Teen too ill to attend school needs donations for robot to attend classes
PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:22 10 April 2018
A St Georges teenager, who has been 'robbed of a childhood', has received an educational lifeline thanks to a telepresence robot.
Makayla Nunn, of Priory Community School, suffers from ME and hypermobility syndrome, which often leaves her in an extreme state of tiredness and suffering from flu-like symptoms.
Makayla also experiences a phenomenon called brain fog, making her feel confused, forgetful, and unable to focus.
The 14-year-old has not been able to attend school full-time for more than eight years, but thanks to Norwegian-based start-up No Isolation, she can hear and see her teacher, despite not being in the classroom.
No Isolation have created a robot called AV1, which allows its user to interact with their classmates.
The trial period for Makayla’s AV1, whom she has named Robbie, ends this month, and she is hoping to raise enough money to keep him permanently.
Speaking about her condition, Makayla said: “I was behind at school and struggling to attend classes, but having Robbie means I can do extra hours while in bed, so it takes the pressure off.
“I had to give up sports and hobbies, including dancing and swimming, and I can’t horse ride as much as I want to.
“I get tired so have to pace myself as I am not able to see friends and family as regularly as I would like.”
AV1 is controlled through an app, can rotate 360 degrees and uses a microphone, loudspeaker, and camera to enable users to communicate using live-streaming technology.
This minimises loneliness, and reduces the short and long-term educational and developmental impacts of absence.
Makayla won a heroes award from the school last year and also a prestigious award for her charity efforts in raising more than £4,000 for Invest in ME.
Priory headteacher, Jane McBride, said: “Makayla is a true inspiration to so many and we admire her determination and courage.
“Robbie the robot is the latest example of her wanting to lead a full and fantastic school life.
“As a school, we are proud to be part of this exciting educational trial, and Robbie is now an integral part of the class and is very well behaved.”
Makayla’s mum, Michelle, added: “We are hoping Robbie will help us change people’s attitudes towards ME.
“We want to make it clear the illness is not about people not wanting to do things, or not wanting to go to school, it affects people of any age.
“In many respects she has been robbed of a childhood and the things others take for granted, such as interacting with friends and going to school.”
“ME affects people’s lives in a variety of different ways.”
For more information about AV1, visit www.noisolation.com
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/av1-robot-for-makayla