my wife and I have. It’s hard to be a parent in general but Autism rockets the responsibility and demand into another universe. This is one way that we have utilized technology to make things a little more manageable.
This isn’t a sales pitch because frankly, I get nothing if you sign up but I urge you to take advantage of the Vivint Gives Back Project. This is how we acquired the equipment and monitoring service. The equipment is free in part because of grant money and monthly services are based on your personal income. Just so you know, based on my income we pay $15/month for this service and it’s worth every penny.
This program is available to special needs families across the US.
My only interest in sharing this with you is to help families gain peace of mind. There’s only so much one can do to alleviate the stress felt by Autism parents and I wish I could do so much more. Having said that, bringing to your attention something that has improved the life of my family and could do the same for yours, is something I can definitely do.