Computer app helps Nigel find his voice again

Sharon Martin, Nigel Dean and David Phillips.
Sharon Martin, Nigel Dean and David Phillips.
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For the last six months, Nigel Dean has been unable to speak after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

The condition left him struggling to form a sentence or communicate with friends and family.

But after months of silence, a computer app has helped him find his voice again.

Mr Dean, 55, from Normanton, was given an Ipad, bought by the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Yorkshire Rotary District 1040.

The Grid Player app uses an on screen keyboard and speaks the words entered.

Yorkshire Rotary district coordinator David Phillips presented Mr Dean with the device at Pinderfield’s Hospital on Wednesday.

His daughter, Lisa, said: “It has been really tough but more frustrating for him because he has not been able to do the simple tasks.

“Things like going to the shop or just saying thank you, these are things you take for granted everyday.

“It will give him that confidence to speak again and we cannot thank everyone enough for doing this for him.”

Mr Dean, a former security guard, was forced to give up work after he was diagnosed with MND earlier this year.

Doctors thought he had suffered a stroke after his speech became so slurred.

MND attacks the nerves that control movement. People can still think and feel but their muscles refuse to work.

It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe.

Yorkshire Rotary has pledged to raise £20,000 in the first year of its fund to buy equipment for MND sufferers.

The money will pay for adaptations in people’s homes and for wheelchair access.

Mr Phillips said: “Quite a few people I know have been affected and it is a terrible disease. We want to do all we can to give people a good quality of life.”

Sue Smith, MNDA regional care development adviser, said: “MND is an awful disease and with the cuts nationally to the NHS, we want to ensure people are getting the services they need immediately.”