The children who use Helen House Children’s Hospice in Oxford have been donated a package of specialist assistive technology worth thousands of pounds by national children’s charity Lifelites.
The package of equipment, along with training and technical support services provided by the charity costs around £50,000 over its four year lifespan, but was donated completely free of charge. The charity will replace the technology every four years.
The package includes a variety of assistive technology specially adapted for children with disabilities and can be used by the children to play games with their family and carers, be creative with art and music, and communicate with those around them.
One of the pieces of equipment donated was an Eyegaze package. This allows those with limited mobility to control a computer using just their eyes. By using the Eyegaze, children who can only use their eyes and struggle to control anything for themselves, are suddenly able to play a game, paint a picture or even communicate with their family and carers, perhaps for the first time.
Other items donated include several brand new iPads in special drop proof easy grip cases and a touchscreen computer, as well as lots of games and other software specially designed to be accessible for children with disabilities.
Kathy Patching, Helen House Manager said “What is really special at Helen House is the way we use play to bring out the very best in our children. We do that through sensory experiences with the help of technology and equipment from Lifelites. We discover what they can do, maybe find things that nobody ever thought they could do and that is why we love that partnership with Lifelites and why I think it has been so successful for so many years. With the increasing complexity of technology the training they give our staff is invaluable.”
“A young man called Theo who is staying with us at the moment finds it quite difficult to concentrate and to engage, but he has already picked up Lifelites toys that has caught his attention. Already that has made a difference for him, he has found something that is new, that is different, and is unique to him.”
“I can’t say a big enough thank you to Lifelites for being so generous, but also sponsors and supporters of Lifelites, enabling them to provide this wonderful equipment.”
Simone Enefer-Doy, Chief Executive of Lifelites said: “We are thrilled to be able to provide equipment for the children at Helen House who have life-limiting, life-threatening and disabling conditions. The magical technology we have donated can be used to play, to be creative and communicate, and enrich the lives of these children and their families, for as long as it is possible. We couldn’t have provided this package if it wasn’t for the generosity of our donors, so for this we are incredibly grateful.”
Donors for this package included Freemasons from Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, the Oldhurst Trust, the Sandford Trust, St Michael’s & All Saints Charities, Miss W E Lawrence 1973 Charitable Settlement, Microsoft, GamesAid and Children with Cancer UK.
Lifelites has donated equipment to every children’s hospice in the British Isles over the last 17 years, and continues to provide new technology and ongoing support to ensure that children in hospices have unlimited possibilities.
To find out more about the charity, please visit their website.