When Cynthia Cottier began practicing speech-language therapy in the Los Angeles Unified School District at a special education school in 1980, she realized that there were many students that were either totally nonverbal or had such severe communication difficulties that traditional communication methods were not possible. She realized that augmentative and alternative means of communication were necessary to give these students an independent means of expressing themselves. Cynthia found these students in great need and decided to concentrate on providing services specialized in augmentative and alternative communication.

For the next five years, Cynthia developed her knowledge and skills through attending seminars, workshops, continuing education classes, independent study and conferences, as well as working with individual students. In 1985, Cynthia was named the Coordinator of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Augmentative Communication Assessment Center Program. While in that position, Cynthia expanded the program to four centers located in four geographic areas throughout the district. She directly and indirectly provided services to over 400 students; however, Cynthia realized that these special students needed more specialized services than were possible in the existing school programs. These students needed to be taught to communicate using alternate forms of communication utilizing specialized techniques and strategies. In addition, they needed to be taught by specialists who understood the complexities of the student's language problems and who could devise a special approach to help them understand how to use their communication systems in the community.

As a dedicated specialist in the field of augmentative and alternative communication, Cynthia soon recognized her obligation to serve these special children. In 1993, Cynthia left the Los Angeles Unified School District to start a private practice which is currently located in Pasadena, California.

Thus began the course of Augmentative Communication Therapies (ACT). Since 1980, Cynthia has helped thousands of children and adults to become independent communicators. ACT has provided services and support to numerous individuals and professionals throughout the Southern California area through assessment, intervention, consultation, professional in services, workshops and seminars. But, because of the way that ACT began, the perspective and the importance of the individual child or adult has not been, nor will ever be, lost.