Holly Bligh, 9, has albinism, a genetic condition that affects not only the pigment in her skin, hair and eyes, but also her vision.
But the sight problems that once made school a struggle for Holly are now largely a thing of the past – and her parents thank her touch-screen tablet.
The iPad has replaced a weighty magnifying glass as Holly’s classroom companion, and a simple swipe of her finger now zooms in on text that once had to be enlarged by teachers on the photocopier.
Holly’s attention span has increased and her mother, Fiona, estimates “visual fatigue” now takes twice as long to set in.
“Holly’s enthusiasm to read has grown so much, and it’s definitely increased her independence,” Ms Bligh said.
So impressed was Ms Bligh with her daughter’s transformation that she sent a message to the very top at Apple.
Within hours of directly emailing multi-billionaire chief executive Steve Jobs, she was thrilled to receive a response.
“Thanks for sharing your experience with me. Do you mind if I read your email to a group of our top 100 leaders at Apple?” he wrote.
Mr Jobs signed off with “Thanks, Steve”, and asked for a high-resolution photo of Holly with her iPad.
“I never thought we would hear back,” Ms Bligh said.
“I know a lot of people think it’s just a great gadget, but it’s completely changed Holly’s life.”
Ms Bligh and her husband, James, were unaware they carried the recessive gene for albinism – and therefore a one-in-four chance of having an albino baby – until Holly, their third child, arrived.
Their family followed the textbook, with Holly the only one of four Bligh children inheriting albinism and nystagmus, a condition characterised by the involuntary flicker of the eyes.
Ms Bligh said the condition meant Holly would always have some limitations, such as being unable to drive. But it won’t hold her back.
“Holly’s very adaptable and she’s got a fantastic attitude,” Ms Bligh said.
And now she is cool with her schoolmates.
“All the other kids think it’s awesome that she gets an iPad!” Ms Bligh wrote to the Apple boss. “Sometimes in the past Holly has found her extra equipment embarrassing … But the iPad has a coolness factor!”