The Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication was founded in 1990 by Prof Erna Alant in conjunction with Prof Lyle Lloyd from the USA. The impetus to start the Centre came from concerned parents requesting better and more coordinated service delivery for their children with severe disabilities and little or no functional speech. The activities of the Centre quickly expanded from direct service delivery to training and education through degree and non-degree courses. Research was also added in order to provide evidence-based services appropriate to the South African context, and to mobilise support for persons with little or no functional speech by providing credible evidence of the challenges they face.
Today the Centre functions as a postgraduate educational entity at the University of Pretoria, while also maintaining the status of a non-profit organisation, owing to various community projects and commitments.