Ministry helps with communication aid for teen
A disabled Palmerston North teenager will be able to communicate with his friends and family by the end of the week, after help from the Ministry of Health.
The Highbury home of 19-year-old Rhys Bycroft, who has cerebral palsy, was broken into and ransacked 10 days ago.
His $10,000 DynaVox device, which he uses to communicate, was among many of the items that were taken.
Mr Bycroft was also robbed of his milk, coffee, eggs, towels and thousands of dollars worth of electronics.
A second DynaVox device he was borrowing was also taken.
Without the device, Mr Bycroft is limited to indicating "yes" or "no" using his eyes - but by the end of this week he will be able to communicate more fully again.
His father Bruce Bycroft said the Ministry of Health came up with a solution.
It is loaning a DynaVox to his son until a replacement device arrives in a month.
He said a copy of the software from the device that was stolen had also been found at the Freyberg Craig Centre attended by his son.
"A backup was found by the school's IT guy, which is great," he said.
"It saves us weeks and weeks of work. The last backup done was in the last week of term, so he's not missing much."
The loan device was organised through the MidCentral District Health Board.
“On reading in the Manawatu Standard about the despicable theft of Rhy's equipment, we looked at how Enable New Zealand, which provides disability equipment for ACC and Ministry of Health clients, could help Rhys get new equipment," communications spokesman Dennis Geddis said.
"We knew how important it is for Rhys to have the device so he can communicate. It's been a very good collaborative result by everyone."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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