Elke Wisbey has been able to tell her mother she loves her for the first time
A severely handicapped little girl who cannot walk or talk has used a machine to tell her mother for the first time: 'I love you.'
Six-year-old Elke Wisbey, who was born brain-damaged, has been able to communicate with her family by using a high-tech gadget which tracks her eye movements.
The £17,000 MyTobii Smartbox machine from Sweden detects which icons Elke is looking at by using tiny lasers.
When her eyes settle on an icon on the screen of the Smartbox, a pre-programmed voice speaks the word or phrase for her.
Just a few days after setting up the equipment, Elke's parents, Glynnis and Matt Wisbey, described how their daughter started using her eyes to repeat the words 'I love you' over and over again.
Mrs. Wisbey, 43, who also has a son, Galahad, aged nine, said: 'I thought it was stuck and then I realised what she was saying.
'She was looking at the "I love you" icon and I couldn't believe it, she kept doing it.
'I said to Elke "are you telling Daddy you love him?" and she pointed at the icon "yes".
'It really choked me up, made me really emotional. I'm still emotional when I think about it.
'It was quite emotional. It is mind-blowing really. We have gone from somebody not being able to communicate to this.
'We didn't think Elke would ever be able to tell us how she was feeling, and now she can. This will be amazing for us, absolutely phenomenal.'
Readers of a local newspaper raised money to buy the specially-adapted machine for the family from Bearsted, Kent.
The Wisbey family are all learning how to help Elke use the machine, but the little girl, who will never be able to walk or talk for herself or feed herself, has mastered it more quickly than any of them.
She has already got to grips with a number of words and phrases and can also play games and browse the internet with it.
Mrs Wisbey said: 'Elke is an absolute delight to know. She smiles when she recognises people and places and she showers hugs on those she likes best.
'It's going to change our lives completely. We've been overwhelmed by people's support, it takes some people years to raise this kind of money and we've done it in a summer.'