Diseases and Illnesses

UNSPEAKABLE DIFFICULTY: La Jolla Elementary student with rare disease reaches out

UNSPEAKABLE DIFFICULTY: La Jolla Elementary student with rare disease reaches out

“What’s your name?” Liesl Kijora asks her first-grade classmate.

Christopher Sammartino searches for the answer on an iPad running an app called TouchChat. When he finds the right icon, he presses it and a synthesized voice, not unlike Stephen Hawking’s, utters what he wants to say.

“My name is Christopher Sammartino,” replies the iPad, and the boy flashes a smile.

This was the opening act of La Jolla Elementary School’s talent show, Feb. 23. Christine Sammartino thought it would be a novel way for her son to prove to the students he sees in the hall every day that he does have thoughts, pretty normal ones in fact, just ones he can’t always express with his own...

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