High-tech voice that speaks up for Hester

Stockport Express - - News - EMMA CURRY [email protected]­plc.com @em­malouise­curry

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

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