11:04am Wednesday 21st November 2012
By Emma Rigby
AN inspirational man from Rudheath has shown that you don’t have to let your disabilities hold you back.
Cerebral Palsy sufferer Alexis Egerton, who lives on King Street with his mum Thelma, graduated from Glyndwr University earlier this month with a Phd in Philosophy.
The 40-year-old, whose condition is due to a shortage of oxygen at birth, communicates using a device similar to that of Stephen Hawking, something that inspired him to pursue the Phd, entitled ‘The Effectiveness of the Present Funding System for Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) 2006-11’.
“As an AAC user myself it seemed like a good idea but I will admit now that I didn’t envisage what such hard work it would be from start to finish – but I enjoy a challenge,” said Alexis.
“I have the Athetoid form of Cerebral Palsy but this has not stopped me doing anything I have wanted to do within reason.
“I had no formal qualifications when I left Hebden Green Special School at 17, because I didn’t have communication back then but I’m Dr Alexis Egerton now.”
Things could have turned out quite differently for Alexis, whose interests include cars and music, if it wasn’t for the help and support of his family, supervisor and his ACC device.
“The machine works on a scanning principle where I select the words, abbreviations, phrases, expressions and sentences I want to say,” said Alexis.
“I saw the first compact machine when it was featured on television show Tomorrow’s World, where Professor Stephen Hawking was using it.”
Alexis’s school arranged a meeting with the machine’s maker, David Mason, founder of Cambridge Adaptive Communication, at the Birmingham Access Centre.
“David demonstrated the machine and asked me to have a go. He was so impressed with how quickly I learnt to use it that he decided to make me a machine of my own – and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Alexis is currently out of work after being made redundant from Cheshire Sure Start due to budget cuts and although he doesn’t have any definitive plans as of yet, he is looking into a variety of options including an editorial role at Glyndwr.
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