Laura Boyd’s room at Clelland Lodge expresses so much of her personality. It is bright and colourful, with every wall covered by celebrity posters and personal photographs. Since increasing her communication, Laura has been reflecting the vibrant energy of her surroundings more than ever.
With the success of both the Give Laura a Voice campaign and the Run for Laura event, Laura has now received her Tellus 5 ‘eye-gaze assistive technology’ device. Her mother, Cathy Boyd, has expressed how grateful both she and Laura are to all who donated, noting the device has already transformed her daughter’s life and that it will continue to do so.
L-R Cathy Boyd and Laura Boyd
“Laura is surprising everyone with more detailed responses and comments everyday”, says Cathy. While it is still early in the learning process, it is remarkable to see Laura communicate with the device as she becomes more familiar with it.
Laura has always had animated facial expressions, however the device has really allowed Laura’s bright personality and sense of humour to come through. She has always been an intelligent and confident young woman, but she can now exert and engage herself with others in a way previously thought to not be possible. When Laura first received her Tellus 5 device, she immediately toured around Clelland, showcasing her new voice and holding conversations with friends, family and staff.
The Tellus 5 after Laura said, ‘God bless you’ using her eye-gaze.
This ability to communicate and engage with the world around her will only increase as Laura begins to realise the full potential of her highly customisable device, as it allows her to regain control of other aspects in her life. Since 2007, Laura’s only means of communication was by looking at your right hand for no, or your left hand for yes. Laura can now use her eyes by looking at the different phases and letters on the Tellus 5 device. She will also be able to access social media and change the television channel, things most people take for granted.
What’s more, Laura’s device even has some of the staff at Clelland Lodge feeling bit nervous, as they have been known to regularly tell her their secrets. When asked about whether she still will keep these secrets to herself, Laura replies ‘maybe…’. There is laughter before Laura confirms ‘…of course’. Indeed, as much as her friends and family, the staff at Clelland Lodge have reacted most positively about the new possibilities of communicating with Laura, whom they affectionately call ‘The Queen of Clelland’. It is her steadfast determination and infectious positivity that continues to serve as an inspiration to everybody she comes across.
It was through the Fresh Hope ministries of Living Care and Careworks working together, along with the continued local community support that the goal of $20,000 to purchase the Tellus 5 was achieved. With this success Living Care and Careworks are now looking at other ways to improve Laura’s quality of life.