Maria is 10, and has cerebral palsy. She uses an eye-gaze communication aid and attends a mainstream school. She’s shared her story as part of our 100 days, 100 stories campaign.
Hi! My name is Maria and I am 10 years old. I live with my mum, dad, sister Sophie and brother Harry in North London. I have three cats called Elsa, Tara and Stevie.
I have cerebral palsy. I was very ill as a baby and I had to stay in hospital for a few weeks. The illness damaged bits of my brain that control how my body moves. I find it very difficult to move my arms and legs how I want to. This means I can’t walk or use my hands or talk with my mouth.
I use a communication aid called a Mobi 2 to help me speak. It has picture and word symbols on it which speak when I look at them long enough. This is called eye gazing and I have managed to speed up a lot this year. I like using my Mobi 2 because it’s fun! I would like people to know more about my communication aid. I use it to do my homework and play games, I can also watch DVD’s on it, my favourite is Mr Bean!
I work with a speech and language therapist called Judy. She has taught me how to use my Mobi 2. We have worked together for five years, I even named my hamster after her! When I first got my aid I had 16 symbols on each page, I now have 144!
Using my communication aid is hard work and can make me feel very tired so sometimes I just eye point to the things I want. I have carers who look after me at home, Judy has shown them all how to use the Mobi 2 so they can support me. Every Monday I use my aid to tell my carers how to cook my favourite meals. The recipes are all on there. I love macaroni cheese, pizza and chocolate cheesecake! I want to put some of my grandma’s Cypriot recipes on there too. Sometimes the word I need is not on the aid and I have to ask someone to programme it in, or I have to spell it. My spelling isn’t the best but it is getting better. I enjoy spelling but it takes longer.
I go to a mainstream primary school. I am in year six. I am moving to a mainstream high school in September. I’m excited about the move. I love the new uniform, it’s all green! Some of my friends are going too. The school is really big so I will need to practice my wheelchair driving skills to be able to get around it.
I can email and text my friends using the aid. I also text Judy every week to tell her what kind of cake I want her to make and bring to our sessions! Chocolate is best. I sometimes text my mum when I’m supposed to be working at school. Don’t tell anyone!
I have a friend who also uses a Mobi 2 to speak. We meet up for play dates and talk to each other using our aids. We both love One Direction! I really like being able to speak to other children using communication aids because I am the only one at my school. I would love a pen pal so I could email them about my life and they could reply. Maybe Scope can help me find one?!
Do you know any children using a communication aid who would like to chat with Maria? Or would your child like to share their story with us? Let us know in the comments below.
Find out more about 100 days, 100 stories, and read the rest of the stories so far.