Device theft leaves disabled man without a voice

By 
Sue Asci, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 16, 2009

A 38-year-old disabled Dorchester resident, who is not able to speak, lost a device Friday morning at Ashley’s Restaurant on Bowdoin Street that enables him to communicate.

The hand-held device, which resembles a Blackberry or cell phone, was left on the counter when he ate breakfast there today at 8:30 a.m. But after returning to the restaurant, he found that the device was missing and believes that someone may have taken it thinking it was a cellular phone.

Without the device he is not able to communicate. The device has a small screen and buttons that allow the user to click through a series of pre-programmed messages and images to communicate. It also includes emergency contact information. It is described as a 4-inch by 6-inch black device.

The Dorchester resident is a former student and current volunteer at the Carter School, which serves children with disabilities. He volunteers at the school and helps with the music therapy classes.

"He just picked up this device yesterday from Children’s Hospital," said Marianne Kopaczynski, principal at the Carter School. "This device is not going to be useful for anyone else. It’s not a telephone. He cannot speak and he needs this device to communicate."

The brand name on the device is "Dynavox," she said. Anyone who finds the device may contact Ms. Kopaczynski at the Carter School at 617-635-9832.