Helping hand for Shona

A MUM has set up a charity to help find a cure for the disease that has left her daughter unable to walk or talk.

In 2008 Debi Hall’s four-year-old daughter Shona was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome — the highest level of autism.

The charity Help Me Communicate is specifically dedicated to communication aids and provide relief to famillies.

Debi, from Clarkston, told The Extra: “Shona is unable to walk, she puts her hands into her mouth constantly and is unable to grip or use her hands in any way.

“She is unable to speak with words so makes noises and laughs out loud. But as all Retts families will understand, we know Shona knows everything.

“Retts sufferers have a knowing look, a look of intelligence and understanding. I know her favourite songs, books and people”.

Debi decided at the beginning of the year she would find new ways to help her daughter and others suffering from the disease.

She said: “I want to raise awareness of Retts and promote a cure. My charity will help families in Scotland buy communication equipment allowing girls to use them to do simple things like ask to go to the toilet using a button.

“I believe it is only fair to ensure Shona and other families in Scotland have every chance to communicate with their children.

“To allow their children, teenagers and adults living with Retts the ability to access expensive communication equipment they may never be able to afford.

“Expensive is such a broad description, I believe £200 for a battery operated button is surely expensive.

“Yet I have seen my daughter bash switches to hear her favourite song and laugh her little heart out.

“I have high hopes when she is older she might be able to tell me she is happy. I can’t wait to get to know her better and from a practical view she can tell me if she has pain or if she needs a drink.

“I believe it is possible with hard work and charitable donations we can help the UK-wide community of Retts children”.

Debi has organised a charity fun day at Clarkston halls on Saturday between 1pm and 4pm.

There will be home baking, arts and crafts, baby area, bric-a-brac, tombola and raffle.

Visit the charity’s website at www.helpmecommunicate.net.