Couple Replaces Autistic Teen’s Missing Communication Device

Family grateful for donation after teen's DynaVox disappeared at school a week ago

An autistic teenager in Richland Hills got a big present 33 days before Christmas from a family who heard how his pricey communication device recently had disappeared at school.

NBC 5 first reported last week that the device tablet-like device, which takes pictures of everyday items, Lee Huggins uses to communicate was missing and presumed stolen.

"It gives him a voice," said his mother, Cheryl Kaufman. "Otherwise, there's no way of knowing, and it gives me the comfort as a mom to leave him with somebody else."

When she picked up her son from Birdville High School on Nov. 15, the 18-year-old's DynaVox was gone. She filed a police report and pleaded for its return.

"Please, no questions asked," she said. "If anybody knows where it is at, I don't care if you drop it off at the police department, the fire department, Wal-Mart with a tag -- I don't care. I just want his box back."

No one has come forward, but a Fort Worth couple who saw the story decided to help. They had never met Huggins or Kaufman until Friday.

"My wife and I were talking previous (to the story), 'What can we do to help somebody?'" Cameron Cornelius said. "And you know, we just got a nudge from God saying, 'Hey, this is what you can do.'"

The device isn't cheap. The Kaufman family used a grant to pay for its original DynaVox, which costs more than $8,000.

But Cornelius never had a second thought about it.

"It's going to help him have his voice back at his house, so we love to do it," he said.

The Cornelius family also is taking Huggins and his family to the TCU game next weekend.

"I never in a million years expected somebody to step up and replace it," Kaufman said. "That was not even in my wheelhouse of wishes, so I can't say thank you enough; I just can't."

Thanks to Cornelius' generosity, Huggins can get back to saying things with a simple touch.

"Thanksgiving has a new meaning for us," Kaufman said.

She said she was also grateful to another family that donated a used computer device that was more suited for someone in a wheelchair.

Contact Us