Siskin Hospital offers reward for stolen communication device - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Siskin Hospital offers reward for stolen communication device

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Calista White Calista White
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Siskin Hospital is now offering a reward for anyone who can return a special device to one Ooltewah girl.

Calista White has Rett Syndrome, which is a neurological disorder that affects the way the brain develops.

The 55-page custom-made booklet helps her communicate with friends and family, but was stolen from the White family's unlocked van.

READ MORECommunication device stolen from girl with special needs

It's why Siskin Hospital is offering a $500 reward for the return of the Whites' communication book.

"It really touched us because we see patients struggling to communicate everyday and when we saw it we just wanted to do what we could to help not just get another device, but her device," said Teresa Dinger, Director of Marketing at Siskin Hospital.

Channel 3 spoke to Charlotte Purcell, a speech specialist at the hospital, who says not being able to communicate can have a huge impact on someone's life.

"You eliminate the communication from your day, what would your day look like?" said Purcell.

She said it's a reality many people like White shouldn't have to face.

"She probably is having trouble communicating her wants and needs, her feelings. This is the way that she laughs at her parents. This is the way that she communicates with she schoolmates. You know it's vastly important for her," Purcell said. "It's an alternative mode of communication entirely so she depends on her communication book. It is her voice."

Purcell explained though there are other communication methods available, it's important to give patients the choice to choose what works best for them.

"There's a number of different options. (with) some people I'm using written communication and that works the best. They don't want a book. They just want to write, and so then you work on writing, but I think it's highly individual and it should be," Purcell said.

Purcell has created several personalized communication books in her lifetime, and said it takes time to create in order for it to represent someone's personality.

"You spend lots of time with the family, people that communicate with that person. I'm sure Ms. White's development took a lot of time with her family with her choosing what different options she wanted."

If you see or know where the communication device is you're asked to return it to Siskin Hospital to receive the reward.

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