About Emily

Emily was born in 1997 with a genetic disorder called Rett Syndrome.

Because of this, Emily has little useful hand control, can no longer walk and is unable to talk. In fact, anything that needs her brain to tell her muscles what to do, is very difficult.

Communication is an area we can do something about, though. Emily can't talk, but there is a system that allows her to communicate by simply looking at a computer screen.

The Eyegaze system, by Tobii, allows Emily to control a computer. The possibilities are limitless. Anything that's possible with a conventional mouse and keyboard, is now available to Emily.

The device tracks Emily's eyes to determine which part of the computer screen she is looking at, and it then places the mouse pointer there – similar to moving a computer mouse by hand. 'Clicking' the mouse is a bit more tricky, Emily must stare are the part of the screen that she wants to 'click' for a short time. I say tricky because Emily is a nosey girl who likes to explore the whole screen, and concentrating on one item takes some discipline!

Emily goes to Frederick Holmes School in Hull and they have been able to borrow this equipment, for a short time, for Emily and other pupils to try. With the help of Speech and Language Therapy staff, Emily has demonstrated that she can already use the Eyegaze system in a limited way and, with more practice, will not only improve her communication but may also be able to do other things with the computer. It's not difficult to imagine Emily choosing a video to watch, listening to music, and reading books, on her computer.

Of course, equipment like this does come at a cost. The supplier of this system, Inclusive Technology, has quoted a price of £11379.50. Given the promise Emily has shown during the trial period at school, we think it is worthwhile to try to raise the necessary funds for her.

If you would like to support Emily by making a donation, please use the Donate tab at the top of this page.
UPDATE: The target has been reached, and the computer has been ordered! (See separate stories elsewhere on ths site)

If you would like to send Emily a message, please contact her at emily.eyegaze@gmail.com.