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“It was like someone poured cement in my heart and my heart was sinking through the table.”

Amy Kerr had a normal pregnancy free from overt complications and issues. When the day finally came, she received news her daughter had been delivered successfully but had several medical issues, including a cleft palate, a hole in her heart, growth on her right kidney, and a chromosomal disorder. Amy was devastated by this news, but she knew help was out there. Eventually, Amy found the pediatric rehab team at Astera Health and discovered AAC, augmentative alternative communication.

A desire to speak

After many appointments and procedures, the family and Nora adapted, but communication proved difficult. Nora is exceedingly intelligent, but her cleft palate makes speech difficult. It was so tricky that Amy sought help from the pediatric rehab team. The five-year-old Nora responded almost immediately to treatment. Over the summer of 2023, she worked with Allison Tupper, a speech-language pathologist at Astera Health. Allison shared fun games and techniques to help Nora communicate. Most notably, Allison integrated augmentative alternative communication devices into her rehab sessions.

Augmentative Alternative Communication

Nora uses a special iPad to make communication easier.

These devices serve as an intermediary communication tool. When Nora wants to communicate, she uses software on a tablet to help flesh out her sentences. The software comes with various pictures and audio cues that help her speak. When prompted by Allison, Nora scrolls through the application to find images and text that align with her desired sentence. Allison has Nora verbalize the sentence as well. Doing this repeatedly has helped Nora’s speech difficulties immensely. In only 15 sessions, Nora has mastered AAC and freely communicates with Allison and her family. This proved to be so successful she even uses her tablet at home.

Pediatric Rehab and you

“This is a great place to come. Astera Health helps you and your child communicate and understand each other,” said Amy. According to Amy, Nora showed significant improvements only a couple of days after initial treatment.

The pediatric rehab team works with a wide range of industry-leading tools like the AAC devices Nora and her family utilize. With regular treatment and a commitment to helping others, the pediatric rehab team has helped hundreds of children. If your child is struggling with developmental or speech-related issues, don’t hesitate to reach out for consultation.


To schedule an appointment, please call 218-631-3510. Remember to follow Astera Health on social media for important health-related updates.


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Tuesday, March 26

All clinics, rehab, and ReadyCare will open at 10 am