CHEROKEE Co., S.C. (WSPA) – A 5-year-old girl from Gaffney is communicating with her family for the very first time, and it’s all thanks to technology.
7News sat down with the girl and her family and learned how a new device is bringing them closer together.
“Bella has been moved around a lot. She was severely neglected,” Nicole Guyton said. “I’m not really sure exactly all the things that have happened in her little life, but when we brought her home, we thought she was deaf.”
Nicole Guyton has been taking care of 5-year-old Bella Grace for three years and is in the process of adopting her, but little Bella has been diagnosed with non-verbal autism, making it hard for those who love her to communicate with her.
“I just wish that she could actually talk,” Bella’s sister Isabel Guyton said.
Thanks to technology, Bella kind of can talk now, using a special device.
“She’s just been navigating it like you wouldn’t believe,” Nicole Guyton said.
All Bella has to do is click on pictures of what she’s trying to say and the device becomes her voice.
“This is her livelihood. She needs it. When you try to even take it away from her and put it up, she doesn’t want it to be taken away,” Nicole Guyton said. “She wants to have it at all times. She knows now that, with this device, she can tell us what she wants.”
It’s something, Nicole Guyton said, Bella has never been able to do before.
And her family is learning new things about her because of it.
“To hear the things that are coming out of her–she’s funny. She has a sense of humor. She’s extremely smart,” Nicole Guyton said. “She’s there! Where people would probably look at her and think, ‘There’s nothing there,’ she is there and she understands you.”
Nicole Guyton told 7 News their entire lives have been changed for the better.
“I’ve never heard her say, ‘I love you,’ and for her to find that and be able to tell me that she loves me with words–or to ask for a kiss with words, that was really hard,” she said.
The device is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device running a program is called LAMP Words For Life (LAMP stands for Language Acquisition through Motor Planning).