Myzat’s story is one of extraordinary courage and determination. Her very attendance at a mainstream primary school came from her wish, aged four, to attend an ordinary school just like her sisters. Her condition of SMA type II means her physical movements are highly limited and she spends 23 out of 24 hours on a ventilator.


That said, she is a regular Year 5 girl – with good friends with whom she works, plays, falls out and makes up naturally and happily. She is an avid reader and watcher of films, and using her eye gaze computer, can write fluently and creatively. She throws herself into school life – a lively member of the School Council, delighting always in any trip or new activity, speeding along corridors and across playground in her powered-chair, assisted by her brilliant team of Theresa (carer) and Kirsty (LSA).

When COVID-19 struck, Myzat was as keen as ever to come to school, and did so happily for the first few weeks of lockdown. However, health advice meant she had to shelter from April onwards. When CENMAC heard and suggested she could trial a Robot – she leapt at the idea.

When it arrived in school a white, rather lovable robot, the size of a small puppy, it took not too long at all to get our heads around how it worked. When Myzat met the robot herself, very quickly and with Theresa’s endlessly willing support at home and Kirsty’s in school, she learned how to control it using the iPad. With that, she was a presence in the classroom once more!

Sadly, Myzat is still awaiting the go-ahead from Health to attend school in person, but she is in the classroom from 9:00 a.m. routinely talking via the robot with her classmates and her teachers. Again CENMAC has transformed her experience of learning. As soon as she is logged in from home using the iPad, she can follow the teaching directly, put her hand up, change direction of focus, listen, speak, register her feelings and opinions. She says herself, “The robot is so helpful. It means I can see my class and hear them. If I have a question I can press “hand up” and my teacher will come and talk to me. The only bad thing is that it’s sometimes hard to stop it moving once you start it – it keeps going up and up and you end up looking at the ceiling. It has made my life different. If I didn’t have it? I would feel isolated. I would say if anyone can’t go to school for some reason that they should use the robot.”

As Myzat’s class teacher, Ms Begum puts it, “It’s just like Myzat’s there with us – learning with her friends where she belongs.”

Young girl in wheelchair with ventilator and support and medical staff working on an iPad

As Myzat’s class teacher, Ms Begum puts it, “It’s just like Myzat’s there with us – learning with her friends where she belongs.”

Teacher holding a robot