Erna Alant, PhD, was born in South Africa, where she qualified as a speech-language pathologist and received her DPhil in Communication Pathology at the University of Pretoria. After working as a speech-language pathologist at the University of the Witwatersrand and a school for Children with Physical Disabilities, she went back to the University of Pretoria, where she founded the Center for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) in 1990. In 1998, she received a Rolex Award for Enterprise (Laureate) for the research and training conducted at the CAAC. In 2009, she moved to the United States, where she accepted a position as professor and Otting Chair in Special Education at Indiana University, Bloomington. She has over 30 years of experience in the field of augmentative and alternative communication and was president of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication between 2010 and 2012. She has significant clinical experience and has published extensively.