Mum battles to secure Stephen Hawking technology for son

A Scottish mum is battling to secure eye gazing technology for her son, who, having been born with cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic.

Elaine MacColl, who says that her son, Cameron, is trapped within his own body, believes the technology, which allowed the late scientist, Stephen Hawking, to communicate and perform tasks that would otherwise have been impossible, would provide him with both a greater degree of independence and improve his quality of life.

Being classed as quadriplegic, the 14-year-old Cameron has no control over the movements of his head and limbs, but he does have control of his eyes and the type of assistive technology used by Stephen Hawking would allow him, among other things, to talk, turn on the lights and sit exams with the use of a computer.

At present, Ms MacColl says that Cameron is making no progress at school and the eye gaze technology could change all that.

However, at a cost of £8,000, NHS Highland, the Health Board responsible for the boy’s care, has refused to fund it.

Ms MacColl said: “We had a private assessment done at Smartbox Assistive Technology and they concluded that [the technology] would be suitable for him.

“But the speech and language therapist wants to continue with the basics, lots of pages of symbols which take two people to use. But with eye gaze, Cameron would be able to work on his own.”

She added: “He is very switched on – he just can’t communicate. He must be going crazy inside, desperate for us to know what he is saying, trying to tell us what he wants but unable to say it.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise the money to buy the equipment.

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