A SEVERELY disabled student is “ecstatic” after being given a device allowing him to speak for the first time – and it’s all down to his right foot.
Mark Stratton, who lives in Chingford, has cerebral palsy but this year, was given a computer speech device allowing him to communicative in an innovative way.
The 48-year-old controls the device with his right foot, scrolling through columns of letters and numbers to form full words and sentences.
He used to use word boards which were attached to his wheelchair to speak to others.
The word boards were effective, but slow.
He eventually found out about the Hub, a communication service that supports adults and children with disabilities at Guys and St Thomas Hospital.
Mark, who goes to Epping Forest College studying cooking, said: “I waited for a long time. It’s easy to operate. I have to control with my right foot.”
He does not have use of his arms or legs, so employs personal assistants, who give him round-the-clock care.
During his time at the college, he has received a number of awards and has become the student rep for equality and diversity.
Mark now leads an independent life, working for a housing association alongside studying meal prep and cooking.
He also enjoys travelling abroad, social media websites, and following his favourite football team, Liverpool FC.
Mark’s tutor, Andrea Slade, said: “To say that Mark was ecstatic was an understatement.
“Mark is very sociable, good humoured and enjoys a prank or two when he can get away with it. He is very popular and well like among his peers.”