A woman with a rare brain condition has said ‘I love you’ to her mum for the first time after getting a high-tech computer which enables her to speak using her eyes.

Pauline Rett, 36, from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, has not been able to talk or move her hands since being diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects brain development, when she was two years old.

However, everything changed when her family saved up to buy a £9,000 computer that converts her eye movements into speech.

The Tobii Dynavox eye tracking technology is a form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication [AAC], that works by showing what Pauline is looking at on a computer screen.

Infared light is reflected onto her eyes which traces whatever symbol or phrase she looks at on the screen.

The machine then converts the information into speech, meaning that Pauline can finally tell her mum she loves her after almost four decades.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Judith, who cares for her daughter full-time, said: ‘It might sound a small thing but I’ve never heard Pauling speak before.

‘Her first words to me were ‘I love you’ which was wonderful.

‘We can now have jokes and chat which means so much to both of us.’

The mum says her family felt like they were ‘falling downing a cliff that they didn’t know when they would climb back up again’ when Pauline got her ‘devastating’ diagnosis.

However, she believes her daughter, who uses a wheelchair, was always aware of what was going on as she listened and ‘laughed in all the right places’.

Since getting the new computer, Pauline has told her family that having her condition is ‘hard’ and she often gets ‘frightened and frustrated’.

Judith says things like these are sad to hear, but is happy her daughter can now finally tell her.

She said: ‘The best thing about the computer is when she tells us she loves us and when she calls me mum.

‘It’s always been a strong relationship. I have always adored her.

‘But I feel I have more fun with her now.

Advertisement

Advertisement

‘Sometimes she tells me just how hard having the condition is which is very sad but it’s good she can express that now.’