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Young girl with cerebral palsy has computerised voice personalised

Imagine not being able to use your own voice to express yourself and having to use a computerised voice to speak.

Many people with cerebral palsy have problems with their speech and some require computer assistance when communicating. Those with severe difficulties may use a text-to-speech computer which can change their lives.

However, one thing letting this amazing technology down is the lack of voice options for the user making everyone sound the same; from old men to young girls.

One family decided to create a more authentic voice for their eight-year-old daughter Maeve by heading into the studio to do some recording.

Maeve's sister Erin wrote to Dr Patel from Vocal ID explaining her frustration that the pre-programmed voice on her sister's talker sounds nothing like an eight-year-old girl.

The family travelled to Vocal ID's headquarters where Erin recorded words and phrases to create a new vocabulary for Maeve to communicate.

Ten months later, the voice was perfected and Maeve was able to express herself using a voice sounding more like her own.

Hannah Bottomley, clinical negligence solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

It is often too easy to forget that children with disabilities are still just children and need to be treated as such. I can completely understand why an eight-year-old girl would not want a standardised computerised “voice” providing her verbal communications and would want to sound like an eight-year-old girl.

I was therefore thrilled to read about the specialist technology being used to give her an appropriate “voice” and enable her communication to sound how she wants to sound. This has provided an opportunity for Maeve to truly express herself, possibly for the first time in her life, and I love it!

Hannah Bottomley is a clinical negligence solicitor here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Hannah or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Hannah directly.