Brierley Hill boy hopes help call will be answered

Stourbridge News: Connor Lester aged 3 Connor Lester aged 3

AN autistic Brierley Hill toddler is hoping a call for help will be answered with phone donations from his community.

Connor Lester, aged 3, has problems with speech but a high-tech solution is available in the form of an application for smartphones or tablet computers.

Connor's mum Clair is appealing for people to donate unwanted mobile phones which she can recycle with an autism charity for a device with a computer application, called the Grace App, which will help him to communicate.

Clair, from Bankwell Street, said: "I can usually tell what Connor wants but sometimes he gets so frustrated, and it breaks my heart when he cannot tell me what he needs.

"If I could get him an iPad to use with Grace App, he could be showing me with pictures what he wants and I can use that to get to understand him better.

"The project means the world to us as it may be the answer for Connor to learn how to communicate and talk to us for his every day needs and wants".

Around half of people with autism have serious speech problems which can lead to poor social interaction and behaviour problems.

By using pictures printed cards many can learn to communicate and develop their speech however as their vocabulary grows the communication system becomes unwieldy.

They must also rely on carers and therapists to update and maintain the system so never have independent control of what they want to say while other electronic devices can be bulky and expensive.

The Grace App allows users update their vocabulary on a portable, low cost, device.

App developer Lisa Domican said: "Just because someone is not yet talking, it doesn’t mean they have nothing to say."

When Clair has collected 180 mobiles she will send them to the Hearts and Minds autism charity which will provide an iPad for Connor.

To contact Claire visit www.facebook.com/RecyclePhonesForAutism or email: clair.lester@hotmail.com

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