Appeal to find disabled girl's talking aid goes viral


A teenager with cerebral palsy has been left unable to communicate after thieves stole her computer.

An appeal for help in finding the equipment Miya Thirlby uses has been shared on social media by football legend Alan Shearer.

More than 2,000 people have retweeted an appeal for help in tracing the talking aid.

The 16-year-old from Plymouth, who also has epilepsy, uses a tablet with sophisticated equipment which generates speech from what she is looking at.

Her father Paul Johnson said the Accent 1400 cost around £5,700 and he is asking for information about where it is after it was stolen from his car outside the family home.

Mr Johnson, a 40-year-old business analyst, said: "I want to get the word out to get it back.

"Miya cannot talk but I get the feeling she knows it has gone, she uses it every day.

"It will be upsetting for her."

He said the thieves may have thought they were stealing a regular computer as it was stored in a laptop bag.

He was desperate to get it back for Miya as the software was specially adapted to work with her eyes.

Miya with mum Kerrie and twin Macie (family handout/PA)
Miya with mum Kerrie and twin Macie (family handout/PA)

The machine has pictures of her father, mother Kerrie Thirlby and her twin Macie and it says their names if Miya looks at the images.

He urged anyone who might know where it is to hand it in to a responsible person.

After Mr Johnson, an exiled Newcastle United fan, tweeted about the theft, people have offered to fundraise to buy a replacement, but he hoped to get the original computer back.