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Girl with Cerebral Palsy Uses Special Computer to Speak for the First Time

A twelve year old girl who has suffered from cerebral palsy from birth was able to speak to her family for the first time.  "It was like 'wow -- she has things to say,' it's like the first smile," said Geurts as his daughter Tobynn coaxed words from the special speech-enabling computer she's been using since September. "It's getting us more insight into her."   Tobynn can use her elbow to choose words on a monitor and speak through a computer generated voice.  "It's awesome," she said using the device.  She can ask questions and communicate what she needs to her caregivers. 

For the many children with cerebral palsy are unable to speak or have severe speech limitations, these devices offer real hope.  Without this device, children may be unable to communicate, or be forced to rely on a simple yes/no communication system.  The devices are costly, between $10,000 to $25,000; Tobynn's device was provided at no cost by a pilot program in Canada.