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Robot pupil is lifeline for ME sufferer

Robbie the robot has transformed the life of a young student with ME. Credit: ITV West Country

The mother of a teenager with ME from Weston-super-Mare says her daughter's life has been transformed thanks to a robot which goes to school for her.

Michelle Nunn's 14-year-old daughter Makayla has ME, which often leaves her completely exhausted and unable to attend class.

Makayla Nunn was a high achieving child but fell ill with ME when she was seven. Credit: Family

As a young girl Makayla was an all-rounder, winning ballet competitions and swimming races. But at the age of seven she became seriously unwell.

At one stage, Makayla's symptoms were so severe it was feared she would have to be fed through a tube. But she recovered enough to attend just under half her classes. Earlier this year a lifeline came in the form of Robbie. She was given the chance to trial what's known as a telepresence robot.

Makayla can control Robbie, using her tablet from home Credit: ITV West Country
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It means that when Makayla's too ill to attend school, the robot attends class for her. Using her tablet, she can now watch lessons virtually from her bedroom and even ask questions.

Academically, the first assessment she did for me this year she was getting about 60%. The last assessment she did - so this is after having Robbie for three or four months - she was upwards of 90%

– Kirsty Aaron, Teacher, Priory Community School
Thanks to Robbie, Makayla could even be sitting her GCSEs in two years' time. Credit: ITV West Country

The results have been so successful that GCSEs are a realistic goal for Makayla and the school is even helping to cover Robbie's rental costs