Burglars steal autistic boys voice

Burglars who stole the computer speech machine of a 12-year-old autistic boy who cannot speak have “taken away his voice”, his mother said today. The £1,800 device enabled Elliot Walters for the first time in his life to put his thoughts into words and take part in school lessons. But just a week after he was given the Chat PC machine, thieves broke into his home in Plymouth, Devon, and stole it along with other valuables. Elliot’s mother Suzanne said: “Everybody is absolutely devastated. It’s unbelievable. “He was so successful in using it and we were so pleased with the outcome. With this he could actually say ’This is what I want’. “He got to 12 years of age before we heard him make any vocal comments of his own choice. They have effectively taken away his voice.” Sir John Wilton, president of local charity Call South West, which provided the computer, condemned the thieves’ “wickedness and folly”. He added: “It is absolutely vital to him. Without it he cannot communicate his simplest needs. It enables him to communicate with teachers as well as friends and family.
The charity is now appealing for donations to buy Elliot a new machine. A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said burglars broke into the Walters’ house in Pomphlett Close, Plymouth, early on Sunday afternoon while the family was out. They also took videos, computer games, a clock, watches and jewellery. So far no arrests have been made.

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