From The Daily Mail:
For many parents, hearing their child say ‘I love you’ for the first time is a special and emotional moment.
But for the parents of one five-year-old girl it was particularly overwhelming.
Lexie Cooper-Barnes suffers from severe cerebral palsy which leaves her wheelchair bound and means she has struggled to communicate with her parents or school friends.
But after being given a special eye recognition computer she has finally been able to make herself heard for the first time.
The device is similar to the one used by Professor Stephen Hawking and Lexie is thought to be the youngest person to have such equipment.
Her mother, Charlene Cooper, 34, of Eastleigh, Hampshire, said: ‘It has been a long time coming, hearing the words “I love you mum,” but they were overwhelming.
‘She wanted to be able to say things like “Mummy, I am bored of shopping” and the things other children might say. We wanted Lexie to have a voice.
‘Instead of us being forced to talk to her, we wanted her to have the ability to talk back. Now she can respond, she has gained independence and freedom.
Lexie, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months, is unique because of her mental ability
‘As her parents, we knew what her noises and actions meant but others who did not know her did not understand what she was trying to say.
‘Her speech and language therapist mentioned the eye-gaze equipment and she has been doing brilliantly with it. It is amazing how far technology has come.’
Lexie uses her eyes to choose phrases on a special £20,000 laptop which Mrs Cooper and her husband John, 39, an accountant, bought after organising fundraising events for its purchase.
Office assistant Mrs Cooper said doctors believe Lexie, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months, could be unique because of her mental ability.
About 2,000 babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year in Britain, but rarely as severe as Lexie.
‘It is very rare for a child to be so physically disabled but so mentally able,’ said Mrs Cooper.
‘This is frustrating for her. The doctors are baffled by her case. The response from everybody was absolutely incredible and we are so grateful she is able to communicate the way she has always wanted to.
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