When a rare syndrome renders girls voiceless, tech helps them speak again

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When 13-year-old Nathalia Lawlor was born, she seemed perfectly healthy, moving and babbling like any other baby. But at around six or seven months, she started to lose her coordination and ability to move. Once able to grasp small objects, she could no longer pick up pieces of food from her plate.
Nathalia was diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that affects girls almost exclusively. Doctors said she would never be able to speak or walk again.
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Rett syndrome occurs in 1 in every 10,000 female births globally, though there have been even rarer cases with boys (according to the National Institutes of Health, however, most boys with the condition die in infancy). The disorder typically manifests when a girl is 6-18 months old, and it inhibits many brain processes, including cognitive, motor and sensory functions. Those living with Rett syndrome are, like Nathalia, often unable to talk or use their hands, and in many cases they need to use a wheelchair. Read more…More about Assistive Tech, Health, Technology, Disabilities, and Social Good

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