14/08/2014 16:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Can An IPad Help Bobby, 6, Speak For The First Time In Three Years?

Can an iPad help Bobby, 6, speak for the first time in three years?

They say that silence is golden, but that's not the case in the Hughes household.

Mum Cheryl longs to hear her little boy speak after he was mysteriously struck dumb three years ago.

Bobby, now six, has been silent since he began suffering epileptic seizures when he was three years old.

He may never be able to talk so Cheryl communicates with him by recognising his noises.

Cheryl, 42, from Droylsden, Greater Manchester, said: "Bobby could say a few words - mum, dad, Woody from Toy Story, no - and then he developed epilepsy.

"He had about five or six seizures and then his speech just disappeared. He was about three then and that's been it since. He has not said a word."

Bobby's lack of speech may also be a result of suffering from autism. People with autism may have major problems with both speech and nonverbal communication. Speech problems include not talking at all, uttering grunts, cries, shrieks, or throaty, harsh sounds or humming or talking in a musical way.

The person may also babble with word-like sounds or use foreign-sounding 'words' or robotic-like speech.

In an attempt to raise money for an iPad - in the hope it would help Bobby communicate - his late grandmother Pat launched the 'Give Bobby a Voice' appeal to collect more than 1,000 old mobile phones.

They hope to trade them in for iPads with communication software, through the Hearts and Minds Challenge - a charity set up to improve the lives of people with autism.

Mum-of-four Cheryl, who volunteers for the RSPCA, wants to get iPads for Bobby and the five other children in his class at Dukinfield's Oakdale Special School, and will need 185 phones for each device.

Pat, 71, died last month before she could see her wish fulfilled but Cheryl has pledged to make it come true.

She said: "The iPad would help Bobby develop, help him lose some of the frustrations he has got and it would help him to be able to integrate into the outside world."