Disabled girl's 'lifeline' stolen

LITTLE Holly Goodwyn has been left heartbroken today after thieves stole her communication lifeline.Burglars left the disabled girl unable to get on with her education after stealing a computer from Sidegate Primary School, Ipswich.

LITTLE Holly Goodwyn has been left heartbroken today after thieves stole her communication lifeline.

Burglars left the disabled girl unable to get on with her education after stealing a computer from Sidegate Primary School, Ipswich.

The six-year-old, of Rushmere Road, Ipswich, is upset and confused after thieves broke in and made off with a laptop essential for her studies.

Holly has cerebral palsy and has difficulty speaking so the computer was vital for her to fit into a main stream school.


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A special program allowed her to start typing a word and then offered her a selection of alternatives to choose from and allowed her to do her schoolwork.

Sidegate Primary School's headteacher David Crowe said: "It's very upsetting for us. This computer is very important to Holly – it's her means of communicating.

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"Our technician has spent a lot of time putting special programs on it to make it easier for Holly to use. That takes a long time, it's a very difficult and time-consuming process."

"It makes you very cross. It was with her wheelchair so it was quite obvious it was designed for a disabled child. It's very sad.

"She was just starting to learn how to use it and this will put her back."

Mr Crowe said the thieves had targeted a classroom which houses some of the school's youngest children on Monday night. Artwork done by the six and seven-year-old pupils is stuck up all over the wall and it is quite obvious how young the children are.

Holly was one of the first children with such disabilities to be accepted into a main stream school. She has one-to-one support at all times to help her do the things the other children do.

Holly's mother Lynne said: "It makes me quite sick. Holly had the computer for a year and has just started to feel proud of it at last. She had even begun to call it 'my' laptop.

"When she first got it, it was hard to get her to use it. All the other children were using a pen and paper it was hard for Holly to accept she was different."

"Now we will have to build up her enthusiasm again as she won't have the computer for a while.

"She had started to win stars for her work even though it takes her about ten minutes to write a sentence.

"The computer is so valuable because anything she writes on the screen is an expression of what she is thinking. It is the key to her communication with the outside world."

"Holly was left thinking people wanted to be nasty to her and it took me sometime to explain to her that the thieves just wanted the computer. She is less upset now.

"It took the teachers about a year and a lot of effort to get the funds for the computer. They had to fight really hard for it."

N What do you think about this crime? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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