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Lexie Cooper-Barnes, 5-Year-Old With Cerebral Palsy, Says First Words Through Special Computer

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LEXIE COOPERBARNES
Lexie Cooper-Barnes, a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy, was able to say her first words using eye-recognition technology. "I love you, Mum!" she said. | Solent News & Photo Agency

One British couple waited five years to hear their daughter's first words, and they came through an eye-recognition computer that helps people communicate using a synthesized voice program.

"I love you, Mum!" said Lexie Cooper-Barnes, a 5-year-old with a severe form of cerebral palsy.

The child's speech therapist had recommended the equipment -- a $32,000 laptop similar to the one Stephen Hawking uses -- to help Lexie communicate with the people around her, the Express reports.

Lexie's mother, Charlene, said it's a relief for her daughter to finally have a way to present her thoughts and ideas.

"It is very rare for a child to be so physically disabled but so mentally able,” Charlene told the Express. “Seeing her use the laptop is amazing. It is brilliant to see her so excited because for the first time she has a voice and it brings tears to my eyes."

The family organized a fundraiser to gather the money needed to purchase the computer, saying afterward that they could never aptly express their gratitude for the help they received.

"To say we are absolutely overwhelmed is an understatement. People who have never met us, and probably never will meet us, have been so generous," Charlene told the Daily Echo.

Another British girl also didn't hesitate to tell her parents she loved them after her voice was restored.

Bronte Cassell was born prematurely at just 25 weeks old, and when doctors removed the breathing tube in her throat, the 2-year-old uttered the phrase, "I love you, Daddy" for the very first time, the BBC reported in November.

But for those who need a little extra help vocalizing their thoughts, technology has opened the gates of communication.

Before his seventh birthday, Jacob Artson's family didn't know their son had the cognitive ability to spell or read.

But after his social skills therapists suggested communication via typing, the boy, who has autism, shocked his mother with his results.

Now a 19-year-old man, Artson told The Huffington Post how it felt to be misunderstood.

"Before I was introduced to typing, I had retreated into anxiety, fear and despair. I read everything around me from books to TV credits to the newspaper on the kitchen table but I had no one to share my ideas with so I just retreated into my own imaginary world," Artson wrote in January.

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