High-tech voice that speaks up for Hester
A10-YEAR-OLD with a rare neurological condition has been using cutting edge technology to help her communicate.
Hester Lynch, of Albert Road, Heaton Moor, has been working with the speech and language therapy team at Stepping Hill Hospital to use a system which she can tap to make it say words for her.
Hester, a pupil at Didsbury Road Primary School, has Gatad 2B syndrome, a very rare disorder whose symptoms include intellectual difficulties and severe speech impairments.
Until recently it was difficult for other people to make out individual words when she tried to speak.
However, now Hester is using a Proloquo2Go communication aid, a programme supplied by the Ace Centre, a charity which specialises in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and Assistive technology (AT).
The Proloquo2Go programme can be used via an iPad and is tuned to the needs to people who have trouble talking.
It has a series of icons and words which Hester can tap to make the system speak for her.
With the help of the speech and language therapy team, Hester has also learned how to make the programme de-code language, and it has given her the confidence to speak more clearly herself.
Hester’s mother, Lucy Powis, said: “Hester’s speech has come on in leaps and bounds, so that even people she doesn’t know, such as children she’s playing with in the park, can now understand her.
“It’s given her the means to communicate with people who maybe aren’t familiar with her, and people she’s talking to understand her better, so they are more confident in speaking to her.
“It’s also helped her decode language a bit, it helps her see what she should be doing.
“It has helped her to be funny, to be cheeky, to be naughty, and it’s given her the ability to dictate the terms of the conversation.
“She’s a lot more confident in herself now, and the speech and language team have doen so much work with her, they have made a huge difference.”
Speech and language therapist Pamela Barr added: “The Proloquo has been a big help for Hester.
“Using it together with our total communication techniques, it’s been marvellous to be able to give Hester a voice, and we’re using it to help us give a voice to many other children too.”
●●Hester Lynch using the Proloquo2Go programme