Created: 03/07/2014 7:30 PM KAALtv.com
By: John Doetkott
(ABC 6 News) -- A family in Albert Lea is looking for new ways to help their son after a medical condition robbed him of the ability to speak.
And now they’re turning to the community to help him find his voice.
Five-year-old Kaiden Hoelz has down syndrome and also suffers from speech and motor apraxia, leaving him unable to form words or use his hands effectively.
"Try to imagine yourself, you don't have a voice,” said Anne Hoelz, Kaiden’s mother. “You can't talk, you can't point, you can't wave, you can't sign, your fingers don't work, how do you communicate?"
Hoelz said Kaiden has invented his own non-verbal way of communicating, and although he can understand verbal communication just fine, his inability to express his own thoughts causes him frustration.
"He's been able to show me quite a list of wants and needs, but he is unable to tell me what his feelings are,” Hoelz said. “He can't tell me if he's happy or sad or angry, he can't tell me if he's hurt."
That's why Kaiden's family is trying to raise money to buy a specialized speech device.
"He'll be able to select which buttons he wants and it will bring up words on the screen and then the device will actually say the words out loud,” Hoelz said. “We've done six sessions with one of these devices and seeing how well he responded to it was just fantastic."
With a pricetag of $7,295, Hoelz knows raising the money will be difficult, but said it will be well worth it if her young son can live a more normal life.
"This device is meant to start from a young age and continue on up through adulthood,” Hoelz said. “So if he is never verbal, that means he'll be able to communicate just as an adult would in the long term."
The family has started a fundraising page on the site gofundme.com and say they are nearly 30 percent of the way toward their goal.
If you would like to donate, click on the following link: http://www.gofundme.com/6t86kw