PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- When first graders from the Carl J Lamb School in Springvale visited the Portland Science Center to see its new robot exhibit, they brought a robot of their own.
7-year-old Sophia Houle has been attending classes at the school via robot since December. She's had the disease, Biliary Atresia, since birth and underwent a liver transplant when she was 10-months-old. Recently her body has been rejecting the organ, and being around other kids is something that's not an option according to her mother, Angela Houle.
"We were finding that she was picking up things like a regular common cold that other kids would get for a couple days and she wasn't clearing up for a few months," said Angela.
Angela was looking into home schooling Sophia right around the time they learned about the technology available to them through Grahamtastic Connection. Sophia controls her robot, named Snowball, through an iPad from home all on her own.
"I thought I can still be in class so I can still see my friends so I was really happy," said Sophia.
Classes have gone smoothly, but field trips have been few and far between for Sophia, so what better one to join than the trip to the Portland Science Center to see other robots. When asked what her favorite robot was, she answered "the platypus," with a smile.
Sophia's mother says that the hope is to have her medications lowered gradually over the next 6 to 12 months until her liver is functioning well enough on its own. If her liver rejection stops by then her immune system should be strong enough to allow her to go to school without the use of her robot.