Sussex

Etchingham burglars steal autistic boy's computer

William and Alastair Stuart
Image caption Alastair Stuart said his son was anxious and angry without his only means of communication

The family of a disabled boy have spoken of their distress after burglars stole an adapted computer which they say is a lifeline for their son.

William Stuart, 10, from Etchingham, East Sussex has autism and a condition called global developmental delay (GDD) and cannot speak.

His family said the stolen iPad was his only way of communicating and without it he is more isolated than ever.

Sussex Police has appealed for information to help find the iPad.

'Anger and crying'

The theft of the device, which was loaded with communication software Proloquo, was discovered on Tuesday.

Two TVs and an Xbox 360 were also stolen from the family's home in Burgh Hill.

"The iPad was William's only form of communication with the outside world and with us in particular," said his father Alastair.

"He is becoming more anxious and closed and is expressing his frustration in terms of anger and crying."

Senior lecturer in special education Dr Amelia Roberts said that when someone with autism loses their means of communication it is a devastating change for them.

"People with autism don't cope with change very well so from his perspective his world will now be turned upside down," she said.

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