Communication following speech loss from catastrophic conditions

augmentative communication Jan 11, 2017

Every AAC story is different.

Many people come to the world of AAC because of autism but others delve into augmentative communication due to aphasia, Rett Syndrome, cerebral palsy or [other issues](GHOST_URL/aac-for-every-diagnosis/" target="_blank
And then there are some stories that grow from traumatic events which change lives and plunge families into struggles they never imagined.

That is the kind of story Sandra found herself tangled in when AAC entered her life.

“In 2011, I had a typical child with full speech,” she recalls. “On June 8, he had a catastrophic onset of epilepsy which caused him to be hospitalized for 4 months. When we brought him home in October, we expected him to die. He had lost his ability to walk, talk and even eat.”

Thankfully, through family and medical support Sandra’s son, Jacob, began to recover. But learning to speak again was a difficult process and he needed a way to communicate in the meantime.

“When he (began) improving, Speech therapists started recommending apps,” Sandra says. “All of them were expensive, most in the $200 range. We were down to one income because I had to care for (our son). At that time, we didn't even have an iPad. Most of the programs weren't flexible and few had lite versions.”

Because the AAC needs of the family were not going to be long term and they couldn’t afford the large price tag for a temporary need, Sandra decided not to invest in the expensive programs she was shown.

Unfortunately, Sandra’s son has continued to face intense health concerns.

“It is now 2016 and Jacob has almost died seven times. Each time he declined we searched out aac products,” she said.

And this time, she found a solution that worked perfectly.


Through a Google search, Sandra came across the CoughDrop AAC app which she hadn’t seen before. It could run on nearly any device (not just an iPad) and it offered flexible payment options so she wasn’t forced into a $200 purchase for a concern that she knew would likely not last long.

Sandra signed up for CoughDrop’s free 2-month trial and started helping her son express his needs and feelings through the program.

As in the past, Jacob's condition improved and after a few weeks he regained his speech and no longer needed AAC. In fact, Sandra never even had to pay for CoughDrop because they never made it out of the 2-month free trial.

No one knows what the future will bring. Sandra and her son may have a need for AAC again in the future. We sincerely hope that doesn’t happen. We hope he can remain healthy and continue moving forward with a normal, boring, life (at least medically).

But if the need for a communication aid arises again, CoughDrop will be there to help him.

Learn more by visiting

Melissa DeMoux

Former CoughDrop Director of Marketing and Support -- worked with AAC communicators & teams