Six-year-old Mikayla Meneses from Alberton was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome last year, resulting in the
family selling everything they owned to travel to the UK, where a positive diagnosis was given.
Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder that affects the way the brain develops, causing a progressive inability to use muscles for eye and body movements and speech. It occurs almost exclusively in girls, which is why
Mikayla’s twin brother was not affected and able to start grade one this year.
Most babies with Rett Syndrome seem to develop normally at first, but after about six months of age, they lose the skills
that they previously developed, such as the ability to crawl, walk, communicate or use their hands. Potential treatments
for Rett Syndrome are being studied, focusing on improving movement and communication. Tobii Dynavox, a world leading company in eye tracking and AAC, offers eye tracking and eye control devices that makes it possible for computers to know exactly where the user is looking. When eye tracking and eye control are combined with speech generating devices, communication opportunities are enabled for individuals with special needs, such as Mikayla.
The device, which will help Mikayla communicate by scanning the object she is looking at, will voice her needs, costs
R80 000. Friends of the Meneses family set up a Facebook group called Help Mikayla communicate in order to help them raise
the necessary funds for the device. If you would like to make a contribution, any donations can be paid into the following
Account number 427748984
Eastgate branch 051001