The boy who found his voice thanks to a computer

3 March 2016

The Independent ran an article today about assistive technology and the transformative effect it can have on not only the person using the technology but also their family and friends.

James's story

James Walker using his computer

17-year-old James Walker was born with severe epilepsy, which has left him unabled to move or talk.

However, he can think see and hear.

Thanks to Eyegaze, a blink-controlled eye-tracking computer at school, James was able to express what he was was thinking for the first time in his life.

However due to limited funds, James's school could only afford one of the machines and he could only use it twice a week.

Community heroes

James happy on his computerA friend of James's mum stepped up and started fundraising to raise the £12,000 necessary to buy James his own Eyegaze.

Incredibly, the local commuinty rallied round. They put on events, ran marathons, baked cakes and much more.

They not only reached their target but also managed to get five more machines for James's school!

James can now be heard arguing with his sister over music and developing his own dry sense of humour. 

‘When you listen to a toddler say their first words you get excited, don't you? But imagine how it feels when your 16-year-old talks to you for the first time?’ — Gina Walker, James's mum

Access to IT at home

Access to IT equipment and services is something we have been working tirelessly to improve.

Our Discover IT @Home project has so far benefited over 600 people.

The project encourages disabled people to experience the benefits of digital inclusion in their own way and at their own pace. 

We hope more people like James will benefit from access to technology over the coming years, so more people are able to reach their full potential. 

You can read more about James's story on The Independent website.

(Photos: Tobii Dynavox and Gina Walker)


These eye-gaze machines are available through the NHS. NHS England has provided funds to national"hubs" for this kind of technology. My son has one. It's been life changing.

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